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May 2012 Archives

May 14, 2012

Report Finds that RGGI Has Generated Significant Economic Benefits in Participating States

On April 30, 2012, Environmental Northeast released a report finding that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has generated significant economic benefits in participating states, and those states could benefit even more under an improved program.

According to the report, proceeds from RGGI allowance auctions are reinvested in energy-efficiency programs, which generate direct employment. In addition, savings on electricity at the household and wholesale levels free up money that can be spent in local economies rather than on imported power. The report finds that through April 2012, the auctions of allowances have generated just over $1 billion in revenue. This puts the program on track to add over $1.7 billion in net value to state economies. The report also projects that this increase in growth will generate over 17,100 job-years of employment across the states' economies.

The report indicates that if the member states take action to amend the program to account for decreased emissions by resetting the cap at current emissions levels, and use revenue to support clean energy and consumer programs, RGGI could generate an additional $4.7 billion from 2012 to 2020 to invest in programs that could add $11.6 billion in value to state economies and over 82,000 job-years.

May 22, 2012

University Study Concludes that New York's Regulatory Framework for Hydraulic Fracturing Would Avoid Mistakes Made in Pennsylvania

On May 15, 2012, researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo released a report concluding that New York's proposed regulatory framework would mitigate or avoid the major problems that have occurred in Pennsylvania.

The report, which examined a 44-month period between 2008 and 2011, found that 62 percent of the notices of violations issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to natural gas drillers were for administrative violations or involved pollution prevention. Thirty-eight percent of the notices (representing 845 incidents) were issued for environmental violations. Of these incidents, 25 were classified as major and 820 as minor.

The report, after examining the 25 major incidents in Pennsylvania, concluded that, under New York's proposed regulations, the underlying causes associated with these specific events could have been either entirely avoided or mitigated.

The report, which was peer-reviewed by five experts, examined 2,988 violations from 4,000 natural gas wells in Pennsylvania. It found that the percentage of violations in relation to the number of wells drilled declined from 53 percent in 2008 to 21 percent in 2011. It attributed the decline to improved safety by the industry and greater oversight by Pennsylvania regulators.

The report was criticized by a coalition of environmental groups called the New York Water Rangers, which called it industry propaganda.

May 24, 2012

RGGI Releases Series of Possible Changes to Its Cap-and-Trade Program

On May 21, 2012, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) released a series of possible changes to its cap-and-trade program, including changes in its offset requirements, auction design, and the control period for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

RGGI, undertaking a comprehensive review of the program, included the proposals in a report requesting that stakeholders comment on the potential changes. The program is considering a number of possible changes to the current provisions that allow electric generators to offset their emissions with projects like forestation and end-use energy efficiency. Under current provisions, the program has received no applications for offset projects.

Among the potential changes under consideration are expanding the categories of projects eligible for offsets, simplifying the offsets process, increasing the amount of carbon dioxide allowances that can be offset, and expanding the permissible geographic locations for projects.

Other potential changes proposed in the report include creation of a reserve of allowances to provide the program with greater flexibility, replacement of the current three-year control period with a one-year control period; and use of a new mechanism for setting the minimum reserve price for CO2 allowances.

About May 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Envirosphere in May 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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