Broad Range of Stakeholders Call on Governor to Improve Successful Clean Energy and Anti-Pollution Program
New Hampshire organizations, businesses, and officials joined two hundred fifteen others across the region in calling on Governor Lynch and other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic governors to build on progress reducing pollution and promoting clean energy by improving the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The coalition – which includes environmental and public health organizations, consumer advocates, and clean energy and mainstream businesses – highlighted RGGI’s success to date and called for strengthening of the program’s pollution reduction targets and increasing investment in clean energy and energy efficiency measures that benefit the climate, the economy, public health, and energy consumers.
Officials from the ten are currently evaluating options for improving the program as part of a review process established when the program was launched.
“More than any time in recent history, the public is focused on the climate impacts of a warming planet,” said Jessica O’Hare of Environment New Hampshire, “New Hampshire has been a leader in tackling carbon pollution and RGGI has been a key element of New Hampshire’s strategy to reduce pollution from fossil fuels and shift to clean energy. Strengthening RGGI is one of the best ways we can build on our state’s progress on clean energy and on reducing the pollution that causes global warming.”
Independent analysis has shown that RGGI’s impact on the economies of participating states has been positive, boosting net economic output by 17 million and providing jobs to 500 people for a year.
“Thanks to sound public policy such as RGGI, CSG has implemented aggressive, whole house efficiency retrofit programs throughout the RGGI states in which we operate,” said Steve Cowell, Chairman and CEO of Conservations Services Group. “In the last several years, we have added over 450 new employees and overseen upgrades to thousands of homes, making them significantly more energy efficient, safer, more comfortable and affordable. By adopting the reform principles, RGGI states will increase support to the clean energy industry and foster greater economic growth.”
Initial projections have shown that updating the program’s targets to deliver a 15% reduction in carbon dioxide pollution by 2020 would help address the health impacts of climate change, and would avoid thousands of tons of toxic emissions linked to smog, ground-level ozone, and related health impacts. The 20% reduction called for in the letter would deliver greater benefits.
“Burning fossil fuels is bad for our health, said Catherine Thomasson, MD, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Policies like RGGI that reduce air pollution from burning coal and oil are a prescription for a healthy future for our kids.”
Charging power companies for their emissions provides resources to reinvest in energy efficiency, clean energy and other public benefit programs; replacing fossil fuels imports with local spending that benefits consumers and the economy.
Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Policy Counsel, Energy and Environment for Consumers Union stated: "In New Hampshire, RGGI provides essential support for programs that save consumers money, reduce energy consumption, and weatherize homes to be more efficient and comfortable."