Marten Law: Preemption of Regional Climate Compacts -- A Hot Topic in the Global Warming Debate

Marten Law: Preemption of Regional Climate Compacts -- A Hot Topic in the Global Warming Debate

   By Steve Jones.

"With Senators Kerry (D-Mass.), Graham (R-S.C.) and Lieberman's (I-Conn.) climate change legislation reportedly set to be introduced in the near future", writes Steve Jones, "a number of state officials have openly expressed concern about the effect the legislation might have on the existing cap and trade systems and regulations being developed by the regional climate change programs formed in the past few years by a number of states and Canadian provinces."

"The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), and the Midwest Greenhouse Gas Accord (MGGA) were all developed in response to a lack of federal action on climate change issues," explains the author, a partner with Marten Law PLLC. "RGGI, which is based primarily in the Northeast, is the only one of the three programs to have adopted cap and trade rules and to have held carbon auctions. State attorneys general in all of the RGGI states, along with the heads of the environmental protection agencies in those same states, have signed letters urging the Senate not to enact federal climate legislation in such a way as to override RGGI's existing initiatives. In addition, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and 13 of his colleagues have also asked that any new federal climate legislation ensure 'equity for these states that have taken early action to address carbon pollution at their own expense.'"

"One of the primary concerns of environmentalists and state officials involved in ongoing climate change efforts within RGGI, WCI and MGGA is the extent to which federal legislation will pre-empt those existing efforts. However, with the regional compacts themselves in various degrees of upheaval, about the only thing certain is that nothing is certain yet," cautions Jones.

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Steven Jones, a partner with Marten Law PLLC, is the chair of the firm's litigation department. He has handled complex environmental and land use litigation for both public and private clients for 15 years.

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