This legislation carves out a special exemption for a select group of electric generators using certain biomass fuels to evade compliance requirements under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a multi-state collaborative formed to establish a regional cap on carbon pollution – money raised through RGGI allowance auctions has been a major driver of clean, renewable energy development and jobs.
This legislation undermines the integrity of the state’s climate pollution program by providing a special carbon pollution exemption for companies operating former coal-fired power plants with a fuel mix consisting of more than 75-percent biomass. Under the current RGGI regulations, generators utilizing only sustainably harvested biomass have the opportunity to apply to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for exemptions for the carbon pollution directly attributable to the biomass combusted at their facility. This bill allows certain favored generators to evade the program altogether and receive retroactive compensation for climate pollution allowances previously procured for compliance purposes.
This bill amends the environmental conservation law to provide special exemptions for electric generators who burn certain biomass fuels from the standards of the RGGI.