“A Guide to Greenhouse Gas Regulation: May 2007 Update”

Although only a month has passed since Stroock published its initial Guide to Greenhouse Gas Regulation (the “Guide”), many important developments have occurred which signal that momentum is tilting in favor of further greenhouse gas (“GHG”) regulation.

At the federal level, we are beginning to witness the gradual evolution of what eventually will lead to a national standard of GHG regulation. As a result of the Supreme Court’s April decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA”) must now turn its focus to regulating GHGs under the Clean Air Act or credibly state that GHGs do not contribute to climate change and endanger public health. The latter does not appear to be a viable option given public opinion and the views held by the current Congress. In fact, Congress’s desire to move the process along is evidenced by the sheer number of bills introduced in this area. In all, a total of eight additional federal bills are discussed in this update to the Guide. Two of these bills attempt to address energy performance and efficiency standards, another three seek to establish national GHG emissions caps, while the remainder fall into miscellaneous categories—the most notable of which seeks to create a national carbon tax. No bill has made it out of the committee stage.

Meanwhile, state action has been concentrated on the coasts. In California, the regulatory agency responsible for implementing the state’s landmark global warming law has published its first report detailing “early action” measures for GHG reduction, while the state’s governor has threatened to sue the EPA for failing to move quickly enough in allowing California’s stringent motor vehicle emissions regulations to take effect. On the other side of the country, Maryland has adopted similar motor vehicle emissions standards, and appears to be following in California’s footsteps. At the same time, we have seen New York exert its leadership in the GHG arena, with both Governor Spitzer and Mayor Bloomberg announcing new comprehensive energy plans. Finally, at the regional level, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”) continues to grow, with Maryland, Massachusetts, Ontario, and Rhode Island expressing their intent to join.
This May 2007 Update to Stroock’s Guide to Greenhouse Gas Regulation discusses each of these developments.

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