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NY Adopts Regulations to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Cap by 30%

On December 1, 2020, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) adopted regulations aimed at reducing the State’s regional greenhouse gas emissions cap by 30 percent from 2021 to 2030. The regulations will also ensure that regional emissions are below 65 percent by 2030. [i]

The regulations are the latest effort to bolster New York’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The RGGI is the first market-based regulatory program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI is a joint effort to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.[ii] These new regulations will place New York’s cap on par with other RGGI states. Additionally, New York is adding smaller peaking units to the program. This measure recognizes that most smaller sources are located near Environmental Justice communities, communities of color, and low-income communities. Historically, these regions have experienced the brunt of air pollution. Additionally, the investment of proceeds from allowance auctions will provide equitable benefits to disadvantaged communities, in accordance with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The regulations also contribute to the State’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 under CLCPA. Passed in 2019, CLCPA sets forth plans to achieve a carbon free electricity system by 2040 as well.[iii]

The RGGI program will also be strengthened by an Emissions Containment Reserve (ECR.) This tool ensures additional carbon dioxide emissions reductions by auctioning fewer allowances in the event that the cost of such reductions is less than anticipated.[iv] The regulations streamline the program too, ensuring that reductions from power plants continue by removing all offset categories except for emissions from livestock operations.[v]

DEC’s final regulation will be published in the State Register on Dec. 16 and become effective on Dec. 31, 2020. DEC’s final regulations and supporting materials are currently available here. NYSERDA’s regulations were approved at a special Board meeting on Dec. 1 and will be published in the State Register on December 30. NYSERDA’s final regulations and supporting materials are currently available here.

[i] “Governor Cuomo Announces Adoption of New Regulations to Reduce Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Cap by 30 Percent” https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/About/Newsroom/2020-Announcements/2020-12-01-governor-cuomo-announces-adoption-of-new-regulations-to-reduce-regional-greenhouse-gas-initiative-cap-by-30-percent

[ii] “Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative” https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/Researchers-and-Policymakers/Regional-Greenhouse-Gas-Initiative

[iii] “Governor Cuomo Executes the Nation’s Largest Offshore Wind Agreement and Signs Historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act” https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-executes-nations-largest-offshore-wind-agreement-and-signs-historic-climate

[iv] Id. https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/About/Newsroom/2020-Announcements/2020-12-01-governor-cuomo-announces-adoption-of-new-regulations-to-reduce-regional-greenhouse-gas-initiative-cap-by-30-percent

[v] Id.

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