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October 3, 2019 3:30 PM, EDT

Coal State Pennsylvania Is Joining Carbon Market

Coal Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News

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Pennsylvania, the heart of the U.S. shale-gas boom and one of the biggest coal-producing states, is joining a carbon market.

Governor Tom Wolf on Oct. 3 ordered state environmental regulators to come up with a plan by July 31 to regulate emissions from power plants and establish rules that would allow state to participate in a multistate carbon market called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Pennsylvania joining represents the most significant addition to the effort yet. The state is among the top carbon-dioxide emitters in the U.S., and its economy is more dependent on fossil fuels than any other of the 10 states already involved in the effort. The move comes months after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s failed attempt to join the group and follows neighboring New Jersey’s return to RGGI.

Pennsylvania is the second-largest natural gas producing state in the U.S., after Texas, and sits atop one of the world’s largest sources of the fossil fuel. It was the third-largest coal producer in 2017. About 15% of Pennsylvania’s electricity comes from coal, and 45% is from natural gas, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Coal-fired power generation has historically produced more carbon dioxide in Pennsylvania than any other segment, accounting for about a quarter of the state’s total emissions, state data show.

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