Dear Administrator McCarthy:
Thank you for your efforts to address the challenge of reducing harmful carbon emissions that are jeopardizing human health and threatening our environment. We were pleased to see your agency recently propose standards under the Clean Air Act for new power plants, and we applaud your commitment to develop standards for reducing emissions from existing power plants. As the federal representatives for the nine states that participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, we urge you to work with our states as you develop standards for existing power plants.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a cooperative effort among our nine states--Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont--to cap and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector. Since 2005, carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the RGGI region have decreased by more than 40 percent. By 2020, estimates show that carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in our states will be half of what they were in 2005. The RGGI states have locked in these reductions and generated a cumulative total of more than $1.4 billion through quarterly competitive CO2 allowance auctions. The majority of these receipts have been reinvested into individual state programs for energy efficiency, direct energy bill assistance, and climate change adaptation planning to further support the regional clean energy economy.
As the first market-based regulatory program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we believe that RGGI and our states offer a unique perspective that will be beneficial to your efforts. We urge you to use the RGGI experience as a benchmark for what is possible on a national level, and to work with RGGI to develop a flexible national standard that will significantly reduce carbon emissions while encouraging regional cooperation and providing equitable treatment for states that have been leading the way on this issue.
We thank you for your attention to our request, and look forward to working with you on this and other efforts to protect our environment and our health.