State Capitol News
1:45 am
Wed September 24, 2008

Western Climate Initiative Unveiled

Phoenix, AZ – A new proposal unveiled today is designed to cut greenhouse gas
emissions here and elsewhere in the region. Arizona Public
Radio's Howard Fischer explains what the program does.


The Western Climate Initiative is based on the premise that a
sharp drop is needed in carbon dioxide and other gases to prevent
global warming. It calls for a cap and trade system in
particpating states, including Arizona. Manufacturers, utilities
and others would be limited to current greenhouse gas emissions.
Then in 2012 they would have to start reducing that by
percentages yet to be set. Those that cannot make the reductions
could purchase credits from firms that have exceeded the quotas.
All that still leaves the question of whether Gov. Janet
Napolitano, a supporter of the plan, can enact it unilaterally.
Steve Owens, the governor's director of the Department of
Environmental Quality, said he thinks she can.

(The existing statutes are very broad in terms of what's
considered an air pollutant, it's been very clear not just based
on the U.S. Supreme Court decision but EPA itself, even though it
hasn't acted, in saying that carbon dioxide is a pollutantant
under the federal Clean Air Act.)

Napolitano isn't saying what she plans to do next other than
study the 122-page recommendation and decide what, if anything to
take to the Legislature or the Arizona Corporation Commission
which would have to approve any increase in utility costs. For
Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.

optional announcer tag: We'll have reaction to the plan in the
morning from both business and envirnomental groups.