May 7, 2020 Local 459 Members took time to send a message to PA Governor Wolf. The Union workforce that provides the 24/7 coverage required to keep some of the largest electric generating stations in the United States running, took part during the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee meeting.
The message: There are a lot of PA workers and their families whom are not happy that Governor Wolf used executive powers to add PA to the Reginal Greenhouse Gas Intuitive (RGGI). Because it is sure to be the demise of our EPA compliant power plants and will be disastrous to our communities. Resulting in severe economic decline.
The PA. Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee (AQTAC), held a virtual meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Governor Wolf’s RGGI agenda. In 2019 Gov. Wolf signed an executive order for PA join with 9 other states in the northeast that require coal and gas power plants to pay a fee to continue to operate. This fee will add approximately $6.00 to the cost needed to produce a megawatt. For coal and some gas power plants, this additional cost will most likely be too much of a burden to overcome and the generating stations will be shut down. Yes, it is serious.
During the AQTAC meeting, Local 459 members were a majority of the commenters along with Brothers from the Boilermakers Union and many concerned citizens. Each echoed the same message to the DEP and Governor Wolf.
· Once PA eliminates our power plants, the generation will move to Ohio and W.V.
· It will not result in lowering CO2 overall
· Since 2009 (When RGGI started in 9 other states) PA has lowered its CO2 levels as a non-RGGI state the same as the RGGI states.
· Pennsylvanians electric bills will increase.
· If joining RGGI is such a good deal for PA, why not let our elected state legislators decide and rescind the executive order to join RGGI?
· Lastly and most importantly, did Governor Wolf also sign an executive order for a ‘JUST Transition plan’ designed to help those who will be affected after RGGI eliminates their jobs and local tax bases? (NO)
Local 459 Leadership is proud of the many members who spoke using facts and passion to help the AQTAC realize what we have known, RGGI is not good for PA!
The end result: The Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee members voted to NOT RECOMMEND that the DEP move RGGI forward!
While this is a significant win for us and a blow to the RGGI movement, it's not the end of the battle. We all need to continue doing what we can to help stop Governor Wolf’s executive order.
Thank you to all who commented or joined in on the call. Many thanks to the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee members for considering our comments and concerns.