It’s Wednesday, December 19, and northeastern states are hatching a plan to get transportation emissions under control. 

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In a landmark agreement, nine northeastern and mid-Atlantic states, plus Washington, D.C., agreed to create a system to impose limits on transportation emissions, which account for the largest portion of the country’s carbon pollution.

The governors leading the coalition of states — from Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia — announced that they will establish a “cap-and-invest” program to slash emissions from the region’s cars and trucks and also provide much-needed funding for clean transportation solutions like bike lanes, electric cars, and public transit. The system would limit greenhouse gas emissions from burning fuels like gasoline and diesel largely by requiring fuel distributors to pay for pollution.

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“As climate pollution rises, it’s more important than ever that state leaders take action to address climate change,” said Mark Kresowik, regional deputy director of the Sierra Club. “And that’s exactly what the Northeast is doing.”

A detailed plan should be ready within a year. After that, states will decide whether to formally adopt the policy. The hope is that after these states make this initiative official, others will join the movement to clean up our transportation systems soon after.

Paola Rosa-Aquino

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