(Harrisburg, PA) The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO thanks the members of the Pennsylvania Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee (AQTAC) for hearing the concerns of working people in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) enrollment. Union workers from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, and consumer advocacy organizations testified on the ramifications of the RGGI enrollment on Pennsylvanians and communities across the Commonwealth.
Workers voiced their opposition to RGGI because its implementation would displace or eliminate jobs at coal and natural gas plants and devastate communities. Pennsylvania’s enrollment in RGGI must include a robust and transparent discussion accessible to consumers and workers; understandably, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges and required adjustment in public engagement, not to mention its economic consequences.
“RGGI enrollment would impose a carbon tax on coal and natural gas plants that would prove financially fatal to several key jobmakers around the state. That, combined with the economic impact of COVID-19, would decimate communities and pass energy rate hikes onto consumers at the worst possible time,” said federation President Rick Bloomingdale.
“Given that data modeling demonstrates that RGGI would have a marginal impact on air quality and other environmental factors, there is no guarantee that RGGI’s intention would speed Pennsylvania’s progress toward reducing carbon emissions,” Bloomingdale continued.
Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder remarked, “We must take every action today to preserve Pennsylvania jobs. High-risk decisions must have a significant economic return for our communities; so far, any rewards from RGGI enrollment do not outweigh the risks. We have put forth that the best way to make significant strides in our environmental health is to invest in a 21st-century update to our energy grid and infrastructure. Right now is the time to seize the moment, bringing good jobs to communities that desperately need them and make long-term progress in reducing our carbon footprint. RGGI is not a solution, and Pennsylvanians can’t afford it.”