On Monday, May 9, 2022, Steve Harvey Law LLC submitted an amicus curiae (or, “friend of the court”) brief in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on behalf of 73 Pennsylvania Scientists in support of Pennsylvania going forward with its plan to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The brief is available here.
The brief was submitted in a case filed by certain coal interests seeking to enjoin Pennsylvania from joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”), a cap-and-trade system designed to reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions from the electricity generation sector. As noted in the brief, Pennsylvania generates more emissions from this sector than many individual countries including Greece, Sweden, Israel, Singapore, Austria, Peru, and Portugal. Pennsylvania joining RGGI will not only reduce GHG emissions but also it will generate approximately $1 billion in annual revenues for the Commonwealth. California already has a cap-and-trade system of its own that works very well and all the New England states plus New York and New Jersey are already in RGGI. Notably, Pennsylvania has more GHG emissions from the power sector than all the other RGGI states combined (in part because Pennsylvania is the site of multiple coal-fired power plants.). Thus, Pennsylvania’s joining RGGI will greatly expand its scope and effectiveness in reducing GHG.
As explained in the brief, “the undisputed facts show that (1) climate change is a very real, serious, and urgent problem bearing down on human society in Pennsylvania and everywhere else, and (2) the key to preventing substantial harm as much as possible is to substantially reduce GHG emissions in Pennsylvania and elsewhere as quickly as possible.” Further, “[b]y joining RGGI, Pennsylvania could act as the keystone that will not only begin the process of reducing emissions in Pennsylvania but could set an example for other states to take similar actions.” The brief concluded that “from Amici’s perspective what is important is that Pennsylvania begin the process of substantially reducing emissions. Joining RGGI would clearly do this. This first step is hugely important and stopping it would cause immense harm.”
As of the date of this post, the court has not yet ruled on the request for a preliminary injunction.