Calling Governor Patrick: Hold the Line Against Dirty Fuels in Massachusetts!

Sep 4, 2014 by  | Bio |  1 Comment »

Today 15 environmental organizations, including CLF, submitted this letter to Governor Deval Patrick. The letter calls on Governor Patrick to step up and take action against the anticipated entry of high-carbon tar sands–derived fuels into the Commonwealth’s fuel supply.

Massachusetts has taken some important steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – leadership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act, the recent Zero Emissions Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding, to name a few), but those excellent initiatives could be undermined if high-carbon fuels derived from tar sands enter our fuel supply. A recent report shows that by 2020, these dirty fuels could make up 11.5 to 18 percent of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic market – compared to less than 1 percent in 2012. This huge change comes with major climate impacts: enough additional carbon pollution to wipe out the gains under RGGI. Action must be taken to prevent this onslaught of dirty fuels from undoing the hard-won efforts Massachusetts is pursuing to reduce climate impacts.

While Governor Patrick showed initial leadership in pursuing regional policy solutions to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels, including initiating a memorandum of understanding on the development of a regional Clean Fuels Standard (signed by 11 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states), Massachusetts has yet to take action to adopt that policy. Given the incredible risk presented by the introduction of tar sands–derived fuels into the local fuel mix, now is the time for Governor Patrick to act. In our letter, the environmental community calls on Governor Patrick take the immediate step of beginning to track the sources and carbon intensity of our fuels, as well as to establish a mandate that the carbon intensity of our transportation fuel mix can’t get worse.

Recent letters from Governor Shumlin and Governor Hassan show that regional support is building for this effort, and that Governor Patrick can and should step up and be accountable for the climate impacts of Massachusetts’ fuel supply. We’re looking to Governor Patrick to reclaim his leadership role on this issue, starting with a commitment to take action immediately.

Progress on the Road to a Regional Clean Fuels Standard

Apr 25, 2012 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Image courtesy of epSos.de @ flickr.

New Englanders are driving and emitting more pollution every day. Emissions from New England’s transportation sector – the fastest growing emissions sector — produce about 40% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the region, more than half of which comes from passenger cars. This is a problem for New England’s people, environment and economy.

That is why CLF has been working hard with a coalition of environmental advocacy organizations to support the creation of a Clean Fuels Standard (CFS) in eleven Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. A successful CFS would achieve several mutually reinforcing goals:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector through the promotion of alternative fuels (such as electricity, advanced biofuels, and natural gas);
  • Drive regional economic growth; and
  • Ensure energy security and insulate residents of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states from rising oil prices.

This week, the CFS advocacy coalition – comprised of CLF, PennFuture, Environment Northeast, Environmental Entrepreneurs, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environment America, and Ceres – welcomed good news regarding litigation in California over the CA Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). On Monday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a motion to stay sought by the State of California and its co-appellants (including CLF, who is a party to the CA litigation). This decision blocked the injunction granted by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, which prevented CA from enforcing its LCFS regulations while the appeal was pending.

In real terms, as a result of the Ninth Circuit’s decision, the LCFS will be alive and well in CA while the Appeals Court considers the merits of the case – a significant victory for California, CLF, and the other appellants, and a positive step toward combating climate change in the transportation sector.

CLF and its partners also made important strides this week toward promoting a regional CFS by standing up against threats from the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), a trade association comprised of fossil fuel interests and affiliated with organizations like the American Petroleum Institute. CEA (along with the American Fuels and Petrochemical Manufacturers, American Trucking Associations, and the Center for North American Energy Security), is an opposing party in the California litigation described above.

Earlier this month, the CEA contacted Attorneys General in all of the states participating in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic CFS program, spreading misinformation about the California litigation and threatening to lodge a similar battle against a CFS program in our region. CLF and its allies responded strongly with a response letter to the Attorneys General, making clear that CEA severely mischaracterized the direction of the CA litigation and its implications for the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region. In fact, the CA litigation is not a predictor of the legality of fuel standards still under development in other locations, and resource-specific regional differences between the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region and California undercut CEA’s claims. The Massachusetts version of the letter to the Attorneys General is available here.

CLF believes that a regional CFS is a crucial means of significantly reducing the region’s dependence on oil, transportation costs, and greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time providing consumers more choices. CLF will continue to work with allies to ensure that the CFS program progresses in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

New Report Shows Economic, Enviro Benefits of Regional Clean Fuels Standard

Aug 18, 2011 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

A new report released today indicates that a proposed Clean Fuels Standard could significantly strengthen the economy and boost energy self-sufficiency in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic by saving Americans billions in personal disposable income, bringing in billions more for participating states, and creating up to 50,000 jobs per year.

The analysis, conducted by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) on behalf of 11 northeast and mid-Atlantic states, shows that creating a Clean Fuels Standard would help strengthen the region’s economy while reducing America’s reliance on oil and our exposure to volatile oil prices by supporting a clean energy economy here at home.

It enumerates multiple economic and environmental benefits the standard could deliver in the next 10 years, including:

  • Creating up to 50,000 jobs annually
  • Increasing personal disposable income in the region by up to $3.2 billion
  • Growing our state economies by up to nearly $30 billion dollars
  • Reducing our region’s dependence on oil by as much as 29 percent
  • Reducing harmful air pollution that causes climate change up to 9 percent

Under a Clean Fuels Standard being considered, oil companies would make their fuels 10 percent cleaner on average when it comes to carbon pollution, allowing them to do this any way they choose (such as boosting sales of electricity for electric vehicles, advanced biofuels or natural gas). This means billions of dollars would be reinvested in the states to develop clean, local alternatives to gasoline and diesel – rather than sending them overseas.

CLF is encouraged by the report’s positive findings. Sue Reid, director of CLF Massachusetts, said, “The status quo of continuing to burn billions of gallons of gasoline and diesel fuels year after year is unsustainable on every level. With gas prices a dollar higher than this time last year, our region should seize on this good news that cleaner alternatives present real economic opportunity for the region. A Clean Fuels Standard provides a viable path to meeting our greenhouse gas reduction targets, and a way off of the fossil fuel roller coaster.”

Read reaction from other leading environmental and science organizations who support the Clean Fuels Standard here.