13 State Air Regulators Hold Meeting on New Carbon Emission Standards and Regulations

Top air regulators from 13 states across the western U.S. met recently to discuss how they could work together on carbon-emissions cuts and meeting new benchmarks.

California Air Resources Board chairman Mary Nichols, Nevada Environmental Protection administrator Colleen Cripps and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality director Henry Darwin attended the July 17 meeting in Denver, spokesmen for their agencies said. The closed discussion was organized by Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy, led by former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to cut carbon-dioxide pollutants from power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 includes an incentive for states to develop regional carbon-trading systems. States that combine efforts can get an extra year, until 2018, to comply.

“The meeting provided a forum for us to get a better understanding of how the proposal works,” said Camille St. Onge, spokeswoman for Washington’s Department of Ecology, which sent a climate and energy specialist. “We’re in the process of determining what makes sense for us, including working with other states in a regional market.”

John Chatburn, interim administrator of the Idaho Governor’s Office of Energy Resources, said by telephone yesterday that, while a broader carbon market wasn’t specifically discussed, “it did lay the groundwork for exploring the potential of either a regional or multi-state or bi-state program.”