Bloomberg BNA: Northeast States Tap the Gas Pump for Carbon Emissions Cuts

December 21, 2017

Bloomberg BNA reports that motor fuel could be the next target for controlling greenhouse gas emissions in the Northeast, as seven states that have already clamped down on power plants train their sights on the transportation sector. The states are considering a new cap-and-trade program modeled after the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which has capped carbon emissions in the power sector since 2008.

The vehicle fuels program would have a significant environmental and economic impact throughout the region. The transportation sector amounted to 43 percent of total carbon emissions for the seven states and the District of Columbia in 2014, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration analyzed by Bloomberg Environment. Supporters of the program, which is still in its early stages, hope that a memorandum of understanding could be signed by the end of 2018, with state-by-state legislative and regulatory actions in 2019.

The Georgetown Climate Center, which is helping along the effort under its Transportation and Climate Initiative, will be holding several “listening sessions” throughout the region next year. The states have been laying the groundwork for a regional transportation initiative for years.

The effort got a significant boost in November when seven states—Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont—and the District of Columbia announced that they would formally pursue a regional effort.

“While the federal government continues to shrug off its responsibility to address the threat of our changing climate, we are accelerating progress toward a cleaner and more resilient transportation system,” Basil Seggos, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, said in a statement.

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