Hassan Bill Seeks Federal Support To Expand Multi-State Climate Programs Like RGGI | New Hampshire Public Radio

Hassan Bill Seeks Federal Support To Expand Multi-State Climate Programs Like RGGI

Mar 26, 2021

New England's last coal plant without a retirement date, Merrimack Station in Bow, is among the facilities covered by RGGI.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan is re-introducing a bill to give more federal support to multi-state climate change programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Hassan, a Democrat, worked to enroll New Hampshire in the carbon cap-and-trade program known as RGGI when she was a state legislator.

Created in 2009, RGGI includes New Hampshire, the rest of New England and most of the Northeast down to Virginia. Pennsylvania is currently working on joining. The program limits carbon emissions from power plants, with a trading market for allowances to exceed those limits. States can split revenues between customer rebates and clean energy programs.

RGGI is one of the only programs like it in the country and has had documented health and economic benefits.

“Climate change threatens our economy, our health, and our natural resources,” Hassan said in a statement. “Initiatives like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative leverage market-based solutions to reduce emissions, lower energy use and bills, and create jobs.” 

Hassan's bill would create an Office of Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs within the Environmental Protection Agency, to provide technical assistance for programs like RGGI and offer grants to help other states develop similar emissions-cutting collaborations.

The bill has bipartisan co-sponsors in other RGGI states, and Hassan's office says it was drafted with support from state regulators who work on RGGI, including in New Hampshire. It was first introduced in 2009.