Northeast states crafting plan to cut CO2 emissions from power plants

The cantankerous Northeast — last seen suing the U.S. EPA over mercury regulations — is at it again. Fed up with the feds, nine states in the region have preliminarily agreed to reduce their carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants. The coalition — organized by New York Gov. George Pataki (R), whose presidential ambitions are no secret — proposes to cap annual CO2 output from the region’s power plants at 150 million tons beginning in 2009, then cut that figure 10 percent by 2020. Each state’s legislature would have to approve the market-based scheme, which could land on their desks by September. Though proponents acknowledge that the move won’t single-handedly solve the looming global climate crisis, they hope other states will admire their “American ingenuity” and follow suit; California, Oregon, and Washington are already considering a similar measure. As for the big guys, “We welcome all efforts to help meet the president’s goal for significantly reducing greenhouse-gas intensity,” said James Connaughton of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Replied the Northeast: “Pfft.”