November 14, 2019

Senator Hassan, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support and Expand Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs

Bipartisan Legislation is Cosponsored by Senators From Six States Currently Participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) today led a number of her colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation to support and expand programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a collaborative effort across the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont to use market-based tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

 

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2019 would establish an office at the Environmental Protection Agency to support the establishment of new regional greenhouse gas reduction programs and expand existing programs. This bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Angus King (I-ME), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) all of whom represent states currently participating in RGGI, as well as Bob Casey (D-PA), whose state has taken steps recently to join the initiative.

 

“As a state senator in New Hampshire, I successfully pushed for our state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and continued working as Governor to strengthen this critical program. The initiative has been successful in helping to reduce harmful emissions and energy costs, create jobs, and encourage innovation in New Hampshire’s renewable energy economy,” said Senator Hassan. “This bipartisan legislation would support states like New Hampshire that have already created these sorts of emission-reducing programs, while also encouraging other states and local governments to develop their own regional greenhouse gas initiatives. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this commonsense legislation that will help America build a cleaner energy future.”

 

“Federal agencies should follow Connecticut’s lead – taking urgent action to combat emissions threatening our planet’s survival,” said Senator Blumenthal. “Connecticut was a founder of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – a model that has proven successful in addressing climate change goals. States cannot succeed alone. The federal government must be a more effective, aggressive partner in this effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

 

“In Pennsylvania, and across the country, we are seeing the very real effects of climate change on the economy, agriculture and the health of our communities,” said Senator Casey. “The Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act would help address the climate crisis by providing support and coordination for regional efforts to reduce emissions. I applaud and support Pennsylvania’s actions towards joining RGGI, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to fight climate change.”

 

“In Delaware, we have seen firsthand the tremendous economic and public health benefits that come with participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative,” said Senator Carper, top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee. “This bill will help states expand upon the Northeast Region’s success, providing all states with the financial resources and technical assistance needed to carry out regional greenhouse gas reduction programs. This legislation will result in cleaner air, a safer climate and more American jobs. I’m proud to partner with Senator Hassan on this important measure.”

 

“Delaware is America’s lowest lying state, which puts us on the front lines of the fight against climate change,” said Senator Coons. “Delaware and several other states in our region have shown real leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and we’ve proven that this effort isn’t just good for our environment – it can help our economy, too.  I’m proud to be part of this bipartisan effort to ensure that the federal government is working with state governments already leading the way by using market-based tools to reduce emissions and protect our environment.”

 

“There is no doubt that climate change poses a significant threat to our economy and our natural resources, including Maine’s forestry, fishing, agricultural, tourism, and recreation industries,” said Senator Collins. “This significant challenge requires cooperation at all levels of government and across geographical boundaries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  This bipartisan bill would add to the work already being done through the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative by creating an office within the EPA to strengthen and support new regional greenhouse gas reduction programs.”

 

“Communities across the country have already experienced the damage that extreme weather has had on our land, our water, and our infrastructure,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “We need innovative solutions to protect us from this climate crisis, and that’s why I support the Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act. This bipartisan bill would help support and expand programs that cut greenhouse gas emissions and develop the next generation of technologies to fight climate change. I urge my colleagues to support this critically needed legislation.”

 

“Climate change is a global challenge, but that doesn’t mean that the solutions are the same wherever you live,” said Senator King. “Maine’s power needs are different than New Mexico’s, so it’s only makes sense that we would use varied, customized approaches to achieve the same goal. That’s where regional-specific programs come in: by working with neighboring states that share energy opportunities and challenges, we can improve collaboration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These programs have already made a major impact in New England; let’s give them added support so they can do more good work in the fight against climate change.”

 

“Environmental stewardship is a core Vermont value, and our region has a long tradition of pragmatic solutions to big challenges,” said Senator Leahy. “The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has been a tremendous success.  This bill would help export that success and encourage more states and regions to adopt our model of carbon reduction.  Most importantly, RGGI has proven that climate action can be an economic driver, while the cost of inaction is simply unconscionable.”

 

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the bipartisan Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, so states like Connecticut can continue to find innovative ways to cap and reduce greenhouse emissions,” said Senator Murphy. “This legislation helps the federal government and states combat the impending climate crisis and leave our planet in a better place for future generations.”

 

“States in the Northeastern region of the country, including New Hampshire, are already seeing devastating impacts from climate change, underscoring the urgent need to take action before it’s too late. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is an important tool we have been using since 2009 to make progress to that end,” said Senator Shaheen. “By establishing an Office of Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs within the Environmental Protection Agency, this legislation will provide technical assistance and guidance for states in other regions to replicate the success of RGGI and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I’ll keep working across the aisle in support of efforts addressing the direct threats posed by climate change.”

  

The bipartisan Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act would establish, within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an Office of Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs. This office would provide analysis and technical assistance to help establish new regional greenhouse gas reduction programs, expand existing programs such as RGGI and the Western Climate Initiative, and support states that are already members of such programs. The bill would also provide grants for state and local governments to take preliminary steps toward developing or participating in a regional greenhouse gas reduction program.

 

To read the one-pager on the bipartisan Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, click here.

 

Throughout her time in public service, Senator Hassan has worked to build a stronger, more affordable clean energy future. As state senator, Senator Hassan sponsored legislation to allow New Hampshire to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and she continued building on those efforts as Governor. Then-Governor Hassan also successfully pushed to raise the net metering cap to help New Hampshire’s clean energy industry. Senator Hassan recently joined Senator Collins to introduce the bipartisan Battery Storage Innovation Act to expand access to innovative clean energy storage technology.  

 

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