Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
By Dean Scott
Climate action advocates who are looking to individual states for some good news given the Trump administration’s rollbacks of climate efforts scored a victory May 16 with the Virginia governor’s move to set carbon pollution limits for the power sector.
The executive order signed by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) directs the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to “abate, control, or limit carbon dioxide emissions” from coal-fired power plants and other electric power facilities. The limits aren’t expected to be in place at least until 2018: McAuliffe wants them drafted by Dec. 31, after which they’d be forwarded to the State Air Pollution Control Board for formal proposal and public comment.
Executive Directive 11 specifies that the rules be drafted as “trading ready”—meaning they should open the door for Virginia to join a nine-state pact that uses a cap-and-trade approach to cut power sector emissions. That Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative was launched in 2005 and relies on emissions trading—akin to the European Union’s approach, as well as some U.S. states including California—in which emitters must purchase allowances or permits for each ton of greenhouse gas they emit.
Virginia would be the 10th state to join the RGGI roster, which includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. New Jersey also was in the regional compact until 2011, when Gov. Chris Christie (R) withdrew from RGGI. But Christie is term-limited and will leave office in January 2018, opening the door to a successor to consider re-joining the effort.
Some states have become increasingly vocal on the need to take further climate action since Trump’s election. Governors from six states—California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Washington—in March vowed to push for continued state progress on curbing emissions in the wake of Trump’s actions to rescind U.S. power plant carbon pollution limits. “As Washington, D.C. delays, the work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our cities and states continues,” they wrote in a March 28 statement.
“We will not waiver. And we will continue to enlist like-minded cities, states, regions and countries around the world to join this fight,” they wrote.
Other voices pressing for state and other local actions in the face of the Trump administration’s retreat on climate policies include mayors from dozens of cities including Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, New York, Boston, Chicago and Houston. They vowed March 28 to take “every action possible” to support the 2015 Paris climate pact—which Trump vowed during the campaign to “cancel”—and to “engage states, businesses and other sectors to join us” in taking climate action.
McAuliffe skirted any mention of the northeastern state’s regional compact in his statement announcing the action Virginia is taking. But he took aim at the Trump administration’s move to rescind myriad Obama administration climate policies, including the power plant limits.
“As the federal government abdicates its role on this important issue, it is critical for states to fill the void,” the Virginia governor said.
The move was hailed as a hopeful sign of state-by-state action on climate change by environmental groups, including the League of Conservation Voters, and public health groups such as the American Lung Association. But it also was lauded by some companies, including Mars, which is based in McLean, Va.
“At Mars, we believe climate change is real, and business and government need to work together to address it,” according to Kevin Rabinovitch, the company’s global director of sustainability. The governor’s move “is timely and critical to achieve a clean and efficient energy transition,” Rabinovitch said in a press statement.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dean Scott in Washington at DScott@bna.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Connolly at PConnolly@bna.com
The executive order is at http://src.bna.com/oWz.
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)