Friday, December 16, 2005

Northeastern States Take On Pollution

Connecticut Signs On To Compact to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

The Northeast is one of the most polluted areas of the country. Our dense population, cold winters, manufacturing plants and older structures means that the Northeastern states tend to pollute quite a bit more than other states in the south, midwest and west. A reduction in greenhouse gases and other pollutants here will go a long way towards making this a cleaner world.

That's why I'm glad to see that Connecticut has signed on to a regional initiative to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gases by 10% by 2020:

Connecticut is expected to be one of seven Northeastern states signing on to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which sets goals for reducing carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants beginning in 2009.

"The agreement creates incentives that will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and help free our economy from the price volatility of world oil and gas markets," Rell said.
The formal plan has yet to be released, but a draft proposal requires a 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020. Utilities that exceed the goals could sell credits to companies that do not.

The market approach "has been a very effective tool that's been used in our air programs over a decade," McCarthy said. (Pazniokas)

Both Rhode Island and Massachusetts have held off on signing the compact for economic reasons, however:

Gov. Don Carcieri of Rhode Island and Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts each raised concerns that the plan could drive up electricity rates. Romney had sought a cap on what power plants would have to pay if they exceeded emissions limits. (Pazniokas)

Hopefully Romney, at least, will sign on. The compact is useless without Massachusetts.

Both governors have legitimate concerns, but Rell seems satisfied that consumers will be protected. It's good that governments are trying to make environmentalism work with economics instead of against it.

I'm glad to see New England and the rest of the northeast taking the lead on these issues when the federal government won't.

Pazniokas, Mark. "State Joins Pollution Compact." Hartford Courant 16 December, 2005.


stomv said...

A few thoughts:

1. Even if the entire state of New York released 0 pollutants, NYC would still have unhealthy air quality 200 days of the year. Why? Coal burning power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania combined with air currents that blow from West to East.

I point this out to emphasize that, for it's population, the northeast doesn't pollute more than the rest of the country... so I wouldn't consider your opening paragraph spot on.

2. Mitt Romney won't sign, but he won't be governor in 2007. His likely GOP follower, Healey, is more moderate on social issues. Of the two Dem challengers, it's almost certain that Deval Patrick would sign on, and probable that Tom Reilly would too if the legislature passed it.

3. Based on (1), the most important state to sign on who hasn't yet isn't Massachusetts or Rhode Island, it's Pennsylvania. Of course, PA is Philly and Pittsburg with Southern Alabama betwixt, so the legislation wouldn't be likely to fly there. Still, once MA and RI get pressurred in, it would be nice to try to expand the legislation into Maryland and into even the eastern half of Pennsylvania.

4. One way to help mitigate emmissions: green energy. I suspect that this will in fact be one method power generators use for compliance. Wind farms emit 0 emissions. Neither do solar cells. Collecting gas from rotting biological matter in farms and city dumps actually reduces emissions. Hopefully states will use both carrot and stick to reduce pollution.

Anonymous said...

How about green building legislation in Connecticut? Nah, the Democrats would find fault with it since they couldn't continue to turn Fairfield County into a borough of NYC.

DeanFan84 said...


Thank you. Most of that which regularly muddies my New Haven skies is not CT pollution. It is NJ and NY, and the Midwest.

As a contrast, has anyone noticed how clear and Blue the sky gets when a Canadian high pressure system occasionally comes down from the North? (Or when a Low passes to the South, and we get the wind from the Northeast?) The difference in air quality is striking noticeable.

Personally, I'd be happy if the Northeast made a big stink about the other states' pollution which is visited upon us. Dick Blumenthal, can you hear me??