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Pa. environmental groups file appeal of RGGI ruling

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Pa. environmental groups file appeal of RGGI ruling

Nov 29, 2023 | 6:11 pm ET
By Cassie Miller
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Pa. environmental groups join Shapiro on RGGI appeal
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The Homer City Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant in Indiana County, which closed in 2023 (Capital-Star photo).

Four Pennsylvania environmental groups PennFuture, Clean Air Council, Sierra Club, and Environmental Defense Fund have filed an appeal of the Nov. 1 Commonwealth Court ruling that bars Pennsylvania from joining a multi-state carbon credit program known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI.

The suit follows a similar appeal from Gov. Josh Shapiro filed last week.

“We look forward to the opportunity to defend PA’s RGGI Rule and our members’ rights under the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Environmental Rights Amendment in this case,” Jessica O’Neill, senior attorney at PennFuture, said on behalf of the parties. “While we support the Commonwealth’s appeal of the misguided decision by the lower court, our groups have a distinct interest in appealing the decision and upholding Pennsylvania’s regulations aimed at reducing climate emissions and improving the health of our most burdened communities.”

Shapiro announced that he would appeal the decision just a few days shy of the 30-day appeal deadline, on the grounds that it could directly affect the power of future governors. 

“The Commonwealth Court’s decision on RGGI – put in place by the prior administration – was limited to questions of executive authority, and our Administration must appeal in order to protect that important authority for this Administration and all future governors,” Shapiro spokesperson Manuel Bonder said in a statement announcing the appeal. 

In a jointly issued statement Wednesday, the environmental groups urged the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to overturn the prior decisions of the Commonwealth Court.

“Participation in the RGGI program would bring huge, known benefits to Pennsylvanians including lower carbon emissions, reduced air pollution, consumer cost savings, and job creation that would prioritize those most in need. It would also spur clean energy investments that provide additional public health, environmental, and economic benefits,” the statement reads.

Correction: This story was corrected at 9:40 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023 to clarify that the environmental groups’ appeal is separate from the appeal filed by the Shapiro administration.