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    Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Update

    The independent commission charged with reviewing proposed state rules and regulations on February 16th called for a one-year moratorium on the implementation of Governor Wolf’s mandate that Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and questioned the Governor’s unilateral decision to join the compact without legislative approval, according to Senators Gene Yaw (R-23), Chair, and Joe Pittman (R-41), Vice Chair, of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

    The delay and questions about the Environmental Quality Board’s (EQB) authority to impose a regulation to establish a program to limit the emissions of carbon dioxide from electric generation (Regulation #7-559) were part of a nine page comment document issued by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC), the senators said.  At its September 15, 2020 meeting, the EQB considered and approved the proposed regulation – over the previously filed objections from three advisory panels in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

    On October 3, 2019, Governor Wolf directed DEP to join RGGI – a collaboration of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.  The states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and, more recently, New Jersey and Virginia, set a cap on total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electric power generators in their states.  In order to comply, power plants must purchase a credit or “allowance” for each ton of CO2 they emit, which changes every calendar quarter through auctions conducted by RGGI. Pennsylvania would be the only state in the compact with a substantial amount of coal or natural gas resources and, as a result, electric generation plants fueled by those resources.

    “These critical IRRC comments, and its recommendation for a one-year delay, are quite timely given the ongoing and catastrophic blackouts in Texas, which were caused by that state’s transition from reliable and resilient coal generation to unreliable wind and solar power, much as Governor Wolf intends with Pennsylvania’s entry into RGGI,” said Senator Yaw. “During Pennsylvania’s last polar vortex, it was coal generation that absorbed three-quarters of the historic increase in demand for electricity, since nuclear power cannot be increased and significant amounts of natural gas had to be rerouted from power plants to home heating. These issues must be thoroughly analyzed by the General Assembly, the Public Utility Commission and PJM.”

    “There is a lot of information in the report and it clearly shows that the IRRC thoughtfully considered all of the facts and details presented on the proposed regulation,” said Senator Pittman. “But the biggest piece is the IRRC recommendation that any RGGI rule have its implementation delayed by a year. There are several other items of note in the report, but the main take away is that IRRC certainly recognizes the significant impact of Pennsylvania entering into RGGI and that it must be done thoughtfully.”

    In addition to asking the EQB to consider delaying the implementation of the regulation for one year, the IRRC also directed the EQB to provide details on the Governor’s unilateral decision to join RGGI without legislative approval and to explain how it was empowered to develop the regulation, despite the rejection of the proposal by three DEP advisory panels.  The IRRC noted that prior to being presented to the EQB for consideration, the three panels (the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee, the Citizens Advisory Council, and the Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee) all declined to support the rulemaking.

    The IRRC comments also considered objections raised by several parties of whether the proposed regulation represents a policy decision of such a “substantial nature” that it requires legislative review and acknowledged a point raised by a Pennsylvania Senate letter that “the proposed regulation joining Pennsylvania to RGGI represents the single, most significant energy policy reform since the deregulation of electric generation in the 1990s.”
    “The issues raised by members of the General Assembly, the legislative action from the last session of the General Assembly, the lack of consensus from three EQB advisory panels and the manner in which other states have joined RGGI clearly indicate that this regulation falls within the scope of that criterion,” the comments stated. “We ask the EQB to explain why it is appropriate to implement this carbon trading program through executive order and the rulemaking process instead of the legislative process.”

    After reviewing the points raised by both sides regarding EQB’s statutory authority granted by the Air Pollution Control Act (APCA), the Commission directed that agency to consider all of the arguments on both sides of these issues and provide a point-by-point analysis of why this proposal is within its delegated authority and to show that it is consistent with the intent of the General Assembly when the APCA was enacted.

  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 10:05:00 -0500

    Mass COVID-19 shot clinic in county plan

    COVID-19 pandemic statistics for Indiana County are trending better.
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 10:00:00 -0500

    Struzzi reintroduces RGGI legislation

    Following a crossing of swords earlier this week with state Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McConnell, state Rep. Jim Struzzi, R-Indiana, has reintroduced legislation regulating Pennsylvania’s entry into the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 09:52:00 -0500

    Degenkolb replaces Woodley at helm of county GOP

    Indiana County Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts Randy Degenkolb has been elected by the Indiana County Republican Committee to replace Gilbert Woodley as chairman.
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 09:40:00 -0500

    Ox Hill Fair, United Way, neighbors, TV, etc.

