States to EPA: Keep Cap-and-Trade Alive

LONG BEACH, CA - OCTOBER 1: The AES Corporation 495-megawatt Alamitos natural gas-fired power station stands on October 1, 2009 in Long Beach, California. The Obama administration has announced that rather than wait for Congress to act, it has authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward on enacting new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions emitted from hundreds of power plants and large industrial facilities. The move could both force lawmakers to try to reach an agreement on regulating greenhouse gases and bolster US credibility as negotiators prepare for United Nations talks in Copenhagen to produce an international agreement to combat manmade climate change in December. The proposed regulations would take effect as early as 2011.
National Journal
Ben Geman
See more stories about...
Ben Geman
Dec. 2, 2013, 12:57 p.m.

Cap-and-trade le­gis­la­tion is long dead in Con­gress, but North­east­ern states are press­ing the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency to keep the concept alive else­where.

The Re­gion­al Green­house Gas Ini­ti­at­ive — nine states that have a re­gion­al power-plant emis­sions cap — want EPA to let them use the sys­tem to meet fed­er­al car­bon-emis­sions rules for ex­ist­ing plants.

And the rules that EPA will float in draft form next June should let oth­er states take the same road, RGGI ar­gues in a new let­ter to the agency.

“Our ex­per­i­ence with RGGI demon­strates that re­gion­al co­oper­a­tion can achieve the most cost-ef­fect­ive emis­sion re­duc­tions, en­able a trans­ition to a lower-emit­ting and more-ef­fi­cient power sec­tor, and cre­ate eco­nom­ic be­ne­fits and jobs across the United States,” its Monday let­ter to EPA says. “We urge EPA to re­cog­nize these mul­tiple be­ne­fits of RGGI, al­low our states to use RGGI as a com­pli­ance mech­an­ism, and en­cour­age oth­er states to fol­low suit by par­ti­cip­at­ing in RGGI or oth­er re­gion­al pro­grams.”

The state in the RGGI, such as New York and Mary­land, have already cut their joint elec­tri­city-sec­tor emis­sions by more than 40 per­cent since 2005, ac­cord­ing to the let­ter, which cred­its the cap-and-trade sys­tem and oth­er green-en­ergy pro­grams.

Cap-and-trade will en­sure the re­gion­al power sec­tor emis­sions are 50 per­cent be­low 2005 levels in 2020, adds RGGI, which was es­tab­lished in 2005. Its pol­lu­tion cap took ef­fect about five years ago.

In ad­di­tion to the RGGI states, Cali­for­nia has im­ple­men­ted its own cap-and-trade pro­gram for green­house-gas emis­sions from a wider ar­ray of in­dus­tri­al sources.

The RGGI let­ter is one of sev­er­al re­cent ef­forts to en­cour­age EPA to give states lots of run­ning room when craft­ing rules for ex­ist­ing plants — per­haps the most far-reach­ing piece of Pres­id­ent Obama’s second-term cli­mate plan.

Un­der the Clean Air Act sec­tion EPA is us­ing, called 111(d), fed­er­al reg­u­lat­ors set en­force­able guidelines and states craft plans to meet them.

In Novem­ber, a group of state power reg­u­lat­ors — called the Na­tion­al As­so­ci­ation of Reg­u­lat­ory Util­ity Com­mis­sion­ers — passed a res­ol­u­tion call­ing for “suf­fi­ciently flex­ible com­pli­ance path­ways or mech­an­isms that re­cog­nize state and re­gion­al vari­ations to achieve the most cost-ef­fect­ive emis­sions re­duc­tions in each state.”

And Ad­ele Mor­ris, a Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion eco­nom­ist and cli­mate ex­pert, is press­ing EPA to give states the op­tion of meet­ing the stand­ards with an ex­cise tax on car­bon emis­sions from power plants.

The early po­s­i­tion­ing re­flects the reach of the up­com­ing EPA rules. Power plants—es­pe­cially coal-fired power plants—are the largest single un­reg­u­lated source of U.S. car­bon emis­sions.

EPA Ad­min­is­trat­or Gina Mc­Carthy, speak­ing at the lib­er­al Cen­ter for Amer­ic­an Pro­gress Monday, said EPA would give states “sig­ni­fic­ant flex­ib­il­ity” un­der the rules.

As EPA gets closer to is­su­ing draft rules, look for more ef­forts by states to win plenty of lee­way from the reg­u­lat­ors.

And RGGI, for its part, is us­ing its new let­ter to EPA as more than just a sales pitch for cap-and-trade.

The north­east­ern states also want cred­it for what they’ve already done.

“EPA should avoid any ap­proach that im­poses in­equit­able or dis­pro­por­tion­ate bur­dens on early mover states and fails to re­cog­nize their sub­stan­tial pro­gress,” the let­ter said.

Clare Foran contributed contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Reagan Families, Allies Lash Out at Will Ferrell
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."

Source:
PEAK CONFIDENCE
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Source:
CITIZENS UNITED PT. 2?
Movie Based on ‘Clinton Cash’ to Debut at Cannes
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."

Source:
×