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    Local Representatives Highlight Devastating Impacts To Communities If PA Governor Wolf’s Proposed Carbon Tax Plan Is Enacted

    5/15/2020
    The virtual news conference was meant to serve as regional example of the accelerated negative economic fallout the Commonwealth would face if the proposed carbon tax plan is enacted.Speaking at today’s news conference was:

    • Indiana County Commissioners R. Michael Keith (Chairman),
      Commissioner Robin Gorman, and Commissioner Sherene Hess
    • Pennsylvania Senator Joe Pittman (R – 41st District)
    • Pennsylvania Representative Jim Struzzi (R – 62nd District)
    • Don Arena, President, South-Central Building Trades
    • Shawn Steffee, Boilermakers Local #154
    • Mark Hilliard, President, Indiana County Chamber of Commerce
    • Dr. Barbara L. Parkins, Superintendent, United School District
    • Mr. Curtis A. Whitesel, Superintendent, Homer-Center School District

    Pennsylvania’s inclusion in RGGI would result in a carbon tax on air emissions from fossil fueled power plants, which are some of the most reliable and efficient providers of energy in the Commonwealth. This tax would lead to the closure of several of these power plants, resulting in the direct elimination of thousands of family-sustaining jobs and increases in the cost of electricity for all the Commonwealth’s energy consumers.

    “Electric generation, coal production and the thousands of other spin-off jobs make up a large part of our region’s economy,” said Indiana County Commissioner R. Michael Keith (Chairman). “We simply cannot stand by and allow more of our residents to be forced out of work, based solely on this ill-conceived proposal.”


    “Pennsylvania’s economy is already seeing high unemployment and business closures,” said Pennsylvania Senator Joe Pittman. “The last thing we need to do is put a further burden on Pennsylvania businesses, school districts and utility rate payers by implementing a high-cost, unilateral mandate.”

    “Even in the face of negligible support and a with a complete lack of public participation, Governor Wolf seems fixated on enacting this job-killing carbon tax,” said Representative Jim Struzzi.  “This plan will provide minimal benefits to the environment but is certain to have severe economic impacts across the Commonwealth.”

    Even without RGGI, Pennsylvania has continued to witness the positive environmental benefits that clean, reliable, and affordable energy provides in a deregulated electricity
    market. Pennsylvania is already ahead of the carbon dioxide emission reduction goals established under Governor Wolf’s Climate Action Plan. In fact, Pennsylvania’s carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector have decreased 33% since 2009. Historically, studies have proven carbon taxes do little to effect environmental change, but they do, however, impose a significant cost upon consumers in the form of a new tax.

    “Governor Wolf’s proposal for a carbon tax would be the death knell to the many coal-fired plants across Pennsylvania,” said Don Arena, president of the South-Central Building Trades. “This proposal will quickly eliminate thousands of family-sustaining jobs for so many hardworking men and women, including members throughout our region’s building trades and related unions.”

    “The Governor should acknowledge the tremendous benefits derived from fossil fuel production,” said Shawn Steffee of the Boilermakers Local #154. “These resources have provided Pennsylvania with decades of reliable and affordable energy along with good-paying jobs for thousands.”

    “Small businesses that support the electricity generation and coal-related industries throughout Pennsylvania will experience a significant setback to their businesses,” said Mark Hilliard, president of the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce.  “This policy is pure anti-business and a will create a true competitive disadvantage for Pennsylvania as a whole.”

    “The closing of these power generation plants within our school district will not only impact businesses through job loss, it will also have a negative impact on our educational resources,” said Curtis A. Whitesel, Superintendent for Homer-Center School District.  “If this proposal prevails, our school district would rapidly face an annual $800,000 budget

    shortfall, along with hard decisions about how to fill that shortfall, cut programs and reduce opportunities for our students.”

    “Learning is a critical component for building communities and economies,” said Dr. Barbara L. Parkins, Superintendent of the United School District. “We are hopeful the Governor will assess the overall impacts for such a proposal.”

    Within the past few weeks, many members of the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives have sent Governor Wolf letters urging his administration to suspend Pennsylvania’s regulatory efforts to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which has lacked a formal and open public participation process or any form of legislative concurrence.


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