Clean Air Act
Supreme Court Upholds Majority of EPA's GHG Permitting Regulations for New and Modified Stationary Sources
In a late-session decision, the U.S. Supreme Court partially upheld Environmental Protection Agency permitting rules that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large stationary sources of pollution, leaving most of the agency's air pollution reduction program in place.
The Court held 7-2 that EPA is allowed to require limits on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from newly constructed or modified power plants or other large sources under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program for sources that are already subject to the program because they are major emitters of other air pollutants. These types of sources—referred to as “anyway” sources—make up 83 percent of national stationary source GHG emissions.
A separate majority of the Court voted 5-4 to overturn part of EPA’s regulations, holding that the agency may not determine that a stationary source is subject to the PSD program, or the more general Title V permitting program, solely because of a facility’s GHG emissions.
Justice Scalia authored the majority opinion in the June 23 decision, Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA. (No.12-1146 (U.S. 2014)).
The PSD program requires that any “major emitting facility” receive a permit before beginning new construction or undergoing a major modification. As part of the permit, the facility is required to implement the “best available control technology” (BACT) for each pollutant subject to regulation. Title V of the Clean Air Act similarly requires major sources of air pollution to obtain operating permits, although it does not impose any pollution control requirements.
In both the PSD program and the Title V program, the text of the Clean Air Act specifies a numeric threshold for how much of “any air pollutant” a source may emit without being classified as a major source Depending on the source type and the program, the thresholds are 100 or 250 tons per year. If a source exceeds the emission threshold for either the PSD or Title V program, then it qualifies as a major source and becomes subject to the permit requirements of that program. EPA has historically interpreted the threshold definition to apply to any air pollutant “subject to regulation” under the Clean Air Act. GHGs are emitted in much larger quantities than other air pollutants, and therefore a much larger universe of sources would become subject to the PSD and Title V programs under the thresholds if they were applied to GHGs.
In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts v. EPA (549 U.S. 497 (2007)) that the Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate GHGs if the agency determines that such pollution endangers public health and welfare; EPA made this endangerment finding in 2009. In 2010, EPA affirmed its historical interpretation of the PSD program’s applicability, confirming that GHGs would become “subject to regulation,” and therefore subject to PSD or Title V requirements, on the date that EPA’s regulation of GHG emissions from light duty motor vehicles went into effect. (Timing Rule, 75 Fed. Reg. 17,004 (Apr. 2, 2010)). EPA then promulgated the Tailoring Rule to phase in the application of these permitting requirements, beginning with “anyway sources” already subject to the PSD program and including in a subsequent phase other large sources emitting over 100,000 tons of GHGs per year. (75 Fed. Reg. 31,514 (June, 2010)). EPA justified taking a phased approach that did not require regulation of all sources with emissions over 100 to 250 tons per year of GHG emissions by saying that it would be impractical—at least in the near term—to regulate the additional thousands of small sources that could qualify.
These regulations, along with EPA’s endangerment finding and regulation of GHG emissions from passenger cars, were challenged by industry and state parties in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The D.C. Circuit upheld all the challenged regulations in several cases consolidated as Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA. (684 F.3d 102 (D.C. Cir. 2012)). For more information about these cases, see D.C. Circuit Upholds EPA Regulations of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Several challengers petitioned for certiorari on a number of issues, but the Supreme Court granted review only as to whether EPA’s regulation of GHG emissions from motor vehicles triggered applicability of the PSD and Title V programs.
In the Court’s Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA decision, a five-justice majority—Justice Scalia, Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito—held that the agency is neither compelled nor authorized to interpret GHGs as one of the air pollutants that would trigger categorization of a source as a major emitter under the PSD and Title V provisions. The Court found that including GHGs would expand each provision’s coverage from hundreds of larger sources to tens of thousands of smaller sources, which would be unreasonable and contradictory to the intent of the Clean Air Act. This majority also held that the agency overstepped its authority in the Tailoring Rule when its regulations effectively altered the numerical thresholds in the statute.
