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Shapiro supports a new proposal to have power plants in Pennsylvania pay for the greenhouse gases they produce

Gov. Josh Shapiro revealed a plan on Wednesday to combat climate change by supporting a law that would require power plant owners in Pennsylvania to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. The plan would also

Gov. Josh Shapiro introduced a plan on Wednesday to combat climate change by supporting a law that would require power plant owners in Pennsylvania to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. The plan would also demand utilities in the third-largest power-producing state in the nation to purchase a greater amount of electricity from renewable sources.

This kind of law would make Pennsylvania the first major state known for producing fossil fuels to implement a program that puts a price on carbon. However, it is expected to face strong opposition from businesses hesitant to pay more for electricity and will have a difficult time being approved in a Legislature that is protective of the state’s natural gas industry.

Shapiro’s proposal is being put forward as environmentalists are urging him to take more action against climate change in the second-largest gas-producing state. It also comes as the state’s highest court is reviewing a challenge to his predecessor's plan to adopt a carbon-pricing program. Additionally, it comes after many of the state’s largest power polluters, such as coal-fired plants, have closed down or switched to natural gas.

During a press conference in Scranton, Shapiro stated that his plan would increase investment in clean energy sources, create jobs, enhance electricity reliability, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lower electricity costs.

Under Shapiro’s plan, Pennsylvania would establish its own carbon-pricing program, with the majority of the money paid by polluting power plants — 70% — going towards decreasing consumer electric bills. Shapiro reassured that no one would pay more for electricity and many would pay less.

At the same time, utilities would need to procure 50% of their electricity from mostly carbon-free sources by 2035, up from the current state requirement of 18%. Presently, around 60% of the state’s electricity is generated by natural gas-fired power plants.

At present, a state court has halted former Gov. Tom Wolf’s regulation allowing Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate agreement that sets a price and decreasing limit on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

When running for governor, Shapiro distanced himself from Wolf’s plan and raised doubts about whether it adequately addressed concerns that it would harm the state’s energy industry, increase electricity prices, and have minimal impact on reducing greenhouse gases.

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