Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Environmental Justice Amendment For Global Warming Bill

AAEA is promoting a very important amendment to the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 (S. 3036), the global warming bill being debated in the U.S. Senate right now. Many believe that climate change legislation and regulation will need to address environmental justice concerns related to the perception that emission trading programs cause disproportionate pollution from older, dirtier plants to negatively impact low-income and minority communities. There is also widespread belief that global warming and climate change will disproportionately affect low-income and minority communities.

AAEA is recommending an Environmental Justice Allowance Reserve (EJAR) to address the racial 'Hot Spots' issue. These allowances would come from a special reserve, similar to the current Acid Rain Program Renewable Energy and Conservation Reserve, when the initial allowance allocation is made. They would be awarded to utilities, automakers and others that undertake environmental justice practices and programs designed to mitigate or prevent price shocks, increase the installation of pollution control equipment, promote community education and enhance health-related activities. Utilities and automakers could choose to work with organizations and businesses that conduct environmental justice activities related to climate change mitigation and reductions in other emissions, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury.

As an alternative to legislation and as an insurance policy in case climate change legislation does not pass, AAEA has developed a voluntary EJAR program that provides a platform for utilities, automakers and communities to address and influence the Hot Spots issue. Any utility, automaker or citizen can: sell to, donate or purchase compliance allowances from, the voluntary AAEA-EJAR or otherwise support the EJAR program. AAEA is currently meeting with interested stakeholders to develop EJAR projects. AAEA has also developed an emissions trading platform to directly facilitate exchanges. The AAEA EJAR program will leverage allowances and resources to promote environmental justice practices and projects designed to:

1) Increase the installation of pollution control equipment,
2) Promote community education and
3) Enhance health-related activities.

AAEA will alert businesses, mayors, states, civil rights groups, environmental justice organizations, Congress and the general public about innovative methods for participating in this program, enhancing electricity production, auto emissions reductions and protecting constituent communities.

Allowances are fully marketable commodities. Once allocated, allowances may be bought, sold, traded, or banked for use in future years. Allowances may not be used for compliance prior to the calendar year for which they are allocated.

Participation in the EJAR will clearly show that a utility or automaker is exceeding emission compliance and is willing to include AAEA in the emission trading market. Significant participation in the EJAR will indicate that a utility's or automaker's units are not Hot Spot plants or emissions contributors. AAEA will publicize the EJAR participant list and projects.

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