A separate, seven-justice majority—all but Justices Thomas and Alito—held that it is reasonable for EPA to require “anyway” sources that require PSD permits based on their emission of other pollutants to also comply with BACT emission standards for GHGs. In order to obtain a PSD permit, a source must be subject to the BACT for “each pollutant subject to regulation under the act,” and EPA’s inclusion of GHGs under that broader description is consistent with the plain language of the statute and does not yield the same kind of unworkable results as regulating smaller GHG sources. This was the approach taken by EPA in the first phase of the Tailoring Rule.
State and Power Company Dialogue: Opportunities for Multi-State Collaboration Under EPA's Forthcoming Carbon Pollution Reduction Standards
The Georgetown Climate Center recently hosted a dialogue among senior state, power company, and federal leaders focused on the potential for multi-state collaboration in meeting forthcoming EPA standards that will reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants.
Participants in the dialogue identified opportunities for coordination and collaboration including:
- Using common analysis among states to inform program development
- Developing common approaches to measurement or crediting
- Developing programs that allow averaging or trading across sources and different state programs
- Developing multi-state compliance programs with shared targets and compliance mechanisms
Participants also identified the potential benefits of multi-state coordination and collaboration, including potential cost savings and reliability benefits, and potential challenges, such as increased complexity of some multi-state approaches.
The April 22 meeting was the third discussion among state, power company, and federal leaders hosted by the Center since President Obama unveiled his Climate Action Plan last June at Georgetown University. The standards, which are expected to be released by the EPA in June 2014, are a key component of the President's plan.
Key experts were also invited to join the meeting to help inform the conversation, including representatives of electric grid operators, NGOs that have conducted relevant analyses, and representatives of other organizations facilitating state discussions.
The Center has previously hosted two other dialogues in the series. During the first discussion, on June 27, 2013, state officials and power companies shared success stories and began a conversation with federal officials about how to build on those successes to comply with the forthcoming standards. The second meeting, on October 28, 2013, featured a more in-depth discussion about the possible options for compliance.
Below is a participants list and agenda from the April 22 meeting.
8:30 am: Welcome and Overview
Welcome and overview of the day by Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center; Assistant Dean for Centers & Institutes and Director of Environmental Law Program, Georgetown Law.
9:00 am: Multi-State Collaboration & Coordination – Opportunities and Challenges
Why are states, power companies, and other stakeholders interested in exploring multi-state options? Opening discussion about potential benefits, challenges, and unanswered questions.
10:30 am: How Could Proposed Sec. 111(d) Approaches be Implemented in a Multi-State Context?
How could proposed rate-based, mass-based, carbon price, or hybrid approaches to compliance with Sec. 111(d) be implemented within a multi-state framework? Discussion with participants whose organizations have put forward proposals or models.
Noon: Lunch & Presentations on Relevant Work from Resource Participants
12:45 pm: Key Implementation Considerations for Multi-State Processes
If interested in exploring multi-state collaboration or coordination, what are the steps a state might take? What procedural, institutional, and substantive issues would need to be addressed?
2:30 pm: Featured Discussion with EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe
3:15 pm: What is Needed to Facilitate Multi-State Collaboration & Coordination?
What actions could the federal government and others take to facilitate state efforts to explore multi-state collaboration or coordination?
4:00 pm: Summary and Next Steps
Summarize the themes heard throughout the day, and identify issues around which there may be broad agreement.
