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Pennsylvania Legislature

Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives debate in 2015 at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.

HARRISBURG — A 20-member state environmental rule-making board approved the next step for a petition seeking to fight climate change by imposing a cap-and-trade program to make Pennsylvania carbon neutral by 2052.

The board's vote Tuesday had support from Gov. Tom Wolf. Wolf, however, isn't taking a position on the petition itself.

The vote allows the Department of Environmental Protection to study the proposal and decide whether to recommend it for a rule-making process, which requires more approvals.

The Clean Air Council, which submitted the petition, calls it a landmark step. The petition seeks to require polluters to buy permits for each ton of carbon they release.

Sen. John Yudichak voted for it, but says the Legislature should be the body making environmental policy of such breadth.

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