PA, Regional Transportation & Climate Initiative Makes Draft Policy Framework Available For Comment

Pennsylvania and the 12 other states and jurisdictions participating in the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative have made available a framework for a draft regional policy proposal to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from transportation aimed at transportation fuel providers and are encouraging interested individuals and organizations to provide feedback on the draft framework through the TCI portal.

This high-level framework represents an important milestone in the jurisdictions’ bipartisan regional collaboration this year, and reflects extensive public engagement, technical analysis and consultation.

With facilitation from the Georgetown Climate Center, the TCI jurisdictions work together toward two overarching goals:

-- Making significant reductions in greenhouse gases and other harmful air pollution from transportation across the region; and

-- Delivering modern cleaner, more resilient transportation systems that benefit all our communities, particularly those underserved by current transportation options and disproportionately burdened by pollution.

Pollution from transportation accounts for the largest portion of climate-changing carbon emissions in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region (more than 40 percent region wide).

Recent reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that ambitious reductions are needed within the next decade to avoid dangerous impacts to public health, infrastructure, and the environment.

At the same time, people and businesses across the region are calling for cleaner, more efficient, more equitable, and more resilient transportation options.

Transportation and climate issues don’t stop at state borders, and regional challenges call for regional action, in addition to efforts undertaken by individual states.

Framework Elements

Among the elements included in the draft policy framework are--

-- Cap emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of the fossil component of finished motor gasoline and on-road diesel fuel in the region and then decline every year at a rate chosen by TCI jurisdictions to support their emissions reduction goals, and informed by analysis of the program’s impact.

-- Affected fuel would include fuel destined for final sale or consumption in a TCI jurisdiction, upon removal from a storage facility (i.e., a “terminal rack”) in the TCI jurisdiction, or, for fuel removed from a facility in another jurisdiction, upon delivery into the TCI jurisdiction. The TCI jurisdictions are evaluating whether and how to include and treat biofuels in the program.

-- State fuel suppliers would be the regulated entities under the proposed program and would be required to hold allowances to cover reported emissions. Owners and operators of fuel supply infrastructure (terminals, pipelines, distributors, etc.) may also have reporting or recordkeeping obligations.

-- Fuel suppliers would be required to report emissions to TCI jurisdictions, plus supporting information.

-- The program would incorporate allowance banking and multi-year compliance periods and include price-based mechanisms for cap flexibility and cost containment based on examples from RGGI and WCI (e.g. cost containment reserve, emissions containment reserve, minimum reserve price).

-- Each TCI jurisdiction has different transportation needs and unique authorities; therefore, each jurisdiction would independently decide how proceeds are invested to achieve carbon emission reductions and other policy goals—like improved air quality and more affordable access to transportation.

Next Steps

A draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) building on the framework is anticipated in December of 2019.

After considering further public input, a final MOU is expected in the Spring of 2020, at which point each jurisdiction will decide whether to sign the final MOU and participate in the regional program.

TCI jurisdictions encourage all interested parties to provide input and feedback on the draft framework in writing via the online portal on the TCI website.

Feedback on the draft framework is most helpful if received by November 5.

The other states participating in the Initiative are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

For more information, visit the Transportation & Climate Initiative October 1 Update webpage.


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[Posted: October 2, 2019]


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