November 29, 2023 Leigh Martinez

Environmental Organizations PennFuture, Clean Air Council, Sierra Club, and Environmental Defense Fund File Appeal of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Courtís Ruling on the RGGI Rule

This appeal continues the groupsí challenge to the Commonwealth Courtís refusal to allow the environmental groups to intervene in the RGGI litigation, issued on June 28, 2022.

Harrisburg, PA., November 29, 2023 — Today, environmental organizations PennFuture, Clean Air Council, Sierra Club, and Environmental Defense Fund filed an appeal of the Commonwealth Court’s November 1, 2023 ruling that blocked Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multistate carbon emissions reduction program. Through this appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the environmental groups continue to fight for the benefits of RGGI for a cleaner Pennsylvania. 

This appeal continues the groups’ challenge to the Commonwealth Court’s refusal to allow the environmental groups to intervene in the RGGI litigation, issued on June 28, 2022.  

“We look forward to the opportunity to defend PA’s RGGI Rule and our members’ rights under the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Environmental Rights Amendment in this case,” said Jessica O’Neill, Senior Attorney at PennFuture, on behalf of the parties. “While we support the Commonwealth’s appeal of the misguided decision by the lower court, our groups have a distinct interest in appealing the decision and upholding Pennsylvania’s regulations aimed at reducing climate emissions and improving the health of our most burdened communities.”

The appeal filed today continues to urge the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to overturn the prior decisions of the Commonwealth Court in this litigation. In particular, the appeal highlights the unique position of environmental groups that represent their members as beneficiaries under the Environmental Rights Amendment, an interest that is distinct from the Commonwealth’s interest as a trustee of PA’s public natural resources. 

Participation in the RGGI program would bring huge, known benefits to Pennsylvanians including lower carbon emissions, reduced air pollution, consumer cost savings, and job creation that would prioritize those most in need. It would also spur clean energy investments that provide additional public health, environmental, and economic benefits.

Prior Appeal: On May 24, 2023, the groups, represented by PennFuture’s Attorneys O’Neill and Emma Bast, argued their appeal before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to allow the groups to participate in the ongoing RGGI litigation. The Supreme Court had not issued a ruling in that case, which also included a temporary halt to the RGGI Rule, before the Commonwealth Court’s recent decision barring Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI.






About the environmental groups:

Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) is a member-supported, statewide environmental advocacy nonprofit and watchdog fighting against potential threats to PA's clean air, pure water, and healthy climate. Since 1998, PennFuture has combined legislative advocacy and legal enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels, educational outreach, and civic engagement support for just and equitable environmental outcomes that improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians. Visit

Clean Air Council is a member-supported, non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting everyone's right to a healthy environment. The Council has offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Wilmington, and works through public education, community advocacy, and government oversight to ensure enforcement of environmental laws. For more information, please visit

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit

Environmental Defense Fund ( creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action.