In the absence of federal leadership on climate change issues, New Hampshire yesterday passed a precedent-setting bill to curb global warming. The measure, which was approved 21-2 by the state Senate, was supported by a broad bipartisan coalition, the state’s largest environmental groups, and its largest utility, Public Service Company of New Hampshire. It would require Public Service to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels (about a 3 percent reduction) by 2007, as well as cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 75 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 70 percent. If the utility failed to meet those targets, it could buy credits from out-of-state utilities that had cleaned up their acts. The company estimates that compliance would cost about $5 million per year and add about 40 cents per month to customers’ electric bills. Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) promised to sign the bill and urged other states — especially those upwind of New Hampshire — to pass similar measures.

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