Following our report yesterday on closed-door talks among Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers to decrease the state’s limit on carbon-dioxide emissions, more than a dozen environmental groups issued a joint statement today calling for its passage.
Cuomo’s office and legislators have discussed lowering the carbon cap under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative program, a nine-state cap-and-trade system in which power producers bid on emission allowances. If the cap were lowered, the price of carbon credits would increase, which would increase costs on coal plants, particularly financially troubled facilities in western and central New York.
A draft bill can be found here.
Here’s what the coalition of environmental groups had to say:
“The time is now to put New York on the path to a cleaner energy future. With just four days remaining in the legislative session, energy and environmental groups, as well as the tens of thousands of New Yorkers we are proud to call our members, are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to work together to pass the Clean Energy & Economic Revitalization Act of 2012.
As described in today’s paper, this energy package would reduce the pollution that’s changing our climate and dirtying the air we breathe and ramp up New York’s burgeoning solar energy industry, creating new jobs for New Yorkers in the process. With just a few days left in the Session, the time to clear our air is now.”
Some coal plants, however, would be at risk of closing should the policy take hold, according to Jerry Goodenough, general manager of AES coal plants in Somerset, Niagara County, and Lansing, Tompkins County.
“Given the economics that we’re currently in, we’d have to take a hard look at continuing the Cayuga plant, and Somerset could face a similar situation if we couldn’t change the outlook,” Goodenough said yesterday.
The environmental groups that were part of the joint statement are: The Adirondack Council, Alliance for Clean Energy New York, American Lung Association in New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, Environmental Advocates of New York, Environment New York, New York League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York Public Interest Research Group, New York Solar Energy Industries Association, Renewable Energy Long Island, Vote Solar, Sierra Club-Atlantic Chapter, and Water Defense.