Augusta, Maine – In a letter to their respective Governors, groups across the Northeast called for strong action to be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions being generated by the region’s power plants. Public health, faith, labor and action groups joined environmental organizations in signing onto a set of principles that support a 25% reduction in power plant carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.
“Global warming is a serious problem that calls for action now,” said Sue Jones, Energy Project Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “The principles we have proposed for a flexible “cap-and-trade” program will help Maine and other northeast states do our part to reduce global warming pollution from power plants.”
Northeast states, including all of New England, New York, New Jersey and Delaware, are working to create a precedent setting cap-and-trade program — called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — to address carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The goal is to create a system that will significantly reduce emissions and be flexible enough to also serve as a model for other states seeking to do the same. A draft rule, detailing the make up of the program was set to be released next month but it appears that will not happen until some time later this summer.
The seven principles released today represent an ideal RGGI program that relies on a mandatory cap for carbon dioxide emissions from power plants as the primary way to reduce emissions, does not rely on nuclear power as an emission-reduction strategy and utilizes allocations of pollution credits to power generators.
“We feel that each one of these principles must be incorporated into any RGGI program if it is going to be successful,” stated Mathew Davis from Environment Maine. “These principles were put together so the Governors would clearly understand the expectations that the environmental and other groups have for what comes out of this process.”
Maine groups who support these principles include the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Lung Association, Environment Maine, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Conservation Law Foundation, Toxics Action Center, National Environmental Trust, Environmental Justice Program, Maine Council of Churches, Maine Public Health Association, and the Chewonki Foundation.