Where’s NY’s Greenhouse Gas Initiative?


Where’s RGGI?

By now you probably know that folks familiar with the regional climate pact have affectionately nicknamed the plan RGGI, short for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The RGGI is the 10-state plan to cut emissions from power plants. Originally conceived in 2003 as a state-level answer to a lack of federal action to address the threats of climate change, RGGI was unveiled by the governors of seven Northeastern states back in 2005. The plan is designed to cap climate-altering Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants (and ideally generate new investment in clean energy and energy efficiency with proceeds from emissions auctions).

While states are now formalizing their rules to guide RGGI implementation and CO2 auctions, New York is lagging behind. Although the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) floated a proposed informal draft rule for public comment last December, the agency has yet to release its formal rule. And the clock is ticking. The regional climate pact is set to go into effect in less than 16 months.

So what’s the hold up?

Most likely, the reason is that the state’s environmental agency wants a rule that will work and not be subject to more scrutiny than absolutely necessary from those whose interests (namely, the power producers) are counter to RGGI aims. And no question, Environmental Advocates of New York would prefer a rule that works.

Worst case is that the DEC is starting to cave from pressure from power producers, and is considering weakening their proposal in ways we may not like.

We’ll keep an eye on the clock and keep you posted on RGGI’s progress.

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