Massachusetts finalizes greenhouse gas reduction plan

Source: By Devin Henry, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Massachusetts regulators released details of a new plan Friday to tackle greenhouse gas emissions in the state, in accordance with a state law and court order.

The rules rely on a clean energy standard, carbon dioxide emissions limits for the transportation and energy sectors, and curbs on methane pollution, among otter things, to reduce emissions in the state.

“Combating and preparing for the impact of climate change remains a top priority of our administration, and requires collaboration across state government and with stakeholders throughout Massachusetts,” Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said in a statement.

The expanded regulations come nine years after Massachusetts lawmakers passed a climate change law to cut emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and by 80 percent before 2050. As of 2014, emissions in the state were down 21 percent from 1990 levels.

The state’s top court ruled in May 2016 that officials had not properly implemented the law, leading Baker to issue an executive order last year requiring regulators to strengthen their curbs on pollution.

Among other things, the new rules require utilities produce 80 percent of their power from low-carbon sources by 2050, and it creates a cap-and-trade program for 21 fossil fuel power plants in the state Mass Live reports.

The rules also call for lower emissions from vehicles owned or leased by the state, decreasing transportation sector emissions and a reduction in methane leaks along natural gas distribution lines.