ICYMI: RGGI Working Group Co-Chairs Mike Dunleavy and Jackson Morris Call on Legislators to Come to the Table, Work With Shapiro Administration on Concrete Energy Plan in New Op-Ed
December 15, 2023
“We outlined a detailed vision that would benefit all Pennsylvanians — a vision Shapiro has embraced and vowed to carry forward. All we need now are legislative leaders in Harrisburg who are willing to come to join us at the table and work to develop a concrete plan, based on our shared vision, that will protect and create energy jobs, address climate change, and ensure Pennsylvanians have access to reliable, affordable power for the long-term.”
Harrisburg, PA – Yesterday in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Working Group co-chairs Mike Dunleavy and Jackson Morris urged legislators to “join us at the table and move the Commonwealth forward” to pass “an alternative that would meet the Governor’s charge to the Working Group of taking real action on climate change.”
Governor Shapiro has made clear that any energy policy supported by his Administration must meet his three-part test of protecting and creating energy jobs; taking real action to address climate change; and ensuring reliable, affordable power for consumers in the long term. The RGGI Working Group reached the consensus that cap-and-invest carbon regulation for the power sector that generates revenue to support the Commonwealth’s energy transition would be optimal approach.
Read Mike Dunleavy and Jackson Morris’ full opinion in the Philadelphia Tribune-Review here and below:
[OPINION]: Legislators should come to table for Pa.’s energy future
By Mike Dunleavy and Jackson Morris, 11/14/23
Pennsylvania has long been an energy leader and is poised to lead in the transition to a booming clean energy economy. Our natural resources, strong economic base and skilled workforce have powered our growth and supported generations of Pennsylvanians. We now find ourselves at a critical moment where forward thinking and real action is needed to continue that legacy of leadership.
But, in recent years, legislative gridlock has prevented further progress. Pennsylvania is home to a diverse group of energy stakeholders — including the groups we represent, the building trades and environmental advocates — and, for too long, differing visions of our energy future have prevented consensus on a path forward.
Over the past six months, that has changed. As co-chairs of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s Working Group on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), we came together with an ideologically diverse group of Pennsylvania leaders to evaluate RGGI and develop consensus recommendations on climate and energy policy that will serve all interests in the commonwealth. Organized labor, the energy and utility industries, environmental groups and consumer advocates all engaged in thoughtful, productive conversation about Pennsylvania’s energy future and found common ground and historic consensus on a number of key issues.
We outlined a detailed vision that would benefit all Pennsylvanians — a vision Shapiro has embraced and vowed to carry forward. All we need now are legislative leaders in Harrisburg who are willing to come to join us at the table and work to develop a concrete plan, based on our shared vision, that will protect and create energy jobs, address climate change, and ensure Pennsylvanians have access to reliable, affordable power for the long-term.
Shapiro recently appealed the Commonwealth Court’s decision on RGGI, based on an important question of executive authority. The governor has also said he would be willing to sign legislation removing Pennsylvania from RGGI if state lawmakers send a comparable alternative to his desk. The Legislature now has an opportunity to pass such an alternative that would meet the governor’s charge to the Working Group of taking real action on climate change by delivering comparable benefits to what RGGI would bring to the commonwealth.
It is unacceptable for Republican legislative leaders to say they will not even negotiate on energy policy at this time, despite this clear opportunity in front of them to find an alternative to RGGI.
There’s no good reason for legislators in Harrisburg to hold Pennsylvania back when it comes to our energy future. These industries are too important to our economy — hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians go to work every day in the energy sector, and consumers all across the nation rely on the affordable energy we produce here.
There is a path forward that would benefit all Pennsylvanians. The Working Group reached broad consensus that a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the commonwealth is necessary and inevitable, and that a form of cap-and-invest carbon regulation for the power sector that generates revenue to support the commonwealth’s energy transition is the optimal approach moving forward. A market-based program like that would best enable the commonwealth to protect and create energy jobs, take real action to address climate change, and ensure reliable, affordable power for consumers in the long-term.
Republicans long have said they wanted an alternative to RGGI — this is their opportunity. If they want an alternative that meets the governor’s three-part test of protecting jobs, addressing climate change, and ensuring affordable power, legislators shouldn’t wait to act on the Working Group’s recommendations.
The conversation around RGGI is just the starting point, and the governor is open to an alternative cap-and-invest program so long as it benefits all Pennsylvanians. We urge legislators, regardless of party identification, to join us at the table and move the commonwealth forward instead of retreating to their corners. Pennsylvania’s energy future is at stake; the time for action is now.
Mike Dunleavy and Jackson Morris are co-chairs of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s RGGI Working Group. Dunleavy was previously the business manager at IBEW Local 5 and retired in 2021 after 44 years of service. Morris is the eastern region director for the Climate & Clean Energy Program at the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).
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