HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is taking a big step in his effort to fight climate change in the nation’s fourth-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.

The Democratic governor on Thursday ordered his administration to start working on regulations to bring Pennsylvania into a nine-state consortium that sets a price and limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative could face pushback from the Republican-controlled Legislature and the state’s influential coal and natural gas industries.

Nine other states have a cap and trade policy which charges plants for carbon emissions.

Governor wolf blames recent flooding and flood damage on carbon emissions

“2018 was Pennsylvania’s wettest year on record. The storms that came brought pounding rain, causing floods of all sizes,” said Gov. Wolf.

Wolf says air pollution causes climate change.  And if we don’t stop it’ll cost plenty:

“Someone has to pay to fix the destroyed houses, roads and bridges. It’s going to be all of us. Every single one of us. We’re going to do that through increased insurance costs, higher taxes.”

There’s no arguing, Pittsburgh has some of the most polluted air in the country.  

Some of it comes from U.S.Ssteel’s Clairton Works.  

However, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto says joining the initiative will be a positive for the state.

“By creating a market-based approach for investment in building energy efficiency, locally-sourced clean and renewable power generation and emissions reduction, Governor Wolf is helping to further innovation, create green jobs and respond strongly to the challenge of climate change.

“Locally, Pennsylvania’s inclusion in RGGI will provide Pittsburgh a great resource to help advance the City’s 2030 climate targets of 50 percent emissions reduction and 100 percent renewable energy.”

Pennsylvania is the nation’s No. 3 electric power state, and its energy sector is its largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Its dozens of power plants fueled by coal, oil and natural gas could be forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to the state annually under the program.

Wolf failed to get the Republican-controlled legislature to go along with his carbon plan.

They are likely to challenge his authority to issue an executive order.

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