    To whom it may concern —
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 09:25:00 -0500

    Pierogi sale scheduled

    SS. Peter & Paul Greek Orthodox Church, Columbia and Main streets in Homer City, will hold a pierogi sale (curbside order and delivery) starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 6. Frozen pierogies are $10 a dozen. For more information, call…
  • Thu, 25 Feb 2021 09:59:00 -0500

    Vaccine supply frustrating county officials, hospital, residents

    A stark statistic came out of Harrisburg last week. The state distributed 16,150 doses of coronavirus vaccine across the state from Feb. 14 through Saturday.
  • Thu, 25 Feb 2021 09:54:00 -0500

    Supervisors commit $100,000 for Citizens' Ambulance

    Sewer ties with neighboring Indiana Borough and support of Citizens’ Ambulance Service were among issues for the White Township board of supervisors on Wednesday night.
  • Thu, 25 Feb 2021 09:53:00 -0500

    Cash for pandemic-idled businesses coming

    Local economic development leaders put the call out Wednesday for financially stricken hospitality businesses to stake a claim for funds from a sizeable state grant awarded to Indiana County.
  • Thu, 25 Feb 2021 09:49:00 -0500

    Drought disaster relief funding is available

    State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding has notified farmland owners in Indiana and 24 other Pennsylvania counties that they are eligible to receive disaster relief assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to losses caused by drought that occurred during…
  • Thu, 25 Feb 2021 09:40:00 -0500

    Supervisors tweak rules for executive session

    The White Township board of supervisors approved a resolution Wednesday night that will tweak the procedure for executive sessions for those who are listening in on teleconferences of the board’s twice-monthly meeting.
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 14:00:00 +0000

    Top 100 Organizations 2021

    Looking forward into 2021, After a challenging year, Pennsylvania Business Central is proud to recognize the Top 100 Organizations for 2021. After receiving a long list of nominees from throughout our 23-county readership, these organizations were selected by an editorial committee due to their positive impacts in the business community of central Pennsylvania. This year’s Top 100 Organizations are leaders […]
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 14:00:00 +0000

    Paycheck Protection Program – The Second Round Is Underway

    A second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans opened up first to underrepresented small business owners, and then the general population this month. It offered businesses a chance to get a second loan in 2021. Initial data indicates more than $1 billion in loans have been approved for Pennsylvania businesses, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced recently. The SBA reopened […]
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 14:00:00 +0000

    COVID-19’s Challenge for Leaders

    For over 40 years, I have worked with lead­ers around the world to help them chart strate­gies and build executive teams. Never in that time have I observed a greater challenge to leadership. Not sur­prisingly, that challenge is driven by the economic impact of today’s pandemic and the emotional upheaval of social iso­lation. Nobel prize winning physicist Max Planck once […]
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 14:00:00 +0000

    New Targeted Email Program

    In recent years, the Direct Marketing As­sociation has done extensive studies on median return-on-investment (ROI) for select channels such as paid social me­dia, direct mail, online display, and Paid search. Consistently, direct email has proven to be the most cost-effective op­tion with a median return of +122%. Large corporations can afford their own departments to manage their database and customer […]
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 14:00:00 +0000

    UPMC Health System

    UPMC in Central Pennsylvania is a network of seven hospitals. UPMC Harrisburg serves as the hub of care, providing advanced care in cardiology and vascular services, stroke care, pediatrics, women’s health – including labor and delivery – and kidney transplantation. UPMC Memorial is the newest hospital in the UPMC network, opening in 2019. By working closely with UPMC Hanover, UPMC […]
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 14:00:00 +0000

    Riverview Bank

    Riverview Bank is a $1.3 billion asset community bank headquartered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In the fourth quarter of 2020, Riverview Bank began a brand consolidation of all operating divisions, including CBT Bank and Citizens Neighborhood Bank, now operating under one brand across our entire Pennsylvania geography. With this unification, the Bank initiated a regional structure, offering a more effective model […]
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 14:00:00 +0000

    Strawberry Fields Inc.