4:30 pm: Meeting Adjourns & Participants Invited for Refreshments
States Arkansas: Teresa Marks, Director, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality California: Craig Segall, Senior Staff Attorney, California Air Resources Board Colorado: Martha Rudolph, Director of Environmental Programs, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Delaware: Collin O’Mara, Secretary, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Illinois: Doug Scott, Chair, Illinois Commerce Commission Kentucky: Talina Mathews, Director of Energy Generation, Transmission, and Distribution, Department for Energy Development and Independence, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Maryland: Kathy Kinsey, Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs and Operations, Maryland Department of the Environment Massachusetts: David Cash, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Michigan: Vince Hellwig, Air Quality Division Chief, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Minnesota: David Thornton, Assistant Commissioner, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Missouri: Goldie Tompkins, Chief of Staff and Policy Advisor to Chair Robert Kenney, Missouri Public Service Commission Montana: Tracy Stone-Manning, Director, Montana Department of Environmental Quality New Mexico: Ryan Flynn, Secretary, New Mexico Environment Department New York: Jared Snyder, Assistant Commissioner for Air Resources, Climate Change and Energy, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Oregon: Uri Papish, Interim Air Quality Administrator, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Tennessee: Katie Southworth, Senior Program Manager, Office of Energy Programs and Office of Policy and Planning, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Virginia: David Paylor, Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Washington: Sam Ricketts, Director, Washington, DC Office of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee Power Companies Arizona Public Service Company, Charles Spell, Director of Corporate Environmental and Sustainability DTE Energy: Skiles Boyd, Vice President, Environmental Management and Resources Exelon: Amy Trojecki, Director of Environmental and Fuels Policy Great River Energy: Jon Brekke, Vice President of Membership and Energy Markets National Grid: Cathy Waxman, Environmental Manager, Power Plant Operations NextEra Energy: Ray Butts, Director, Environmental Services PG&E: Melissa Lavinson, Vice President, Federal Affairs PNM Resources: Maureen Gannon, Executive Director, Environmental Services Portland General Electric: Sania “Sunny” Radcliffe, Director of Government Affairs PSEG: Kristen Ludecke, Vice President, Federal Affairs Seattle City Light: Lynn Best, Director, Environmental Affairs and Real Estate TVA: John Myers, Director, Environmental Policy and Performance Xcel Energy: Jack Ihle, Director of Environmental Policy ISOs PJM: Paul Sotkiewicz, Chief Economist, Market Services Division MISO: Kari Evans Bennett, Senior Corporate Counsel Resource Participants Clean Air Task Force: Conrad Schneider, Advocacy Director Center for the New Energy Economy: Jeff Lyng, Senior Policy Advisor Environmental Council of the States: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Executive Director and General Counsel Energy Foundation: Marcus Schneider, Project Director, Climate Environmental Defense Fund: Megan Ceronsky, Attorney, Domestic Climate and Air Great Plains Institute / Litz Energy Strategies: Franz Litz, Program Consultant / Principal M.J. Bradley & Associates LLC: Carrie Jenks, Senior Vice President National Association of Clean Air Agencies: Bill Becker, Executive Director, and Phil Assmus, Senior Staff Associate Natural Resources Defense Council: Derek Murrow, Director, Federal Energy Policy Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions: Jonas Monast, Director, Climate & Energy Program Resources for the Future: Dallas Burtraw, Senior Fellow & Darius Gaskins Chair Federal Representatives Environmental Protection Agency Bob Perciasepe, Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Joseph Goffman, Associate Administrator for Climate and Senior Counsel to the Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Mark Rupp, Deputy Associate Administrator for Intergovernmental Relations Sarah Dunham, Director, Office of Atmospheric Programs Julie Rosenberg, Branch Chief, State and Local Climate and Energy Program, Office of Atmospheric Programs Julia Miller, Policy Analyst, State and Local Climate and Energy Program, Office of Atmospheric Programs Christopher Sherry, Policy Analyst, Climate Policy Branch, Office of Atmospheric Programs Amy Vasu, Environmental Scientist, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Sector Policies and Programs Division Lora Strine, Senior Advisor, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards Ellen Kurlansky, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Review Barry Elman, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Denise Mulholland, Senior Program Manager, State and Local Climate and Energy Program, Office of Atmospheric Programs Nikolaas Dietsch, Policy Analyst, State and Local Climate and Energy Program, Office of Atmospheric Programs Department of Energy Judi Greenwald, Deputy Director for Climate, Environment, and Energy Efficiency, Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis Erin Boyd, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, Office of Climate and Environmental Analysis Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Michael Bardee, Director, Office of Electric Reliability Georgetown Climate Center Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director; Assistant Dean for Centers and Institutes and Director of Environmental Law Program, Georgetown Law Kate Zyla, Deputy Director Gabe Pacyniak, Institute Associate Lissa Lynch, Institute Associate
The Georgetown Climate Center hosted a discussion October 28 among senior state, power company, and federal leaders about the development of carbon pollution standards for existing power plants.
