Energy. Environment. Economy.

Election 2014: Corbett and Wolf differ on approach to Obama’s carbon rules

The Homer City Generating Station, Homer City, Pa.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

The Homer City Generating Station, Homer City, Pa.

Election day is just a week away. And whoever ends up winning the race for Pennsylvania’s governor will have climate change on their agenda. That’s because states now have to implement new EPA rules decreasing carbon emissions at power plants. But the two candidates are far apart on their approach to reducing the state’s carbon footprint.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules would make Pennsylvania reduce its carbon emissions by 32 percent. And that means burning less coal.

Governor Corbett has criticized the EPA’s proposed rules.

“Those are aimed directly at the coal industry,” Corbett told StateImpact. “Right now [the rules are] going to cost Pennsylvanians 6200 miners jobs, tens of thousands of jobs beyond that, but also [they're] going to cause energy costs to go up because right now in Pennsylvania 40 percent of our electricity today is obtained through coal.”

Corbett won’t say whether he would have the state join a lawsuit challenging those rules. But he does say the EPA has overstepped its authority by not having Congress review the changes.

And he recently signed a law passed by state lawmakers that tipped its hat to the coal industry by delaying the process.

But Corbett’s Democratic opponent Tom Wolf takes a much more pragmatic approach.

“The world is moving toward a lower carbon footprint,” said Wolf at an interview last week at WHYY studios. “And Pennsylvania like every other state is going to have to continue to figure out how to adjust to that. Now, in Pennsylvania’s case, that’s a big challenge. Because coal is a huge, huge part of our economy. It’s a huge source of jobs.”

Wolf says he wants to work with the coal industry to figure out how to produce electricity with a smaller carbon footprint.

States have until June of 2016 to submit a plan to the EPA.


  • Victim_of_Republicans

    If members of the working class (basically 95% of us) want a better future, Wolf is the obvious choice. So, it’s basically up to the voters if they want a better future. If voters are honest, they will look back upon the past 4 years of the Corbett administration and conclude that they’ve gotten the shaft and that it’s time for Corbett to be replaced. Why endure another 4 years of his policies? It makes no common sense. Voters shouldn’t sit around and ASSUME Wolf will win. They should go out there on election day and make it happen.

    As technology increases, life is supposed to become better for ALL members of society. Resources should become more equitably divided over time as technology improves and life should get easier for EVERYone. If Republicans are in charge, that will never happen. Republicans embrace a much more primitive past.

  • Patrick Henderson

    It is incorrect (and quite revealing for a news organization) for Stateimpact to state that Gov. Corbett has not taken a pragmatic approach. The citizens of Pennsylvania expect their government to represent their interests, and that is exactly what Governor Corbett has done. Through his direction, the PA Department of Environmental Protection has been forward-thinking and engaged with EPA on the proposed carbon rule, even outlining principles to help achieve its goals while protecting the interests of Pennsylvanians through the release of the Commonwealth’s white paper. I am not sure what Ms. Phillips believes is “not pragmatic” about Pennsylvania’s approach to date. Likewise, the characterization that House Bill 2354, which passed with strong, bipartisan support, will “delay” the process is simply factually incorrect. States do not have the authority – and HB 2354 does not profess to assert otherwise – to delay the timing or effective date of the federal effective dates of the EPA carbon rule. For StateImpact to assert otherwise is simply nonsense, and not backed up by any evidence. Which, it seems, is par for the course.

    Patrick Henderson, Energy Executive
    Office of the Governor

    • me again

      The new law gives the state House and Senate 20 days to consider the carbon plan crafted by the state Department of Environmental Protection ergo submission will occur AT LEAST 20 days AFTER a plan is proposed which IS A DELAY! The article does NOT state the bill will delay any effective date, you assert that which IS factually incorrect. Quit being a worthless shill, read and learn, quit your spin, and don’t let the door hit ytou on the way out!

  • me

    This states that Wolf takes a MUCH MORE PRAGMATIC approach, not that tommy one term isn’t pragmatic. Read & learn you nitwit shill.

  • Joe Wysocki

    wolf supports obama end of discussion period

  • Susan Phillips

    Hello readers, it has come to our attention that some viewed the commenter below, self-identified as “me” and “me again” to be the author of the article. It was not. If we as reporters reply to comments, we always use our names, which appear alongside our pictures and email.
    Susan Phillips

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