Mid-Atlantic to develop low-carbon fuel standard

By Erin Voegele | January 03, 2009
Web exclusive posted Jan. 8, 2009, at 2:15 p.m. CST

Eleven Mid-Atlantic states signed a letter of agreement to develop a comprehensive, regional low-carbon fuel standard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels and other sources.

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell announced the agreement Jan. 5. Other states that have joined the partnership include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

According to Teresa Candori, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's press secretary, the eleven Mid-Atlantic states have agreed to participate in an effort to analyze low carbon fuel supply options, and develop a framework for a standard on how to use those fuels. This analysis will include considerations of both direct emissions and indirect emissions, such as those resulting from potential land use changes.

"It's a very sort of preliminary agreement," Candori said. "We haven't imposed any kind of standard on anyone. We're just going to look at our options for low carbon fuels and then develop a goal for the use of these fuels." According to Candori, the states will work together to develop a fuels standard.

Candori said the eleven states will work with Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, who will conduct the study. The states have also agreed to work cooperatively with other states and the federal government to influence the design of any federal standard or other proposed fuel policy. A report containing the study's findings will be submitted to the governor of each participating state by Dec. 31, 2009.

Many of the states in the partnership have set aggressive policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Change Act, which was signed into law last year in Pennsylvania, established an advisory committee to develop a comprehensive report on potential climate change impacts and economic opportunities within the state. The committee will also recommend a plan to implement cost-effective strategies to reduce or offset the state's greenhouse gas emissions and help the state's Department of Environmental Protection compile an annual inventory of the sources and amounts of global-warming pollution generated within the state.