Delaware, Regional States & DC Sign Mobile Emission Reduction Cooperative Agreement

by Dave on June 16, 2010

The State of Delaware this week hosted an historic gathering of transportation, energy and environmental officials to discuss cooperative efforts at reducing mobile greenhouse gas emissions in the Northeast Region. The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) served as hosts for the gathering, coinciding with meetings of the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials (NASTO) and the states encompassing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

“We were honored to host this consortium of states as they look for answers to challenging climate issues and turning these challenges into economic opportunities,” said Governor Jack Markell.

One of the expected outcomes of the Summit was for the 12 jurisdictions within RGGI to announce the creation of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote sustainable growth, reduce vehicle-miles traveled and help build the clean energy economy. A consortium of agency heads representing the transportation, environmental and energy sectors from 12 jurisdictions within the mid-Atlantic and Northeast region signed a declaration of intent to work cooperatively over a three year period to develop and implement strategies to reduce mobile sources of greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental sustainability among communities.

“With over 30 percent of the greenhouse gases affecting climate change coming from mobile sources, transportation must play a part in stemming the effects of greenhouse gases through deliberate action and innovation. This collaboration will usher in a new era of cooperation among transportation, energy, and environmental industries,” stated Delaware Transportation Secretary Carolann Wicks.

“The coordination of our transportation, environmental and energy efforts across the region is critical to strengthening our economy, achieving energy independence, confronting climate change, and reducing air pollution. Strong collaboration and collective action among the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states is a necessary first step and the direction we need to go, particularly for Delaware at the heart of the I-95 corridor,” said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a cooperative effort by ten Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to limit greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI is the first mandatory, market-based CO2 emissions reduction program in the United States.

The states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont are signatory states to the RGGI agreement. These ten states have capped CO2 emissions from the power sector, and will require a ten percent reduction in these emissions by 2018.

The effort will build upon ongoing federal, state and regional collaborations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the recently announced initiative to develop a low carbon fuel standard among the same group of Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states.

The Transportation and Climate Initiative will provide states with the opportunity to expand safe and reliable transportation options, attract federal investment, lower transportation costs, improve overall air quality and public health, and mitigate the transportation sector’s impact on climate change.

This collaboration will aid current efforts to:

o reduce traffic congestion;
o encourage job growth and accommodate the flow of goods and services;
o establish state and local land use strategies that increase commercial and residential housing density and encourage transit-friendly design;
o improve the performance of existing highway, transit and other transportation modes while enhancing neighborhoods and urban centers; and
o promote mixed use development that supports viable alternatives to driving.

The Summit featured Keynote Addresses by U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari, and Gina McCarthy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation.

The Georgetown Climate Center served as the facilitator for the group this week in Wilmington, Delaware. The nonpartisan Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) seeks to advance effective climate policies in the United States – policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help communities adapt to climate change, and bridge the gap between climate and transportation planning.

NASTO is comprised of state transportation departments of the northeastern United States, which includes Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. NASTO also includes the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. NASTO serves as a focal point for discussion and research on transportation issues of interest to its members, with an emphasis on promoting cooperation and partnership among its members.

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