Maryland, northeast states accelerate carbon pollution reduction

Maryland and eight other states have finalized an agreement to enact new air pollution limits aimed at reducing global climate change.

The states are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an effort to cap carbon dioxide pollution in the Northeast.

The states on Tuesday finalized a rule that will put into place a reduction in the carbon pollution cap by 30 percent between 2020 and 2030.

The states had announced their intention to reduce the cap in August.

In addition t Maryland, other states in the initiative are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The states now have to take state-specific steps, such as adopting regulations, to carry out the changes in their states.

Through the program, states auction off greenhouse gas emission allowances and use the money to pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Power plants that use fossil fuels such as coal that generate at least 25 megawatts of power are required to purchase the allowances.

The carbon emissions cap has been decreasing by 2.5 percent each year, a trajectory that was scheduled to continue until 2020. The new action sets the reductions for the decade after that.

Maryland environmentalists praised Gov. Larry Hogan and his secretary of environment, Ben Grumbles, for supporting the new reductions and continuing the state’s participation in RGGI.

“This multi-state collaboration proves that we can work together across party lines to cut pollution, clean our air and protect our climate,” said Andrea McGimsey from the advocacy group Environment Maryland.

pwood@baltsun.com

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