The federal government is currently seeking input on potential paths forward as it develops standards under the Clean Air Act Sec. 111(d). The Obama Administration has indicated it wants to build on the experiences of states and power companies, many of which are already achieving significant carbon pollution reductions. The administration has also indicated it wants to provide states with flexibility in meeting the upcoming standards.
States and power company participants shared their experience and perspectives about key standard design issues throughout the meeting.
The new carbon pollution reduction effort is a key component of President Obama's climate action plan, which was unveiled in June at Georgetown University. The Center hosted a similar discussion among power companies, states, and the federal government following President Obama's initial announcement.
President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency to propose the new standard in the summer of 2014.
Below is the participants list, agenda, and a selection of photos from the meeting.
- Arkansas: Teresa Marks, Director, Department of Environmental Quality
- California: Craig Segall, Staff Attorney, Air Resources Board
- Colorado: Martha Rudolph, Director of Environmental Programs, Department of Public Health and Environment
- Illinois: Doug Scott, Chair, Commerce Commission
- Kentucky: John Lyons, Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy, Energy and Environment Cabinet
- Massachusetts: Nancy Seidman, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Environmental Protection
- Michigan: Mary Maupin, State Implementation Plan Supervisor, Department of Environmental Quality
- Minnesota: Ellen Anderson, Senior Energy & Environment Advisor to Gov. Dayton
- Missouri: Goldie Tompkins, Chief of Staff and Policy Advisor to Chair Robert Kenney, Public Service Commission
- New York: Jared Snyder, Assistant Commissioner for Air Resources, Climate Change and Energy, Department of Environmental Conservation
- Oregon, Jason Eisdorfer, Director, Utility Program, Public Utility Commission, and Uri Papish, Air Quality Program Operations Manager, Department of Environmental Quality
- Arizona Public Service Commission: Charles Spell, Environmental Department Leader
- Calpine: Yvonne McIntyre, Vice President, Federal Government Affairs
- CPS Energy: Angela Rodriguez, Air Quality Manager
- Dominion: Ann Loomis, Senior Advisor for Federal & Environmental Policy, and William Murray, Managing Director Public Policy & Senior Advisor for State and Local Government Affairs.
- Entergy: Jeff Williams, Director, Climate Consulting
- Exelon: Amy Trojecki, Director of Environmental and Fuels Policy
- National Grid: Robert Teetz, Vice President, Environmental Services (retired) and Cathy Waxman, Manager, Air Quality Compliance
- NextEra Energy: Ray Butts, Director, Strategic & Regulatory Planning
- PG&E: Melissa Lavinson, Vice President, Federal Affairs
- Portland General Electric: Dave Robertson, Vice President of Public Policy & Sania Radcliffe, Director of Government Affairs
- PSEG: Kristen Ludecke, Vice President, Federal Affairs
- Seattle City Light: Lynn Best, Director, Environmental Affairs
- Sempra Energy: Scott Crider, Vice President, Federal Government Affairs
- Xcel Energy: Jack Ihle, Director, Environmental Policy
White House and White House Council on Environmental Quality
- Dan Utech, Deputy Director for Energy and Climate Change, White House Domestic Policy Council
- Drew McConville, Senior Advisor to the Chair, White House Council on Environmental Quality
Environmental Protection Agency
- Gina McCarthy, Administrator
- Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation
- Joseph Goffman, Senior Counsel to the Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation
- Mark Rupp, Deputy Associate Administrator for Intergovernmental Relations
- Sarah Dunham, Director, Office of Atmospheric Programs
- Kevin Culligan, Associate Division Director, Sector Policies and Programs Division, Office of Air Quality and Planning and Standards
- Alex Barron, Senior Advisor, Office of Policy
- Julie Rosenberg, Branch Chief, State and Local Climate & Energy Programs
- Jim Ketcham-Colwill, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Review
- Christopher Sherry, Policy Analyst, Climate Change Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs
- Brian Fisher, Policy Analyst, Clean Air Markets Division
- Julia Miller, Policy Analyst, State Climate and Energy Program
- Andrea Barbery, Detailee, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations
Department of Energy
- Judi Greenwald, Deputy Director for Climate, Environment and Efficiency, Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis
- John Larsen, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Climate and Environmental Analysis
- Erin Boyd, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow
- Aaron Bergman, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy and International Affairs
Georgetown Climate Center
- Vicki Arroyo, Georgetown Climate Center Executive Director, and Assistant Dean and Environmental Program Director at Georgetown Law
- Prof. Peter Byrne, Faculty Director and Associate Dean at Georgetown Law
- Kate Zyla, Deputy Director
- Gabe Pacyniak, Institute Associate
- Lissa Lynch, Institute Associate
9:00: Breakfast Available
9:30: Welcome and Overview
- Welcome: Peter Byrne, Associate Dean, J.D. Program, Georgetown Law, Faculty Director, Georgetown Climate Center
- Overview of the Day: Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center, Asst. Dean, Centers & Institutes and Environmental Law Program Director, Georgetown Law
9:45 Context: President Obama’s Climate Action Plan
- President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan: Dan Utech, Deputy Director for Energy and Climate Change, White House Domestic Policy Council
10:00: Discussion: How are states projecting and measuring emission reductions from specific strategies?
