Will Seek Legislative Authorization for Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Governor Baldacci announced today that he will submit to the Legislature a bill that will reduce global warming pollution from power plants by 30%. The bill will authorize Maine to formally join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a 10-state agreement to put mandatory limits on global warming pollution from power plants. RGGI uses a market-based “cap-and-trade” system of “carbon credits” to assure reductions take place, but in the most cost-effective ways possible.
“The Governor reaffirmed his strong leadership on energy and global warming today. He clearly recognizes that the threat of global warming for Maine is real and deserves action,” said Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
“We are very pleased that the Governor is proposing that 100% of the carbon credits will be put up for auction, and that the revenues will be used to protect consumers and increase the environmental benefit of the program.
“If the revenue from a RGGI auction is used to fund energy efficiency investments in our homes and businesses, then we will reduce energy costs and strengthen our economy at the same time. We strongly agree with the Governor that these carbon credits belong to the public. And we believe the greatest public benefit, both environmentally and economically, comes from energy efficiency and reducing energy costs over the long-term.”
Several other states are concurrently adopting RGGI laws and rules. “So far other states are choosing to auction 100% of carbon credits and use the revenue for energy efficiency or other clean energy technology,” said Voorhees.
Representative Ted Koffman, House Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, has introduced a similar bill that places a priority on energy efficiency.
The Governor spoke in Augusta today at a Forum held by the Muskie School of Public Service and the Margaret Chase Smith Center. DEP Commissioner David Littell presented a more detailed look at what the Governor will propose. Other speakers included the United Kingdom Consul-General, John Rankin, who shared how the UK has reduced emissions while growing its economy.