Vermont closer to low-carbon fuel standard

Gov. Jim Douglas and 10 other governors in the region took the next step toward developing a regional Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) by signing a Memorandum of Understanding that commits their states to continued participation in a regional effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fuels for vehicles and other uses.

"Vermont is a leader in limiting greenhouse gas emissions, but about 45 percent of our carbon footprint is generated from the transportation sector," Douglas said. "As with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, this partnership will help us meet our environmental challenges and encourage the creation of green jobs."

A LCFS program is a market-based, fuel-neutral program to address the carbon content of fuels. This effort has the potential to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, which represent approximately 30 percent of emissions region wide. It also will help reduce regional vulnerability to petroleum price volatility and facilitate the long-term transition from petroleum-based fuels in the transportation sector. In addition, a LCFS is anticipated to spur economic growth related to development of advanced technologies and green energy jobs.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed last week is the next step in the process of developing a regional framework by 2011. Other states signing on to the Memorandum of Understanding were: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

In the Memorandum, the 11 states agree to work together to analyze low carbon fuel supply options, determine the feasibility of achieving a range of reduction goals and develop a framework for a regional LCFS in order to ensure sustainable use of renewable fuels in the region. The state will also consider the economic impacts of a LCFS program and are committed to including strong business, energy and environmental stakeholder involvement in the. The states are collaborating with the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM).

The participating states have already demonstrated the success of regional emissions reduction programs with RGGI, which covers greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. A regional program to address transportation and other fuels is prudent and efficient given the interconnected nature of the fuel distribution system in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.

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