OTF Newsletter

October 2019, Vol. 25

Massachusetts joining 11 other states to cut back on carbon emissions from regional transportation, new draft policy shows  The Boston Globe, October 1, 2019. “Massachusetts and 11 Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states are jointly looking to scale back on gasoline and diesel emissions as part of an effort to implement a regional “low carbon” transportation policy, according to a draft policy framework released on Tuesday by the Transportation Climate Initiative. The Transportation Climate Initiative is proposing through the draft plan a cap on motor emissions by requiring that state fuel suppliers hold allowances based on emission levels that have yet to be determined. A regional organization would then auction the allowances in the “cap-and-invest” scheme, and each jurisdiction — or state — would decide how to invest the program’s proceeds based on their transportation needs. Participating states include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. The initial cap would be set using a combination of baseline emissions for three recent years and projected emissions, then decline over time, according to the plan. TCI is looking to begin the program as early as 2022 and reach a target emissions level in 2032.”

Northeast states takes first step in effort to reduce transportation emissions  The Hill, October 1, 2019. “At the heart of the draft proposal is an effort that would place pollution limits on middlemen who bring gasoline to U.S. consumers, forcing those companies to buy credits to compensate for pollution that will stem from their products. The effort, known as the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), is based on another similar regional cap and trade initiative known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. RGGI limits pollution from power plants, forcing utilities to pay if they exceed the caps. States from Maine to Virginia are banding together to form a similar cooperative, but instead of power plants their efforts will be focused on oil terminals that store fuel before it heads to market as well distributors of gasoline.”

Reducing Transportation Emissions by Targeting Fuel Suppliers  Planetizen.com, October 1, 2019. “Since 2017, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States has been from the transportation sector, mostly from passenger vehicles, yet it seems that the power generation sector continues to grab the lion's share of attention when it comes to mitigating emissions. Policymakers in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), which will use a cap-and-invest as well as trade program, have taken a page from the power sector by adopting a program used by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative….A sampling of reactions to the draft framework was released Tuesday by Our Transportation Future, a coalition of 64 leading environmental, scientific, transportation, health, and business organizations across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region advocating in support of TCI. ““Taking on the largest source of air pollution will require bold solutions, and the TCI framework released today offers a solid foundation for a bold, regional cap-and-invest program,” said Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director at Acadia Center. “ The TCI states need to build on that foundation by establishing an ambitious cap on emissions..." “We are heartened by the broad TCI framework released today," said Nancy Goodman, vice president for policy, Environmental League of Massachusetts.  "This effort to price carbon within a region has great promise for addressing emissions from transportation..."”

State unveils ‘cap-and-invest’ system for lowering carbon emissions Vermont Digger, October 11, 2019. “Peter Walke, deputy secretary of the state Agency of Natural Resources and Vermont’s representative for the initiative, presented the plan at the Renewable Energy Vermont conference on Thursday. Walke explained how the cap-and-invest system would work:  A carbon emissions cap would start at the state’s current emissions level, and would decline over time to an as-yet specified goal. The number of tons of carbon allowances for sale would be capped. Suppliers would buy the allowances in an auction process from the state over a period of time up to the cap. ‘The cap is the backstop. The cap is ultimately what enforces action. The proceeds from the auctions would be invested in initiatives to reduce emissions in Vermont,’ Walke said. Rural communities without adequate public transportation would benefit from the investments.”

Workshops will discuss regional policy for reducing carbon emissions  Cape Cod Times, October 11, 2019. “A series of five public workshops will be held this fall across Massachusetts by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the state Department of Transportation, along with stakeholder groups Our Transportation Future and the Transportation and Climate Initiative.  Massachusetts joined the Transportation and Climate Initiative in December 2018. The goal of the multistate initiative is to develop a regional program that would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, proceeds from which would go to fund a cleaner, more resilient and more equitable transportation system. The initiative released a draft policy proposal on Oct. 1. Public comment is being sought on the draft by Nov. 5.”

Picking up the Pace on Electric Vehicles — and Charging Stations — in NJ  NJSpotlight.com, October 28, 2019. “A new consensus bill to accelerate adoption of plug-in electric vehicles could end gridlock over how to electrify the transportation sector in the state, a step most view as critical to New Jersey achieving its goals to combat global warming. With backing from Gov. Phil Murphy’s office, key legislators and a wide coalition of business and clean energy interests, prospects have improved for the new version of the legislation (S-2252) to win passage in the lame duck Legislature, which begins after next month’s statewide elections. The comprehensive bill establishes lofty goals for increasing the number of public charging stations for electric vehicles in New Jersey, and proposes  funneling up to $30 million in rebates to incent motorists to abandon gasoline-fueled cars for plug-in or battery electric vehicles.”


Resources & Announcements

Our Transportation Future, Press Release (October 1, 2019) –Groups Calling for Regional Cap-And-Invest Program to Invest in Modern, Clean Infrastructure and Improving Public Transit React to Proposal for Implementation in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States and Washington, D.C. -- Members of Our Transportation Future – a coalition of 64 leading environmental, scientific, transportation, health, and business organizations advocating in support of a regional clean transportation policy under the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) – reacted this afternoon to a newly proposed TCI framework, just announced by the TCI states and Washington, D.C., moving forward with implementation of the regional clean transportation initiative… ““Today’s announcement represents a commendable step forward on the path to transforming the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region’s dirty, outdated and harmful transportation system,” said Bruce Ho, senior advocate, Climate & Clean Energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.  “Now the coalition of states and the District of Columbia must follow through with a rock-solid commitment to cut harmful transportation pollution at the scale needed to avert the climate crisis, charge polluters for the pollution they create, and steer proceeds to cleaner transportation options for rural, suburban and urban communities.””

Transportation and Climate Initiative, Framework for a Draft Regional Policy Proposal (October 1, 2019) – “Building on the statement issued in December 2018, the jurisdictions participating in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) have been working to develop a regional low carbon transportation policy proposal by the end of 2019. TCI remains committed to transparency, and to actively seeking input from the public to inform the proposal. Since the beginning of this year, TCI jurisdictions have conducted public workshops and webinars regionally and in individual jurisdictions, and continue to encourage people to submit input and ideas. This year, more than 1,000 people have participated in the public workshops and webinars, and more than 100 separate entries have been submitted through the TCI online public input portal.”

National Grid Statement on the Transportation Climate Initiative’s Framework for a Draft Regional Policy Proposal (October 4, 2019) –  “National Grid is committed to achieving deep decarbonization across the Northeast. The transportation sector, which is currently the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is poised for meaningful and necessary reductions. As outlined in our Northeast 80x50 Pathway, we support an economy-wide price on carbon and commend the inclusion of a cap-and-invest construct in the Transportation Climate Initiative’s policy framework as an important contribution to our collective decarbonization efforts.”


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