Skip to content

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on EPA Carbon Plan

The State Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, chaired by Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) and Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) held a second Committee hearing Thursday to discuss the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to cut carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants.  A video of the hearing is available by clicking here.

The EPA had proposed its Clean Energy Policy as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan in June to widespread opposition from Pennsylvania’s coal and oil industries.

The hearing, held at Wilkes University, featured testimony from the Electric Power Generation Association; PPL Generation’s Eastern Fossil and Hydro division; PennFuture’s Energy Center for Enterprise and the Environment; and the Natural Resources Defense Council, among other power, environmental, consulting and consumer organizations.

This was the second time legislators have looked at the proposed federal policy. The state’s business community has argued that the proposal would increase electric prices and raise the cost of doing business in the state, while environmentalists have supported the proposal.

“As legislators, we have an obligation to the environment, but we also have an obligation to the consumer,” Sen. Yaw said.  “We have to balance the needs of both as we examine a complex issue like this one, which is why I think it is imperative for this committee to look at the short and long-term effects of this federal proposal on our environment and overall economy.”

“I applaud our committee chair, Sen. Gene Yaw, for getting the committee well out in front of this issue and I thank him for holding this public hearing in my district, in Wilkes-Barre,” Sen. Yudichak said. “It is important for all of our committee members to continue to have open discussions – like we had here today – about the EPA proposal and what it will mean for Pennsylvania’s environment, economy, and energy industry.”

Sen. Yudichak noted that a state plan for reduction of carbon emissions under the proposed regulations is due to the EPA in June 2016.

“It is imperative that DEP begins to develop a plan that benefits Pennsylvania’s public health, environmental health and climate,” he said, noting that “any plan that we devise before the June 2016 deadline must also protect ratepayers from higher energy prices and stimulate, not disrupt our local and state economy.”