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New Hampshire Senate Votes to Amend Involvement in Carbon Market

The New Hampshire Senate voted to amend, rather than repeal, the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

The state’s House of Representatives approved in March a bill to exit the 10-state program.

Under the amended bill approved today by a vote of 16 to eight, the state’s would replace an emission reduction fund with an energy efficiency fund and would increase energy-efficiency rebates. The bill would also allow the state to withdraw from the initiative if another state with at least 10 percent of the total electricity production under RGGI exits the program.

The RGGI carbon-trading program regulates pollution from Maryland to Maine. Power-plant operators must buy allowances to account for the carbon dioxide released from their smokestacks. Since 2008, the states have raised more than $860 million by selling the allowances in quarterly auctions, according to the program’s website.

New Hampshire house Republicans said the program is a tax that increases electricity prices. Governor John Lynch, a Democrat, had threatened to veto the cap-and-trade repeal bill if it passed the Senate. The amended bill now goes back to the house for a vote.

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