Monday, November 23, 2009

RGGI Announces Election of New Executive Committee

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc. (RGGI, Inc.) today announced the election of new members to the Executive Committee of its Board of Directors. The new members will serve a one-year term from November 1, 2009. The Executive Committee acts on behalf of the Board of Directors to oversee the activities of RGGI, Inc. The Committee draws upon commissioners of environmental and energy agencies from across the RGGI region.

For 2009-2010 the Executive Committee will comprise:

David Littell, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection will serve as Chair;

Pete Grannis, Commissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation will serve as a Vice Chair;

Clifton Below of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission will also serve as a Vice Chair;

Susanne Brogan, Commissioner of the Maryland Public Service Commission, will serve as Treasurer;

Michael Sullivan, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, will serve as Secretary;

Laurie Burt, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection will serve as a Member at Large of the Executive Committee;

Mark Mauriello, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, will also serve as a Member at Large of the Executive Committee.

Biographies of Executive Committee & Board of Directors

About the Regional Greenhouse Gas InitiativeThe 10 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states participating in RGGI (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) have designed and implemented the first market-based, mandatory cap-and-trade program in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Power sector CO2 emissions are capped at 188 million short tons per year through 2014. The cap will then be reduced by 2.5 percent in each of the four years 2015 through 2018, for a total reduction of 10 percent.

A CO2 allowance represents a limited authorization to emit one ton of CO2, as issued by a respective participating state. A regulated power plant must hold CO2 allowances equal to its emissions to demonstrate compliance at the end of each three-year control period. The first control period for fossil fuel-fired electric generators under each state’s CO2 Budget Trading Program took effect on January 1, 2009 and extends through December 31, 2011. Allowances issued by any participating state are usable across all state programs, so that the ten individual state CO2 Budget Trading Programs, in aggregate, form one regional compliance market for CO2 emissions.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chesapeake Energy Corp Abandons Drilling Marcellus Shale

The Chesapeake Energy Corporation, one of the nation’s biggest gas producers, has decided not to pursue drilling for natural gas within the upstate New York watershed. The Center opposed the drilling in the New York watershed. Although the area holds substantial gas reserves, it is unfortunately in an environmentally sensitive region that supplies unfiltered water to nine million people.

Chesapeake is the largest leaseholder in the Marcellus Shale, a subterranean layer of shale rock that runs from New York to Tennessee. The shale is believed to hold substantial natural gas reserves.

But extracting gas from shale relies on a method called hydraulic fracturing that has stirred broad concerns. Water, laced with chemicals, is blasted down gas wells at high pressure to break the rock and allow gas to flow out more easily. The technology has vigorously expanded in recent years, allowing for enormous growth in the nation’s natural gas reserves.

But the concerns include the use of chemicals, the disposal of wastewater and the danger of leaks and spills into groundwater and deep aquifers. There also has been a string of explosions from Wyoming to Pennsylvania.

Under energy legislation passed in 2005, the industry won an exemption from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Chesapeake acquired 5,000 acres in the watershed when it bought Columbia Natural Resources a few years ago, and it is currently the only leaseholder in the area. (NYT, 11/27/09)