PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch recently expressed his desire for greenhouse gas legislation in a letter to Rep. Peter Ginnait.
Lynch urged the passage of An Act Relating to Health and Safety -- Implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which would make 100 percent of carbon dioxide allowances available for sale and ensue that the proceeds generated by the state's participation in the initiative are used for the benefit of Rhode Island ratepayers, Lynch said.
"Rhode Island's participation in RGGI is a necessary incremental step toward reducing our carbon footprint, and this legislation is the means to that end," Lynch said in the letter to Ginnait, chairman of the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. "The biggest bang for the buck will come to Rhode Island ratepayers when our energy needs are not being met solely by oil, but by renewable, cleaner energy sources."
RGGI is an effort joined into by Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, designed to provide a regional cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants.
Lynch said the program is necessary because of the federal government's unwillingness to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
Rhode Island previously participated in the program, but Gov. Don Carcieri withdrew it. Since then, Lynch has urged him to reconsider joining RGGI, which now includes 10 states.
Lynch testified in May before the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of California Attorney General Jerry Brown, stating the EPA needs to adopt California's Clean Car standards. Rhode Island did so in 2005.
The 2009 models of cars sold in the state will be designed to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
"Our need to create the legislative framework to implement the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in Rhode Island is critical to our individual and collective ability to reduce the effects of global warming on our state," Lynch said. "Every step we take to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and promote energy efficiency is a wise investment in our future."