Hartford, CT – 546 organizations, businesses, health professionals, lawmakers and community leaders from the Northeast, called on Governor Malloy and other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic governors to strengthen the nation’s best regional climate and clean air program, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
The groups sent a letter to the governors asking them to “deliver clean air and a safe, healthy climate for us all.” Specifically, the letter calls for governors to “double the strength of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative” to head off the worst effects of climate change.
“We’re on the right track, but we need to do much more,” said Chris Phelps, Environment Connecticut State Director. “From Maryland to Maine, we can make America’s best regional climate and clean air program twice as effective.”
Over the last decade, the program helped cut emissions from power plants in half. In addition to cutting climate pollution, the RGGI program has created significant benefits for the region, including:
- Cleaner air. In its first six years, the program prevented 600 premature deaths, 9,000 asthma attacks, and 43,000 lost work days.
- More local clean energy. In the first decade, the program generated $2.5 billion for clean energy and energy efficiency.
- Stronger economy. In its first six years, the program boosted the regional economy by $3 billion while creating more than 30,000 job-years.
“There’s never been a more urgent time to tackle the climate crisis. With no leadership coming from Washington D.C., it’s up to states like Connecticut to provide leadership,” said Phelps.
On average, power plant pollution in the region have been falling by almost 5 percent per year since 2005. In 2016, pollution went down by 4.8 percent.
The coalition is calling on the governors to keep up that pace by lowering the limit on pollution by 5 percent per year through 2030 and address loopholes that undermine the program. That would double the strength of the cap, which currently requires emissions cuts of 2.5 percent per year.