BOSTON – State lawmakers have launched a multistate coalition to collaborate on legislation to combat carbon pollution.
The Carbon Costs Coalition includes legislators from nine states, including Massachusetts. It will help those legislators design strategies to reduce carbon emissions and promote clean, renewable energy alternatives.
Jeff Mauk is executive director of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, which helped in the formation of the Coalition. He says it will open opportunities to share ideas and collaborate across state lines.
“The purpose is for state legislators who are working on the issue to be able to compare notes on each other’s bills and compare how they’re conducting outreach and building their coalitions so they can be stronger by having that multistate idea sharing,” he explains.
In Massachusetts, four bills have been introduced to establish a tax on carbon-based fuels generating funds to fight climate change, reduce the state’s carbon footprint and create green energy jobs.
According to Mauk, the Coalition would supplement the carbon reduction goals of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, a multistate compact that seeks to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector.
“This would handle all other carbon fuels and be a price on those fuels but be completely independent of RGGI,” he states.
Those other fuels would include gasoline, diesel fuel and home heating oil.
Mauk adds that, unlike RGGI, each state in the Coalition would be creating its own independent legislation that would be less susceptible to political changes.
“In the case of RGGI, we saw where a couple of governors could pull out and destabilize the whole system, and that would not be possible,” he points out. “One single governor would not be able to take that kind of unilateral action in this kind of scenario.”
The other states in the Coalition are New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maryland, Oregon and Washington.