Pennsylvania, States Sign MOU on Low Carbon Fuel Standard

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell has signed a memorandum of understanding with 10 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states committing to a regional effort to develop a comprehensive, regional low carbon fuel standard to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation fuels.

The states include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

"This regional effort marks the next step in Pennsylvania's remarkable transition to a green energy economy," Rendell said. "As Pennsylvania works closely with our northeastern neighbors to develop a standard for the entire region, we can grow our economy at the same time we protect the planet."

A low carbon fuel standard is a market-based, technologically neutral policy to reduce the average lifecycle GHG gas emissions of a unit of useful energy. The lifecycle concept of the GHG "footprint" includes all possible causes of emissions, direct (on-site, internal) and indirect (off-site, external, embodied, upstream, downstream). Transportation fuels contribute about 30 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Based on letters of intent signed a year ago, Pennsylvania and the other states have already begun preliminary work toward designing a low carbon fuel standard. The memorandum of understanding is the next step, establishing a process to develop a regional framework by 2011 and examine the economic impacts of a standard program.

Pennsylvania already is making strides in the production of lower-carbon fuels. Starting in January, all diesel fuel sold in the state must contain at least 2 percent biodiesel, since in-state production capacity hit 40 million gallons a year at the end of 2008.

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