Connecticut Poised To Strengthen Cap on Carbon Pollution

Proposed revisions to regional program will slash pollution from power plants that causes global warming

Environment Connecticut

New Britain, CT – The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection held a public hearing today on proposed amendments to the state’s regulations implementing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) which caps carbon pollution from power plants. Environment Connecticut testified in support of the proposal and called for strengthening the carbon cap to ensure it requires pollution reductions from power plants of 2.5% per year.
“This is what leadership on climate change looks like,” said Environment Connecticut Campaign Director Chris Phelps. “We applaud the Malloy administration for joining with other Northeastern states in moving forward with these improvements to the RGGI program to slash carbon pollution from power plants. This step will slash carbon pollution and help reduce our economic dependence on fossil fuels.”

Connecticut is one of 10 states that were part of the original Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a pioneering agreement limiting carbon pollution from power plants. In February, Connecticut and 8 other states announced a new agreement to make deeper cuts in power plant carbon emissions that would lead to a 20 percent reduction over the next decade. Today’s hearing was on Connecticut’s proposed regulations implementing that agreement.

“Hurricane Sandy, and the extreme storms of the past few years have increased our recognition of the potentially devastating impacts of global warming and climate change,” said Phelps. “This proposed action by Connecticut and its neighbors is a big step towards showing other states and the federal government the way to cut carbon pollution and protect our economy from the consequences of climate change.”

Independent analysis of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative’s effect on the economy of participating states has found the program helped boost economic output in those states by $1.6 billion and create 16,000 jobs in its first two and a half years of operation.

In 2012, over 300 environmental and public health organizations, consumer advocates, and businesses urged the governors of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative states to strengthen the program in order to lock-in it’s pollution cuts and economic benefits.

“The record is clear. RGGI cuts carbon pollution and strengthens our economy,” concluded Phelps. “Connecticut should move quickly to finalize the proposal to strengthen the program and continue its leadership in the fight to stop climate change.”