By Al Gnoza
The PA Catholic Conference did not take a position on House Bill 2025, but it is such an important issue for so many Pennsylvanians that we have been covering it and are providing this update.
On Wednesday the PA House approved HB 2025, which is sponsored by Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana), by a vote of 130-71. It was a bi-partisan vote with opinions very strong on both sides of the issue. The bill would require legislative approval for PA’s entering the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. “Reggie,” as it is usually called on second and third references, is an initiative of 10 New England and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector while generating economic growth.
That is the explanation given by the PA Department of Environmental Protection. Definitions can vary greatly though depending on which side of the argument you are on.
“House Bill 2025 is about giving a voice to the people of Pennsylvania,” said Struzzi on the House floor Wednesday. “Governor Wolf has entered into the process to initiative the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative without any comment period, without allowing the voice of the legislature to be heard at all.”
Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) gave an impassioned speech on the floor about the importance of “Reggie” on the environment and how HB 2025 would hurt those efforts. Rep. Stephen Kinsey (D-Philadelphia) said that the Initiative helped provide funding to lower income families.
But Rep. Pam Snyder (D-Fayette, Greene, Washington) says “RGGI will hurt our state and will lead to thousands of job losses, higher energy rates, and other severe economic impacts in our communities.”
Rep. John Lawrence (R-Chester, Lancaster) said he feels the Governor’s decision to join the Initiative was on shaky legal ground.
HB 2025 now goes to the Senate.