House winds up agreeing with Senate on RGGI.
Governor Lynch said he would sign the bill, which gives power plant owners up to three years to buy allowances if they are unable to reduce enough carbon dioxide emissions on their own.
"Cutting greenhouse gas pollution is the right thing to do for the health of our citizens, the health of our environment and the health of our economy," Lynch said in a statement.
Under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative measure, known as RGGI (House Bill 1434), New Hampshire would join nine other states in capping carbon emissions. Producers would have to bid at an auction for an allowance to emit carbon. Money raised at the auctions would go toward energy conservation efforts with the aim of offsetting the carbon produced. But if the price of allowances rises too high, the surplus money would be rebated to ratepayers.
At issue was how costly should allowances have to sell for before the rebates begin, The House originally capped allowances at $12. The Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire was pushing for $2. The Senate set it at $6, with some assurance that the Public Utilities Commission could rebate the money at a lower price if the state can't find a way to spend the money raised and if the PUC could let the utilities operate anyway if the market trading results in an allowance shortage. In the end, the House agreed to the Senate's cap.
The price target is expected to create an energy efficiency fund of $120 million next year.
But critics, such as Senate Republican Leader Ted Gatsas. charged that will not reduce pollution. "This is a tax on dirty air." Gatsas said. "At some point, businesses are going to start to leave;'