Description: Proceeding concerning the publication of Pennsylvania regulations to implement the State's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
Ziadeh v. Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 07/25/2022 Order Download Application to vacate stay denied. Acting Secretary Ziadeh appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which temporarily resulted in a automatic stay of the preliminary injunction, but the Commonwealth Court vacated the stay on July 25, 2022. 07/11/2022 Notice of Appeal Download Notice of appeal filed by Ramez Ziadeh, in his official capacity as Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Acting Chairperson of the Environmental Quality Board. 07/08/2022 Memorandum Opinion Download Applications to intervene denied. The court denied applications to intervene by Constellation Energy Corporation and Constellation Energy Generation, LLC and by environmental groups. 07/08/2022 Memorandum Opinion Download State senators' request for preliminary injunction granted. Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Enjoined Implementation of RGGI Regulations. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court granted Pennsylvania State Senators’ (Senate) request for a preliminary injunction blocking the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection from implementing and enforcing regulations providing for Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI participating states establish carbon dioxide budgets for power plants, and covered sources must acquire allowances to cover their emissions. RGGI, Inc. conducts quarterly auctions for the allowances, and proceeds go to participating states. The court found that the Senate had demonstrated irreparable harm per se by raising a substantial legal question as to whether the regulations constituted a tax requiring legislative approval as opposed to a regulatory fee. The court further found that implementation and enforcement of invalid regulations would cause greater harm even if implementation of the regulations would result in “immediate reduction” of carbon dioxide emissions from covered sources. In addition, the court found that the preliminary injunction would restore the status quo and that the Senate had showed a clear right to relief by raising substantial legal questions about separation of powers issues related to the Regulatory Review Act, as well as concerning whether the allowance auction proceeds were an unconstitutional tax. The court found, however, that the Senate did not raise substantial legal questions regarding whether the regulations exceeded authority granted by the Air Pollution Control Act, whether the regulations constituted an interstate compact or agreement in violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution, or whether the administrative process through which the regulations were adopted was lawful. 04/18/2022 Order Download Stay order deemed dissolved as of April 11, 2022. Temporary Block on Publication of Pennsylvania RGGI Regulations Expired. On April 5, 2022, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued an order temporarily blocking the publication of regulations to implement Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions from power plants. The court issued the order in a lawsuit brought by Governor Wolf’s administration against the Legislative Reference Bureau to seek a faster timeframe for publication. State legislators intervened and requested a preliminary injunction barring publication. The stay was deemed dissolved as of April 11, and the regulations were published on April 23. 04/05/2022 Order Processing of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative regulation for publication stayed.