Coat of arms of Pennsylvania

Petition to Keystone State Seeks Carbon Pricing as Climate Change Solution

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is officially considering a petition filed yesterday (November 27, 2017) by the Clean Air Council and many other people and organizations to implement an economy-wide auction-cap-and-trade program for Pennsylvania, with measures to prevent leakage and auction most allowances with a reserve price. The program will create substantial revenue for the Commonwealth while substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A summary of the petition is set forth below in the cover email submitted to the Commonwealth today. The petition itself and the regulation it proposes are attached. Also, a program is being held today (Nov. 28, 2018) at the Philadelphia Bar Association in Philadelphia from noon to 2:15 to discuss carbon pricing in general and the petition specifically, with the authors of the petition and other lawyers and academics presenting. For all the information and to register to attend in person or by live webcast: click here

Draft EQB Regulation 

PA Auction Cap and Trade Petition

Rulemaking Petition to Establish an Economy-Wide Auction-Cap-and-Trade Program for Pennsylvania

Dear Secretary McDonnell, Ms. Edinger, and Honorable Members of the Board,

On behalf of ourselves and the other petitioners identified on Exhibit A to the attached Petition, we hereby submit for the consideration of the Environmental Quality Board the attached Petition Pursuant to 25 Pa. Code §§ 23.1-23.5, Article I, §27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, and the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act to Adopt the Attached Regulation Establishing a Comprehensive Program to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions Though an Auction-Cap-and-Trade Program to Conserve and Maintain a Stable Climate and Other Public Resources for Which the Commonwealth is a Trustee (“Petition”).  We also attach a courtesy Word version of the proposed regulation for the Department’s use.  The Petition and the proposed regulation attached as Exhibit B to the Petition conform to the requirements of 25 Pa. Code §§ 23.1-23.5.

In light of the ongoing and severe damage to the public natural resources caused by unconstrained emissions of greenhouse gas pollutants, we urge the Board to act swiftly on this Petition and to adopt the attached regulation as quickly as feasible consistent with the requirements of law and appropriate public participation.  The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States underscore the need for haste to address the looming emergency posed by climate disruption.  The proposed regulation and the analysis of facts, law, impacts, costs and benefits contained in the Petition contain all that is necessary to proceed to the publication of a proposed rule in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.  The Administration could, therefore, move more quickly than the timelines set forth in 25 Pa. Code §§ 23.1-23.5, and should do so in light of the looming climate emergency.

The Commonwealth’s duty as a trustee under Article I, § 27 of the Constitution requires that the Board proceed with all due haste to limit the damage to the Commonwealth’s public natural resources and the health of current and future generations caused by unchecked greenhouse gas pollution.  The proposed regulation would create a measured and foreseeable path for the Commonwealth and its industry to do what is necessary to avoid the worst consequences of climate disruption. It would provide a solution to the problem of financially stressed nuclear electric generating facilities and provide an incentive for investment in the types of projects that will be key to keeping Pennsylvania’s economy strong as we transition to an economy that does not emit greenhouse gas pollution. The proposed regulation will also have significant co-benefits.  It will allow the Commonwealth to address its severe and structural budget deficit without the continued depletion of the environmental capital that the Supreme Court held unconstitutional in PEDF v. Commonwealth.  If used wisely, some of the income could be used to provide seed capital for the infrastructure projects that will be necessary to adapt to the effects of climate disruption.

There are other organizations that wish to become petitioners but have not yet been able to complete the procedures necessary to allow them to do so.  Therefore, as suggested by Exhibit A, we intend to supplement this submission by adding additional petitioners before the next Board meeting.

We look forward to presenting our proposal to the Board.

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully submitted:

Robert B. McKinstry, Jr.
Joseph Minott, Clean Air Council
Robert Routh, Clean Air Council
John C. Dernbach, Widener Commonwealth Law School Environmental Law and Sustainability Center
Baird Brown, eco(n)law LLC

Using the Law to Solve Climate Change: What Can Pennsylvania Do?

On October 8, 2018, the United Nations scientific panel charged with tracking climate change issued a special report that dominated international headlines for days. The report painted a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and noted that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.”

What can we do to avoid the predicted catastrophic effects of climate change? 

That will be the subject of an important program on November 28, 2018, at 12:00 pm, hosted by the Philadelphia Bar Association. Co-hosted by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and A Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense on Climate Change, the program will address (1) the legal landscape for solutions to climate change, (2) the case for carbon pricing policies, (3) the authority under Pennsylvania law for carbon pricing; and (4) a specific proposal for using carbon pricing to make Pennsylvania a leader in fighting climate change while generating revenues for the Commonwealth.

Further program details can be found here:

Register for the program here:

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