Leahy Joins Hassan And Others To Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Support And Expand Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs

WASHINGTON (FRIDAY, March 26, 2021)Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has joined Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and others in reintroducing bipartisan legislation to support and expand programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a collaborative effort across states including New Hampshire that uses market-based tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

“Climate change threatens our economy, our health, and our natural resources. Initiatives like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative leverage market-based solutions to reduce emissions, lower energy use and bills, and create jobs,” said Senator Hassan, who helped lead the drive to have New Hampshire join RGGI when she served in the New Hampshire State Senate. “Our bipartisan legislation would support current RGGI programs and help expand this type of regional greenhouse gas initiative to other states and local governments. I look forward to working with my colleagues to build support for this important, bipartisan legislation that will help our country combat climate change and build up our clean energy economy.”

“To reduce emissions and combat the climate crisis, we need every tool in the toolbox.  In Vermont, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has proven that climate solutions are not just about saving the planet and protecting our communities – they are a tremendous economic opportunity as well,” said Senator Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee said. “This bill would help export our success and encourage more states and regions to adopt this promising model for carbon reduction.”

Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia are all part of the existing RGGI program. The bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), all of whom represent states currently participating in RGGI, as well as Bob Casey (D-PA), whose state has taken steps recently to join the initiative.  

“There is no doubt that climate change poses a significant threat to our economy and our natural resources, including Maine’s forestry, fishing, agricultural, tourism, and recreation industries,” said Senator Collins. “This significant challenge requires cooperation at all levels of government and across geographical boundaries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our bipartisan bill would add to the work already being done through the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative by creating an office within the EPA to strengthen and support new regional greenhouse gas reduction programs.”

“Climate change is a global challenge, but that doesn’t mean that this crisis can be confronted through a one-size-fits all mindset – so it’s important to be agile and take a ‘think global, act local’ approach,” said Senator King. “The Northeast’s power needs are different than Southwest’s, so it only makes sense that we would use varied, customized approaches to achieve the same goal of carbon reductions. That’s where regional-specific programs come in: by encouraging collaboration between neighboring states that share energy opportunities and challenges, we can advance changes that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support local needs. I’m proud to stand alongside my Northeast colleagues to build on the good work of these regional-specific programs, and will continue fighting for policies that secure our energy future and address the crisis of climate change.“

“In New Hampshire and throughout the northeast, we are already seeing alarming effects from climate change, which is why we need to take action before it’s too late. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is an important tool we have been using for more than a decade to make progress to that end,” said Senator Shaheen. “By establishing an Office of Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs within the Environmental Protection Agency, this legislation will provide technical assistance and guidance for states in other regions to replicate the success of RGGI and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I’ll keep working across the aisle to pursue policies that tackle the threats created by climate change head on.”

To read the one-pager on the bipartisan Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, click here

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