EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Latest News

February 8, 2013

Mass., NH among states to cut greenhouse gasses

BOSTON (AP) — Nine northeastern and mid-Atlantic states agreed Thursday to strengthen existing limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants that burn fossil fuels.

The new rules announced by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative would lower the cap on carbon dioxide emissions from the current 165 million tons to 91 million tons in 2014 — a 45 percent reduction from 2005 levels. The cap would be lowered an additional 2.5 percent per year from 2015-2020.

The RGGI cap-and-trade program is the nation’s first market-based regulatory program for greenhouse gases. It requires power plants that generate more than 25 megawatts to purchase an allowance for each ton of carbon they emit. The allowances can be bought and sold among plants, giving companies a financial incentive to operate more cleanly.

The proposed changes — which each state must ratify either with new regulations or legislation — aim to bring the cap more in line with current emission levels that have declined substantially since 2005, in part because many plants have switched from coal to natural gas.

Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont participate in the initiative. They use revenue generated by auctions of the permits to fund so-called green energy programs.

In Maryland, for example, proceeds are used for programs including energy efficiency, low-income energy aid and renewable energy. State officials said the program is a cornerstone of a plan to cut greenhouse gases by a quarter by 2020.

RGGI predicted the changes would generate $2.2 billion in new revenue for the states through 2020.

While intended to serve as a national model, the regional initiative has largely failed to take hold in most of the rest of country. Efforts to implement cap-and-trade proposals on the federal level have also not been successful.

Opponents of the programs have said they hurt the economy when power plants pass the cost of buying emissions on to customers. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped out of the program in 2011, saying the agreement had failed to cut pollution and was a burden to taxpayers.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News

AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Photos of the Week