Will the PA Supreme Court take up the RGGI fight?

November 29 – The battle in Pennsylvania for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) may make it to the State Supreme Court. 

Last week, Governor Josh Shapiro announced that his office will appeal the Commonwealth Court Ruling that the executive order penned by Governor Tom Wolf to get PA into RGGI was unconstitutional. 

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a mandatory program in which participating states would impose a carbon fee on electricity production and require fossil fuel generation to purchase allowances in an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. 

There are currently 11 states that participate in this initiative, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

Pennsylvania was brought in through an executive order from Wolf in 2021. The Commonwealth Court said, no. It wasn’t constitutional. 

Now Shapiro is appealing that decision. 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “We were hoping he wouldn’t appeal it because during his campaign, he said he wasn’t sure that that was a great idea for us to be in it, trying to tempt people to vote for him because he was looking like he wouldn’t help destroy the energy economy in our state with that, but he’s appealed it. Now he says he’s only appealing it for the executive order reasons. It’s not because he really wants to get back into RGGI. Does it seem like a cop out?”

State Senator Doug Mastriano said, “It is a cop out. (During the election), there were two issues that I was winning on. It was school choice and getting us out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, on day one for that. Suddenly, because of that reality, Josh Shapiro changed his tune. He talked about how he was open to school choice. He supported school choice, mostly for himself since he could afford it. Second one was he was willing to negotiate or would talk about RGGI rather than just being a hardliner on that issue. On both those issues he lied. It was all about getting votes. We’ve seen under Tom Wolf two years ago, that energy prices have nearly doubled since then, under both of these executive orders, and so this is a big problem. If we have a cold winter, people are really going to suffer. People are going to have trouble making ends meet and it’s going to be between heating your house or buying food. It’s

not that bad.”

Part of RGGI is already in effect. 

Mastriano said, “We’re already reaping the higher prices from it. Part of it is in effect. It’s been in effect now for almost two years since Tom Wolfe by fiat put into effect. We saw energy prices as a result of this going into partial effect increase under Tom Wolfe 30 percent and now they’re nearly doubled because of this action by the governors, plural. Josh Shapiro stood aside. As the Attorney General he had the power of course to stop it. Of course, he wouldn’t. Him and Tom Wolf are cut from the same sheet.”

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “Isn’t it sad though? Here’s a guy that he wanted to protect the shine, if you will, on the executive order. It’s not about helping people that are going to be in tremendous pain. It’s about how it looks? It’s about the optics of the executive order. I don’t know how he can do accounting on that when it comes to actual people in actual pain.”

Mastriano said, “He wants to retain and exercise supreme power, without going through the House and Senate. It’s ironic. He’s got a Democrat house, although by one seat, and they’re out of control. They won’t work with him. They won’t cooperate with him. They run these radical pieces of legislation. He was rated by Forbes, I believe, as the least effective governor in the nation. That’s about a dozen states with split governments like we have in Pennsylvania. He’s even whining and complaining this summer, I can’t get anything done because of the legislators. Well, you can’t get anything done because of your Democrat House. They’re so radical. They won’t even work with their own governor. So he’s pandering to this far left wing, environmentalist group in his party, that’s the segment of his party. In the end, people like you and me are paying for it and I’m really sick and tired of it. Josh Shapiro, if you changed your mind on RGGI, explain it to us, but it was all a deception to get votes last year. The irony is on top of Pennsylvania suffering, the crumbling of our economy, it’s hard for people of middle income and below to make ends meet. He’s already campaigning for his presidential run. The guy is sickening to me.”

Jansen noted, “We have to worry about how the Supreme Court will vote on this. It seems to me that from a legal standpoint, they can’t support him doing this by executive order. To me it almost feels like that’s sort of his backdoor way out with the green, which is a growing constituency in the Democrat party among young people, especially, that he’ll just throw up his hands and say, well see I tried to repeal it, but that court said no.”

What about the fact that the State Supreme Court is left-leaning? 

Jansen said, “That’s the worry that they actually would uphold this which I think is absurd. So it’s almost like a win/win for him. If they do uphold it, then he can claim oh, good see, we said that I’m able to do this by executive order, which is terrifying. It opens the door for him to do a lot of things by executive order. That’s why I almost think they can’t approve it, even if politically they would like to, but if they don’t, then that’s his out for the green people.. Well, I absolutely tried. So I’m not at all surprised at the news conference, where he was questioned about this. He was badgered about it and it looked like I got the feeling from that news conference, yeah, that’s exactly what he’s going to do. And that’s why it’s like a win/win for him.”

Mastriano said, “Sounds like a politician to me and meanwhile, our energy sector, which has so much promise, and so much potential for prosperity in Pennsylvania, they’re moving to West Virginia and other Republican states where there’s less regulation. It’s terrifying to me that a governor can wield so much power and inflict so many hidden taxes that they call fees. That’s how they can circumvent this thing because taxes of course are by the legislative body. These fees on an entire industry that’s filtered down all the way to us in our power bills.”