- Moderator: Kate Zyla, Deputy Director, Georgetown Climate Center
Examples to begin discussion:
- Kentucky’s Changes in Fossil Generation: John Lyons, Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy, Energy and Environment Cabinet
- Colorado’s Increased Renewable Generation: Martha Rudolph, Director of Environmental Programs, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
- ISO New England’s Reductions from Energy Efficiency: Nancy Seidman, Assistant Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs
11:00: Coffee Break
11:15: Discussion: How can EPA articulate the emission guideline in a way that facilitates emission reductions that states are pursuing?
- Moderator: Gabe Pacyniak, Institute Associate, Georgetown Climate Center, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law
- Does either a rate-based approach or an emission budget approach make it easier to build on state programs and power company actions?
- What other aspects of standard setting would help facilitate building on these state and firm actions?
12:45: Featured Discussion with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
- Moderator: Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center
1:30: Discussion: What compliance pathways are available for states?
- Moderator: Gabe Pacyniak, Institute Associate, Georgetown Climate Center
Examples to begin discussion:
- A rate-based compliance pathway: Ray Butts, Director, Strategic & Regulatory Planning
- RGGI as a compliance pathway: Jared Snyder, Assistant Commissioner for Air Resources, Climate Change and Energy, New York Department of Environmental Conservation
- A “state portfolio” approach: Craig Segall, Staff Attorney, California Air Resources Board
- A “utility portfolio” approach: Jack Ihle, Director, Environmental Policy, Xcel Energy
3:15: Coffee Break
3:30: Discussion: How can EPA and others facilitate state plan development and interstate coordination?
- Moderator: Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center
Examples to begin discussion:
- Support for developing state plans: Ellen Anderson, Senior Energy & Environment Advisor to Gov. Dayton
- Support for developing state plans: Jason Eisdorfer, Director, Utility Program, Oregon Public Utility Commission
- Potential interstate issues in the Northwest: Lynn Best, Director, Environmental Affairs, Seattle City Light
- Potential interstate issues in the PJM Region: Kristen Ludecke, Vice President, Federal Affairs, PSEG
- Regional discussions in the Midwest: Doug Scott, Chair, Illinois Commerce Commission
4:15: Concluding Remarks
- Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center
4:30: Meeting Adjourns & Reception
On Nov. 21, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will not meet a December 15, 2011, deadline to issue new regulations under the Clean Air Act limiting greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries. The deadline was imposed as part of a settlement agreement with several states and environmental groups in December 2010. The agency says it needs more time to prepare new source performance standards and is in negotiations to set a new deadline.
This announcement comes after a recent EPA decision to delay the release of its greenhouse gas performance standards for power plants, previously scheduled for September 30 (after a postponement of the original July 26 deadline earlier in the year).
