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On October 3, 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed an Executive Order directing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) to develop a CO2 emissions trading regulation by July 31, 2020, that is consistent with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Model Rule. This action effectively paves the way for Pennsylvania to join RGGI. Governor Wolf's order cites the urgency of the climate crisis facing Pennsylvania and that, based on PADEP's GHG inventory, 30% of the commonwealth's total GHG emissions are produced by the electricity generator sector as reasons for this directive. Wolf signed another executive order in January 2019 which committed Pennsylvania to reducing net GHG emissions by 26% from 2005 levels, and to further reduce net GHG emissions by 80% by 2050.

In the wake of the executive order regarding joining RGGI, Pennsylvania's House Republican leaders issued a statement disagreeing with Wolf's practice of issuing executive orders to advance his climate initiatives. They vowed to “execute the fullest extent” of their legislative power in combating the RGGI executive order on behalf of residents of Pennsylvania.

Nine US states in the northeast currently cap and reduce power section carbon dioxide (CO2) through participation in RGGI. Under RGGI, fossil fuel-fired electric power generators with a capacity of at least 25 megawatt (MW) in participating states obtain allowances for CO2 emissions in accordance with the individual states' CO2 budget trading programs (developed based on RGGI's “model rule”). Over time, the RGGI cap on CO2 emissions will be reduced, forcing the power generation sector as a whole to reduce emissions.

Current RGGI members include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. In June 2019, New Jersey adopted emissions trading regulations in order to rejoin RGGI. While Virginia also adopted trading rules this year, the state budget issued in May 2019 prohibits Virginia's participation in RGGI at this time.

For additional assistance in Philadelphia, please contact office manager, Christie Heath, at cheath@trinityconsultants.com or (610) 280-3902. For additional assistance in Pittsburgh, please contact office manager, Ian Donaldson, at idonaldson@trinityconsultants.com or (724) 935-2611.