In the near future, I will introduce legislation supported by the administration to establish the Pennsylvania Climate Emission Reduction (PACER) Program. Part of the Governor’s commonsense energy plan, PACER will help to create nearly 15,000 energy jobs, lower electricity costs for Pennsylvanians, take real action to address climate change, and maintain Pennsylvania’s energy independence. My bill creates an emissions reduction program that leverages Pennsylvania’s advantages as a major energy producer to reduce climate emissions while also directly lowering prices for Pennsylvanians through an electric bill rebate.

Under PACER, carbon trading decisions will be determined solely by Pennsylvania in a way that’s right for Pennsylvania. PACER establishes a PA-specific price on carbon emissions, requiring large emitters to pay their fair share, and will return the money generated to Pennsylvania consumers to help with their electricity bills.

My legislation builds on the recommendations of the Governor’s Working Group, made up of representatives of labor, the energy industry, environmental groups, and consumer advocates.

In particular, PACER will invest proceeds in ways that save customers money, improve the reliability and sustainability of our electric grid, and protect low-income customers: Finally, once the PACER program is in effect, Pennsylvania will no longer participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Altogether, this means PACER will protect our environment by lowering harmful emissions while protecting consumer’s pocketbooks and providing investment funds to create the energy sector jobs of the future, with all of it happening right here in Pennsylvania.

Along with companion legislation in the Governor’s energy plan, PACER will help protect and create nearly 15,000 energy jobs, lower utility bills for Pennsylvania households, and take real action to address carbon pollution. If passed by the General Assembly, these initiatives will save Pennsylvania ratepayers $252 million in the first five years, while generating $5.1 billion in direct investment in clean, reliable energy sources.

As the Governor has made abundantly clear, we can’t sit around and do nothing while other states pass us by in the race to diversify our energy sources and create clean, reliable and affordable energy. I hope that you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.