Will develop a Low Carbon Fuel Standard to be implemented region-wide
January 08, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Delaware and 10 other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states have committed to developing a regional Low Carbon Fuel Standard in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fuels for vehicles and other uses, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary John A. Hughes announced today.
The 11 states – which include all the member states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) plus Pennsylvania – will work together to create a common fuel standard that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a technology-neutral basis.
“Developing a low carbon fuel standard for application regionally is a logical next step in our strategic work with other states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Secretary Hughes.
Last week, the heads of the environmental protection agencies in Delaware, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont signed a Letter of Intent to tackle the challenge of reducing greenhouse gases from fuels in a joint effort. This initiative began this past June when Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick invited the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to collaborate on development of a regional low carbon fuel standard.
Over the past six months, the states have begun to work closely on such a low carbon fuel standard that would apply to the entire region, creating a larger market for cleaner fuels, reducing emissions associated with climate change and supporting development of clean energy technologies.
As stated in the Framework Agreement, which was made public today, a Low Carbon Fuel Standard is a market-based, technologically neutral policy to address the carbon content of fuels by requiring reductions in the average lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions per unit of useful energy. Such a standard is potentially applicable not only in transportation, but also for fuel used for heating buildings, for industrial processes, and for electricity generation.
The state of California was the first to commit to a LCFS for motor vehicles, which it is now in the process of developing. Fuels that may have potential to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation include electricity and advanced biofuels that have lower lifecycle carbon emissions and are less likely to cause indirect effects from crop diversion and land use changes than those on the market today.
The Agreement notes that the interconnected nature of fuel distribution in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions makes a regional approach to a LCFS likely easier to implement and more effective. The joint LCFS effort is also a natural outgrowth of RGGI, which covers greenhouse gas emissions from electric power plants.
The ten RGGI states have already held two auctions in 2008 involving the first market-based, mandatory cap-and-trade program in the U.S. Most of the states in the region have set aggressive goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the economy, several of them, including Delaware, set requirements by adopting regulations.
In the Letter of Intent, the 11 states commit to participating in an effort to analyze low carbon fuel supply options and develop a framework for a regional LCFS in the Northeast-Mid-Atlantic region, in order to ensure sustainable use of renewable fuels in the region. The states will collaborate with the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), which is conducting a study of a LCFS for the region. The states also agree to work cooperatively with other states and the federal government, and to seek to influence the design of any federal LCFS or other fuels policy that is proposed.
The Agreement also commits the 11 signatory states to drafting a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the development of a regional low carbon fuel standard program, to be forwarded for consideration by the governors of the states by December 31, 2009, or as soon thereafter as possible.
For information on Delaware’s RGGI program, visit http://www.awm.delaware.gov/AQM/Pages/RegionalGreenhouseGasInitiative.aspx, or for RGGI Inc., visit http://www.rggi.org.