On December 30, 2011, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay against implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). The CSAPR sets emissions budgets for 28 states whose emissions of SO2, NOx, and/or ozone currently represent a significant impediment to another state’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) attainment in an average year. The rule was finalized by EPA on August 8, 2011, with technical revisions proposed on October 6, 2011, and was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2012.
The case in which the stay was issued, EME Homer City Generation LP v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 11-1302, is one of more than three dozen lawsuits challenging the CSAPR. Oral argument has not been scheduled, but the order indicates that the parties should prepare briefs for an April hearing. The stay order does not address the underlying merits of the case, only the issue of irreparable harm. Although the court did not spell out its reasoning, the plaintiffs had argued that the EPA’s six-month compliance timeline imposes a substantial and imminent injury.
The CSAPR replaces the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which was struck down in North Carolina v. EPA on the grounds that CAIR’s region-wide cap-and-trade structure did not address the effects of emissions from each particular state on downwind states. (531 F.3d 896 (D.C. Cir. 2008)). CSAPR seeks to address the defect in CAIR by placing strict limits on interstate trading of emissions allowances, along with other safeguards to ensure that upwind state emissions of SO2, NOx, and ozone do not significantly contribute to nonattainment of the NAAQS in a downwind state.
Under the August 8 CSAPR, Tradable emissions allowances are initially allocated under Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) to existing units in proportion to their historical heat input values, with a small portion set aside for new units. States can replace these FIP allocations with State Implementation Plans (SIPs) beginning in 2013.
EPA estimates that the CSAPR will reduce emissions of CO2 from electric generating units (EGUs) by about 25 million metric tons (about 1.1% of total domestic electricity sector emissions) annually once fully implemented in 2014, mostly via accelerating retirement of inefficient EGUs.
States and Provinces Form North America 2050 Initiative to Coordinate on Climate Change and Clean Energy
A broad group of U.S. states and Canadian provinces have formed the North America 2050 Initiative (NA 2050) to facilitate efforts to design, promote and implement cost-effective policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create economic opportunities.
According to an article in BNA Daily Environment Report:
The forum grew out of an effort that began in 2009 when representatives of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the East, the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), and the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord (Midwest Accord) teamed up to share information, Doug Scott, former director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and representative to the Midwest Accord, told BNA Nov. 23. … “There are a lot of reasons for states to work together on climate and energy policies,’’ Scott said. “The ability to promote energy efficiency and create jobs’’ is something all states can get behind. (North America 2050 Initiative Created For State Collaboration on Climate, Energy, BNA Daily Environment Report, Nov. 28, 2011) (subscription required).
All of the states that previously participated in regional organizations (the Western Climate Initiative, the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) that addressed climate change and energy issues are expected to continue working together through NA 2050. The initiative is open to all U.S. states, Canadian provinces, and Mexican states committed to policies that move their jurisdictions toward a low-carbon economy while creating jobs, enhancing energy independence and security, protecting public health and the environment, and demonstrating climate leadership. The Georgetown Climate Center is one of multiple organizations staffing this effort.
The goals of the initiative are to:
- Coordinate efforts to design, promote and implement effective and cost-effective policies;
- Advocate for the most appropriate roles for federal, state, and provincial governments;
- Achieve meaningful emission reductions; and
- Demonstrate the economic and job creation benefits of policies.
The initiative envisions the creation of seven work groups:
- Benefits Working Group: Evaluating the benefits of policies and programs for moving to a low-carbon economy
- Power Sector 2050 Working Group: Understanding, influencing and preparing for section 111 Clean Air Act requirements for electricity generation
- Industry 2050 Working Group: Developing benchmarking approaches to encourage industrial energy efficiency, beginning by understanding, influencing and preparing for section 111 Clean Air Act requirements for refineries
- Sequestration Working Group: Exploring regulatory, technical and policy issues surrounding carbon capture and sequestration
- Sustainable Biomass Working Group: Understanding and supporting the use of sustainably harvested biomass fuels which have the potential to displace high carbon fuels used by stationary and industrial sources
- Offsets Working Group: Participate in the development and implementation of high quality offsets that may be used in emissions trading programs or for other purposes
- Linking Working Group: Work on issues related to administrative and policy linking of emissions trading programs as needed in the future