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Wolf to protect strategy

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf will veto legislation to prevent his administration from imposing controls on emissions of a key greenhouse gas without Pennsylvania lawmakers’ permission, Wolf’s office reiterated Wednesday, a move that comes as the Democrat works to advance an agenda to fight climate change.

The bill, backed by blue-collar labor unions, the coal industry and heavy manufacturers, is aimed at the centerpiece of Wolf’s effort, joining a multi-state consortium that sets a price and declining caps on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

Under the bill, state government would be unable to “abate, control or limit carbon dioxide emissions” without lawmakers’ approval in the nation’s fourth-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. It would also require six months of public comment and four public hearings on legislation.

It passed the Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday, 33-17, two months after it passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Every Republican senator voted with the chamber’s sole independent and four Pittsburgh-area Democrats to approve it.

Wolf’s office said the Department of Environmental Protection is holding meetings with a wide variety of parties as it drafts regulations under the state’s Air Pollution Control Act that it maintains could usher Pennsylvania into the consortium in 2022.

Wolf last fall ordered his administration to start drafting regulations to join the 10-state consortium of Northeast and mid-Atlantic states.

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