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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Global Warming Environmental Justice Allowance Reserve

AAEA believes 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. Some environmental justice groups oppose cap-and-trade programs.

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 emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury.

AAEA has been registered in the EPA Acid Rain Program for years.

The EJAR program will leverage allowances and resources to promote environmental justice practices and projects designed to:

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

EPA could 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. Significant participation in the EJAR will indicate that utilities, automakers and others are not Hot Spot plants or disproportionate emissions contributors to vulnerable communities.

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