Articles Posted in State and Local Plans

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In October the State of Washington will implement a program to require reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. The State Department of Ecology issued a new rule last week requiring a gradual reduction in emissions for those who, starting with 2017,  emit 100,000 metric tons or more of carbon pollution.  The threshold for requiring compliance gradually reduces until 2035. The “Covered GHG Emissions” include those from stationary sources, petroleum producers and importers  and natural gas distributors.

The rule requires calculating emissions and keeping records for no less than ten years. There are provisions that permit trading reduction of carbon emissions called Emission Reduction Units (ERUs).

“WAC 173-442-140 Exchanging emission reduction units. Covered parties may transfer ERUs under the conditions in this section
(1) Required documentation.
(a) Documentation of an ERU transfer may consist of contractual arrangements, memoranda of understanding, or other similar records with sufficient detail to document the transfer of the ERU from one covered party to another.
(b) The transfer of ERUs occurs between accounts in the registry established in WAC 173-442-230.
(2) Tracking emission reduction units. The covered party must document each transfer of an ERU in the compliance report in a format specified by ecology and in the registry established in WAC
(3) Role of third-parties in transactions.
(a) Entities other than covered parties may facilitate, broker, or assist covered parties to transfer ERUs recorded in accounts in the registry, but they may not hold ERUs.
(b) Only covered parties, ecology, and voluntary participants may hold ERUs.”

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The city of Copenhagen has developed a comprehensive plan to address short and medium range impacts of Climate Change. From green roofs to streets that divert storm water the City has developed a comprehensive plan to address the impacts of global warming.

The plan lists some the key considerations in adaptation:

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS IN CLIMATE ADAPTATION MEASURES To achieve successful adaptation of the city to the climate of the future, it is important that we con- sider a number of key factors:

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The U. S. Department of Agriculture is establishing seven regional Hubs to assist farmers and forest owners with climate change adaptation and mitigation. According to the USDA site:

“These hubs are needed to maintain and strengthen agricultural production, natural resource management, and rural economic development under increasing climate variability.”

The USDA is in the process of selecting Hubs from among existing facilities. A fact sheet issued by the USDA states that the Hubs will provide “support to USDA agriculture and land management program delivery by providing tools and strategies for climate change response to help producers cope with challenges associated with drought, heat stress, excessive moisture, longer growing seasons, and changes in pest pressure. The Hubs will support applied research and develop partnerships.”

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New York adopted a law in July that provides for local implementation of tax exemptions for improvements to property, in excess of ten thousand dollars, that obtain LEED(R) certification or meet a similar standard, based upon adoption of a local law implementing such a provision. To be eligible the construction must commence in or after January 2013 and the Statute provides for exemption, on a sliding scale, over ten years.

Chapter 188 of the Laws of 2012, which is the new section 470 of the New York Real Property Tax Law reads:

§ 470. Exemption for improvements to real property meeting certif-

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New York has implemented a Climate Smart Communities program to help reduce Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Website link describes this program as follows:

“Climate Smart Communities is an unprecedented partnership between New York State and local communities. Its goal is to lower greenhouse gases and save taxpayer dollars through climate smart actions that also promote community health and safety, affordability, economic strength and quality of life.”

The program has several key areas it asks communities which enroll in the Program to pursue:

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The California Public Utilities Commission has released a plan called “California’s Clean Energy Future,” setting goals for the year 2020. One of the most interesting goals is “enough charging stations at home, work, and in public areas to accommodate one million electric and hybrid vehicles.” Many people have noted that a lack of charging stations is a major obstacle to developing alternative energy vehicles. If California can develop a model for establishing charging stations that would have the potential to advance the development of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Other goals of the plan are:

“* Reductions of electricity (13,200 to 18,000 gigawatt-hours) and natural gas use (800 million therms) by 2020.

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New Rochelle New York has scheduled a hearing on its proposed “GreeNR” Sustainabilty Plan. The Plan, developed over the last year, proposes a series of short term, medium term and long term goals.

Among the highlights of the Plan are a series of goals for the year 2030 listed in a press release as:

“• Reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20%.

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On July 22, 2009 the Governor of Oregon signed seven laws, all dealing with issues related to climate change. In a press release the governor’s office summarized the new laws as follows:

“Senate Bill 38- Expands reporting requirements for greenhouse gas emissions to imported electricity, natural gas, and transportation fuel and will allow state to better track amount of greenhouse gases emitted in Oregon.

Senate Bill 79- Ramps up energy efficiency in building codes by 10 to 15% for residential and by 15 to 25% for commercial structures and creates a new “reach code” system to highlight best practices for builders and developers. The bill also creates a task force appointed by the Governor to develop energy performance scores for homes and buildings, similar to fuel mileage stickers on vehicles and recommends to next legislature whether to require the performance scores as part of real estate transactions.

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The Governor of New Hampshire has issued a Climate Action Plan. The 82 page plan seeks to implement a program that will result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 90 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

The recommendations contained in the plan include:

“1. Maximize energy efficiency in buildings 2. Increase renewable and low-CO2-emitting sources of energy in a long-term sustainable manner.