The U.S. may allow states to regulate emissions from existing coal-fired power plants using carbon markets, according to the president of the International Emissions Trading Association.
The nation’s Environmental Protection Agency is set to let states including New York and California regulate emissions in their own way rather than via a federal power station emission standard, assuming President Barack Obama wins a second term in office, said IETA president Dirk Forrister, a former climate adviser to U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Federal cap-and-trade legislation stalled in the U.S. Senate after narrowly passing the House of Representatives in 2009. Still, California’s trading program is planned for next year and Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont formed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in 2008.
“A state could propose a cap-and-trade as an alternative,” Geneva-based Forrister said July 9 in an interview in London. Power utilities didn’t want a patchwork of 50 carbon-reduction programs, “but that may be happening.”
In announcing the first rules for carbon dioxide from future power stations in March, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson dropped a pledge to issue rules for existing plants, saying the agency had “no plans” to develop those regulations.
As part of a legal settlement with environmental groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, and states such as Massachusetts and Connecticut, the EPA agreed in December 2010 to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from electricity plants. The EPA missed a September deadline to issue those rules.