    Strawberry Fields is honored to have been nominated and selected as one of PA Business Central’s Top 100 Organizations for 2021. Strawberry Fields provides comprehensive service and support for persons with disabilities and their families. Under the leadership of CEO Cindy Pasquinelli, Strawberry Fields is celebrating 49 years of empowering individuals and enriching lives. Through their Early Intervention and Children’s […]
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 14:00:00 +0000

    1st Summit Bank

    1st Summit Bank offers banking, financial and investment services to Cambria, Blair, Somerset, Indiana and Westmoreland Counties in western Pennsylvania. Established in May 1924, 1st Summit Bank has recently expanded to 17 offices with over 200 professionals; they opened a new office in Murrysville on February 1st of 2021. 1st Summit Bank continues to build upon developing new relationships with […]
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 14:00:00 +0000

    Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology

    Located in the geographic center of the commonwealth, the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology in Centre County is a career-technical education center that offers secondary and post-secondary programs in technical fields including energy, healthcare, heavy construction, and others. Well-equipped laboratories and classrooms, highly-skilled instructors and curricula focused on industry standards and certifications prepare students for rapid employment advancement […]
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 14:00:00 +0000

    Ernst Conservation Seeds Inc

    Ernst Conservation Seeds Inc. made its first sale in 1964. Since then, this family-owned business, with the third generation actively involved, is still working hard to improve the impact their work has on the environment continually. They make available to eastern North America the key native and naturalized species of plants for restoration, reclamation, conservation, wildlife and pollinator habitat enhancement, […]
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 21:38:43 +0000

    Con Alma to open second restaurant downtown in prominent location across from Heinz Hall

    Shadyside operator to move into former Peter Allen space on Penn Avenue to add live jazz music to the mix in the Cultural District downtown
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 20:12:07 +0000

    UPMC reaches $23B in annual revenue thanks to increases from UPMC Health Plan

    UPMC’s annual operating revenue jumped 12% to $23.1 billion in the pandemic year of 2020, led by strong growth from UPMC’s insurance services division to the point where the organization’s patient service revenue was exceeded by insurance services revenue in the year. Revenue was up from $20.6 billion in 2019, despite the pandemic. UPMC Health Plan's revenue on a consolidated basis was $11.4 billion for the year, up from $9.8 billion in 2019, as insurance membership rose 11% to 4 million members…
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 20:10:47 +0000

    Fifth Season partnering with P3R, named 'official greens' of Pittsburgh Marathon

    “Runners are always asking us for healthy food ideas, and this partnership will introduce our runners to an innovative, Pittsburgh-built company that is committed to bringing healthy, sustainable food solutions to our local community,” P3R VP of Partnerships & Runner Experience Caroline Fitzgerald said.
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 19:59:13 +0000

    SPAC sponsored by PNC and Jefferies to invest profits in initiatives supporting economic empowerment, inclusion of underrepresented groups

    Newly public Empowerment & Inclusion Capital's chairrman and CEO is former U.S. Congressman Harold Ford Jr., who is vice chair of PNC's Corporate & Institutional Banking group.
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 19:07:43 +0000

    II-VI to expand footprint in Santa Rosa, California

    Pittsburgh-based II-VI Inc. plans to double its recently secured 39,000-square-foot manufacturing footprint in Santa Rosa, California, over the next five years. During that time, the company also plans to double its capacity, but declined to comment on its current capacity. Mark Lourie, vice president of corporate communications and brand development at II-VI said the company will also bring on more employees during that time, but he did not disclose how many.  The expansion is part of the company’s…
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 19:05:46 +0000

    Pennsylvania banks see profit dip in 4Q, in contrast to 9% hike nationwide

    Loans and deposits soar but fewer banks in the commonwealth recorded earnings gains.
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 19:04:13 +0000

    BJ's Wholesale Club closes on site for new store at Newbury at South Fayette

    New-to-region wholesale club expected to be a major retail draw for long-delayed Newbury Market and to be open in November.
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:50:23 +0000

    Companies consider whether to incentivize vaccination of employees

    One Pittsburgh company opted to offer its employees $250 each for proof of vaccination.
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:48:03 +0000

    Official says it could be summer before next priority group OKed for vaccine

    “We’ve seen delays come through just because of the weather and because of some of these allocation issues, and so again, I think we have to be realistic and look to where we are at this time of year,” Lindsey Mauldin, senior adviser for Covid-19 at the the Pennsylvania Department of Health, said.
  • Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:33:25 +0000

    3 reasons Pittsburgh is on the verge of being a true life sciences hub

    Pittsburgh’s life science industry presence is headed toward an inflection point. For the last 20 years, the city has made a dedicated effort to growing its fledging biotech community. In that time, the number of life science startups in the region has accelerated exponentially. According to Crunchbase, the number of life science startups in Pittsburgh since 2000 is 155. Since 2015, 62 companies have formed. Over the past two decades, 40% of the total new life science startups were founded within…
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