U.S. states with cap-and-trade laws want the Obama administration to add their carbon markets into new federal greenhouse-gas regulations, a California environmental official said.
State-run carbon-trading programs should be “treated as equivalents or substitutes” for Environmental Protection Agency regulations for emissions tied to global warming from power plants, oil refineries and factories, Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said yesterday in a telephone interview.
“It would be a way to make sure that industries in our state are not being penalized by being regulated by EPA on top of what the state is doing,” Nichols said.
California plans to start a cap-and-trade program in 2012 and it may be expanded into a regional carbon market that includes New Mexico and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. A group of 10 Northeastern states already has such a trading program for power plants.
Officials from the states and provinces are considering whether to link the programs into a single North American carbon market following the defeat of cap-and-trade legislation in Congress this year.
The federal plan, backed by President Barack Obama, aimed to cut U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions 17 percent from their 2005 level by 2020. The program would have issued a declining number of carbon dioxide allowances that companies would buy and sell.
Without a federal carbon market, Obama’s EPA has issued regulations that will require new or expanded industrial plants to use the “best-available” technology to curb greenhouse gases starting next month. State environmental agencies would decide on a case-by-case basis what technology a company should use to meet the standard, EPA officials have said.
States “are going to be pushing” the EPA to go further and make regional carbon-trading programs “approvable” under the federal Clean Air Act, Nichols said.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at LLiebert@bloomberg.net.