HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature failed Monday in a last-ditch effort to block the centerpiece of Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to tackle climate change, a regulation requiring fossil-fuel-fired power plants to pay a price for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit.
A 32-17 vote in the state Senate fell short of the two-thirds threshold to block a settlement drafted by the Wolf administration that could return Pennsylvania the first major fossil fuel state to adopt a carbon pricing policy.
It could still face a legal challenge in court from opponents, who argue it is an illegal use of regulatory authority. If not blocked by a court, the obligation to bring plants subject to the regulation into compliance could begin as early as July 1.
Republican lawmakers have sought to block it, calling it an unconstitutional tax that will shut down power plants, raise consumer electric bills, threaten national security and destroy Pennsylvania’s growing natural gas-based industrial economy.
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Democratic lawmakers say the measure is desperately needed to act on the threat of climate change and will accelerate Pennsylvania’s transition into the future of a clean-energy economy.
Environmental advocates say every dollar of emissions credits that carbon-emitting power plants have to buy can then be invested in energy efficiency programs that ultimately lower electricity bills.
The measure has divided the power generation industry, while business advocacy groups oppose it and environmental groups support it.
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