In this Emissions Watch blog, we provide several updates pertaining to the RGGI program, including a review of the recently released Q2 2021 CO2 emissions data for states in the RGGI footprint. Compared to the same quarter last year, emissions were 17 percent higher. ESAI also provides an updated RGGI price forecast, which remains below current OTC prices in the longer-term. In Pennsylvania, the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) approved final regulations to join RGGI last month, but opposition to the state joining the program persists.
North Carolina began the rulemaking process on July 13 to join RGGI, but two days later, the state House of Representatives passed a bill prohibiting the state from joining RGGI without legislative approval. Obtaining necessary approvals and overcoming legislative and legal challenges in the state make the likelihood of potential membership uncertain.
The September 15, 2021 Massachusetts CO2 auction cleared at $10.00/metric ton. This is the highest clearing price since the inception of the program. ESAI reviews this auction and potential changes to this program that are currently being considered by the DOER.
Finally, ESAI’s latest Emissions Watch Report reviews two recent decisions by EPA to reconsider final actions implemented last year under the previous administration. First, in December 2020, EPA issued a decision indicating that it would retain the current Particulate Matter NAAQS which was last updated in 2012. The agency is now reviewing that decision and plans to initiate a rulemaking next summer. Second, the agency issued a final rule in October 2020 easing wastewater discharge limits. The agency will now evaluate whether more stringent limitations and standards should be adopted.
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