Oregon, Washington Fail to Pass Bills to Participate in Regional Cap-and-Trade Program

Oregon and Washington failed to pass bills before the end of their legislative sessions that would implement the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). That leaves only two U.S. states and three Canadian provinces to participate in the regional greenhouse gas (GHG) cap-and-trade program when it begins in 2012.

The regional climate initiative was established in February 2007 by the governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. The coalition requires partners to set an overall regional goal to reduce GHG emissions by 15% below 2005 levels by 2020; develop a market-based, multi-sector mechanism to help achieve that goal; and participate in a cross-border GHG registry.

The initiative expanded to include the states of Montana and Utah, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.

Earlier this year, Arizona’s lawmakers approved a Republican-sponsored bill prohibiting any state agency from implementing a program to regulate GHGs without specific permission form the Legislature. Then in April, Utah announced it would not participate in the initiative, citing a lack of legislative backing.

Like Utah, Arizona, and Montana, Oregon and Washington will remain partners in the program, however. The remaining members committed at this point to the initiative are California, New Mexico, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, which have passed legislation enabling participation.

Sources: WCI, POWERnews

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