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News Release
Office of the Governor
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release: December 22, 2006
Contact: Jeff Neal 222-2080

Governor's Initiative Will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Governor Donald L. Carcieri today announced that the Rhode Island air pollution control regulations have been amended to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The updated regulations take effect in 20 days.

With these new amendments filed today by the Department of Environmental Management, Rhode Island joins eight other states in adopting the California's greenhouse gas emission standards by the end of 2005. Governor Carcieri announced in October that he planned to amend the state's air pollution control regulations and adopt the California standards.

"Emissions from motor vehicles represent the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Rhode Island. In amending our state's air pollution control regulations, we are directly addressing this issue," Governor Carcieri said.

"These new California emissions standards, which are the toughest in the nation, will significantly lower the amount of pollution and greenhouse gas that are emitted from vehicles purchased in this state. This will improve the air quality for all Rhode Islanders."

"These new standards are an important step towards my goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Governor Carcieri said. "Not only will we see a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles when the standards are fully implemented, but consumers will save money when they purchase new vehicles."

The new emissions standards limit the amount of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and certain air conditioning refrigerants emitted by the fleets of vehicles sold by auto manufacturers. This includes medium-duty weight class vehicles.

Standards will be phased in over the 2009 through 2016 model year period, although auto manufacturers can meet the new requirements with existing technology, some of which is already being used on vehicles today, the Governor said. The amendments will apply to new vehicles sold in Rhode Island beginning with model year 2009.

While the cost of new vehicles meeting the greenhouse gas standards is expected to increase approximately $1,000 by 2016, that increase will be offset by increased fuel efficiencies with these more fuel-efficient vehicles. With gasoline at $2.20 per gallon, a vehicle owner can expect to save $170 per year during a five-year loan period.

W. Michael Sullivan, Ph.D., Director of DEM, said, "The transportation sector contributes almost 40 percent of Rhode Island's greenhouse gas emissions. Regulating emissions from new vehicles is a very efficient and effective means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This program gives us more than two to two-and-a-half times the reduction than any other program in the state's Greenhouse Gas Action Plan."

Governor Carcieri and his administration have taken a number of steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Rhode Island. In addition to updating air pollution control regulations, Governor Carcieri signed into law in June a renewable energy standard that will gradually increase the amount of renewable energy provided to Rhode Islanders from two to 16 percent by 2020. He also directed that energy to power the State House be powered by renewable energy sources.

In August, Governor Carcieri issued two Executive Orders that require all new state vehicles be powered by alternative fuels or be hybrid electric vehicles and that the state take energy-efficiency measures for new or renovated state buildings.

In 2001, Rhode Island signed the Climate Change Action Plan adopted by the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers. That plan set greenhouse gas reduction goals for the region as the following: reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, and reducing emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Rhode Island's Greenhouse Gas Action Plan contains 52 options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The reductions that will take place by adopting the California greenhouse gas standards, in addition to the California LEV II regulations, adopted last year, will significantly contribute to meeting Rhode Island's targets. In addition to the LEV II regulations, which reduce hydrocarbon emissions, in 2004 the Governor also directed that renewable energy be used to power the State House for the next five years.

With today's announcement, Rhode Island joins Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington in adopting the California emissions standards by the end of 2005.


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