Gov. John E. Baldacci, D-Maine, has joined nine other northeastern states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a coalition of governors that have agreed to set limits on the emission of greenhouse gases.
The coalition's goals are to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions, encourage the lowest cost reductions of carbon dioxide (C02) emissions, and establish a national model for a cap-and-trade program for C02 emissions. The cap-and-trade system controls the right to emit by setting an emissions cap, but allows companies to trade carbon credits to meet their emission requirements.
Through Baldacci's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Act of 2007, he is proposing to provide funding for energy efficiency investments for businesses and residences across Maine, and ensure that electricity consumers are protected. According to the governor, the bill would give the Department of Environmental Protection and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) the authority to create rules for Maine's participation in RGGI; use a public auction for selling Maine's carbon emission credits; create strict standards to protect the market and prevent manipulation; and build on the success of the Efficiency Maine program at the PUC in carrying out energy-efficiency programs statewide, among other benefits.