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.