Environmental brief ~ Central US states begin push for air pollution agreement

[JURIST] Leading Friday's environmental law news, the US Environmental Protection Agency [official website] has begun efforts to secure a multilateral agreement to reduce air pollution in the central US. The Blue Skyways Collaborative was introduced at a meeting of representatives from the EPA, 8 states, corporate interests, agriculture associations, environmental groups, Canada and Mexico. Blue Skyways, which roughly focuses on the US interstate highway 35 corridor, aims to reduce emissions from sources not regulated by the Clean Air Act [text], including emissions from trucks, construction equipment, farm machinery, school buses, railyards and airports. While Blue Skyways itself is voluntary, state legislation implementing ideas created through the effort is expected. AP has more.

In other environmental law news

  • The California Water Resources Board [official website] ordered federal and state agencies Wednesday to meet water quality requirements when drawing water from the central valley region. High salt levels [backgrounder] in the San Joaquin-Sacramento River delta first became an issue 25 years ago, although this marks the first time the Board has taken any action to control the problem. State and federal water projects decrease the water supply reaching the delta, resulting in increased salinity levels which hurt fish populations and farms in the region. The agencies could face fines or be ordered to shut down if they fail to meet the standards. AP has more.

  • The California Public Utilities Commission [official website] announced [press release] Thursday it will develop a plan to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. While the proposal [DOC text] is vague in its details, it is expected that any final proposal would be similar to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative [website] (discussed below). Reuters has more.

  • The Vermont House Natural Resources and Energy Committee approved legislation [text] Thursday that would implement the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) [official website], an agreement between 9 northeast states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The RGGI works through a cap and trade system, creating transferable credits that power plants can trade to achieve their emission reduction goals. Vermont is the first of the northeast states to work on RGGI legislation, perhaps because it only has one power plant that would be affected by the plan. Vermont Press Bureau has more.

 

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