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California May Join Emission Alliance

Under the plan to cut greenhouse gases, power plants can trade credits with Northeast facilities.

October 17, 2006|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Gov. George E. Pataki on Monday announced a partnership that would bring California together with a group of Northeastern states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Schwarzenegger said he would sign an executive order today that calls for a program that would allow California to work with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at power plants in the Northeast beginning in 2009.

The initiative allows power plants to trade emission credits as a way to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

The partnership is the first step in creating a system that would help California's largest manufacturers comply with stricter environmental regulations.

Industrial corporations and utility companies in California must cut their greenhouse gas emissions by about 25% by 2020 as part of the state's global warming law. Linking California to the Northeast program could help California power plants meet their obligations under the new law.

"Our cooperation can be a model to the rest of the states and to other countries actually," Schwarzenegger said after the two governors toured the Solaire building in Lower Manhattan, which is touted as one of the country's largest and first "green" residential high-rises.

Pataki said a "market-driven cap-and-trade system" would benefit the environment and industries.

In an effort to make the cap workable for businesses, Schwarzenegger has advocated establishing a market system that could enable the state's companies to buy, sell and trade emission credits instead of making their own reductions.

The Northeast system involves seven states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. Maryland is expected to join in June.

The executive order is Schwarzenegger's latest move to address global warming -- an issue that has often put the Republican governor at odds with the Bush administration.

Schwarzenegger this summer urged the governors of Western states to join California in a regional trading system and signed an agreement with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to develop new technologies to combat global warming.

Schwarzenegger, who is running against state Treasurer Phil Angelides for reelection in November, has touted California's 2006 global warming law as a key component of his environmental record. It has also distinguished him from Bush, who has said companies should voluntarily reduce emissions.

A spokesman for Angelides issued a statement saying a trading partnership between California and the Northeast would require a new federal law but could not be more specific.

California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Linda Adams said that would not be the case.

California's global warming law imposes the country's first mandatory statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions, a move that has been criticized by manufacturers and cement makers -- two of the largest emitters of the greenhouse gases that scientists blame for rising global temperatures.

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