Collins, King Back Bill to Support and Expand Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs

Bipartisan legislation also cosponsored by senators from six east coast states currently participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today joined a number of their colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation to support and expand programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a collaborative effort across the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont to use market-based tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. Specifically, the legislation would establish an Office of Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support the establishment of new regional greenhouse gas reduction programs and expand existing programs.

 

“There is no doubt that climate change poses a significant threat to our economy and our natural resources, including Maine’s forestry, fishing, agricultural, tourism, and recreation industries,” said Senator Collins. “This significant challenge requires cooperation at all levels of government and across geographical boundaries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  This bipartisan bill would add to the work already being done through the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative by creating an office within the EPA to strengthen and support new regional greenhouse gas reduction programs.”

 

“Climate change is a global challenge, but that doesn’t mean that the solutions are the same wherever you live,” said Senator King. “Maine’s power needs are different than New Mexico’s, so it’s only makes sense that we would use varied, customized approaches to achieve the same goal. That’s where regional-specific programs come in: by working with neighboring states that share energy opportunities and challenges, we can improve collaboration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These programs have already made a major impact in New England; let’s give them added support so they can do more good work in the fight against climate change.”

 

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2019 would establish an office at the EPA to support the establishment of new regional greenhouse gas reduction programs and expand existing programs. This office would provide analysis and technical assistance to help establish new regional greenhouse gas reduction programs, expand existing programs such as RGGI and the Western Climate Initiative, and support states that are already members of such programs. The bill would also provide grants for state and local governments to take preliminary steps toward developing or participating in a regional greenhouse gas reduction program.

 

This bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.), all of whom represent states currently participating in RGGI, as well as Bob Casey (D-Penn.), whose state has taken steps recently to join the initiative.