Boston- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) on Thursday voted for comprehensive global warming prevention legislation that would put strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions and set new standards for motor vehicle fuels.
“With this legislation, Massachusetts pulls ahead of the pack in establishing aggressive reduction in greenhouse gases, protecting our environment and propelling the Commonwealth’s “green” economy,” said Downing.
Building upon the Senate’s energy reform mandate, the Global Warming Solutions Act authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to monitor and regulate greenhouse gases with the goal of reducing carbon monoxide emissions.
The legislation requires DEP to establish a statewide registry of facilities that emit greenhouse gases. Additionally, the bill charges DEP with determining the level of emissions in 1990 as a benchmark to measure a 20-percent reduction by 2020 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.
The Global Warming Solutions Act also mandates the following:
- Power plants have to meet a standard of 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per mega-watt hour for approval of construction or expansion projects;
- The DEP must adopt a Low Carbon Fuel Standard for motor vehicle fuels, in collaboration with our state partners in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, to ensure a 10 percent reduction in carbon content by 2020; and
- The Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs will conduct a climate-change impact study on the adaptation of terrestrial and marine habitats.
In January, the Senate passed energy reform legislation which promotes renewable resources and efficiency, setting a goal of 20 percent renewable power resources by 2020. That legislation also helps ease energy costs in cities and towns by allowing municipalities to build, own and operate small renewable-energy generation sources, and establishes a “least-cost-procurement” process to limit and reduce energy consumption.
The Senate in January also approved legislation to secure the Commonwealth’s current and future participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, making Massachusetts part of a nine-state coalition plan, starting in 2009, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from larger power plants in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions.
This latest step in reforming the Commonwealth’s energy policy, the Global Warming Solutions Act, will now go to the House of Representatives.