Rhode Island remains the only New England state not participating in the cap-and-trade program
PROVIDENCE- Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts issued a statement today calling for Rhode Island to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from regional power plants. Last week, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed an agreement that left Rhode Island as the only New England state not participating. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont have been signatories to the RGGI since it was launched in December 2005.
"I commend Gov. Patrick on his decision to bring Massachusetts into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and urge Rhode Island to do the same," Roberts said. "As a state, it is essential that we do our part to help curb global climate change and reducing our own emissions through the RGGI is a critical step in that direction.
If we fail to join this collaborative initiative, I think we will be missing an opportunity to change the way that we produce and consume energy in Rhode Island. Under the free-market, cap-and-trade system of the RGGI, power producers will have a choice between paying for their pollution or selling their allowances and investing those funds in innovation. These investments, coupled with the revenues our state would gain from the auction of pollution allowances to power producers, have the potential to bring energy savings and increase energy efficiency across the region.
Now is the time to take action on climate change, join our region in working together to limit greenhouse gas emissions and encourage power companies to become more innovative and energy efficient here in Rhode Island. We have an obligation as public servants to do what is best for our citizens, and I firmly believe that Rhode Island's participation in this initiative will positively impact the lives of our residents -- and the health of the environment -- for years to come."
Roberts was named to the Environment Council of Rhode Island's Green Honor Roll in both 2005 and 2006 for her demonstrated legislative environmental record in the Rhode Island State Senate, most notably her sponsorship of the Energy and Consumer Savings Act that set minimum energy efficiency standards for common household and commercial appliances. The act was predicted to save Rhode Island consumers and businesses $225 million over the next 25 years, while cutting pollution, improving electric system reliability and easing pressure on energy prices.