Reducing Impacts

Maine DEP’s GHG Emission Reduction Regulations :: Maine DEP Comments on EPA Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule

Reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

“Greenhouse Gases” trap heat in the atmosphere. Currently regulated GHGs include:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
  • Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)

Maine law (38 MRSA  576) set goals to reduce GHG emissions statewide:

  1. In the short term, by January 1, 2010 to 1990 levels;
  2. In the medium term, by January 1, 2020 to 10% below 1990 levels; and
  3. In the long term, reduction sufficient to eliminate any dangerous threat to the climate. To accomplish this goal, reduction to 75% to 80% below 2003 levels may be required.

The Department provides biennial reports to the Legislature, evaluating the State's progress toward meeting our reduction goals. Seventh Biennial Report on Progress Toward Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals (pdf)

The Department’s latest Biennial Report shows that Maine met the first goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels.
chart showing greenhouse gas emissions in Maine 1990-2010

Carbon dioxide, emitted when we use fuels for energy, accounts for most GHGs.

Almost 150 facilities with air emission licenses annually report their GHG emissions to the Maine DEP. Facility emission reports.

Maine is one of twelve states that adopted the California Low Emission Vehicle standards (see Department Rule Chapter 127). The DEP incorporated updated standards issued by California in 2012.

Maine DEP’s GHG Emission Reduction Regulations

Maine is a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cooperative effort by nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to limit greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI is the first mandatory, market-based CO2 emissions reduction program in the United States.

Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont are signatory states to the RGGI agreement. These nine states cap CO2 emissions from the power sector to 91 million tons per yearand then require a 10 percent reduction in these emissions by 2020.

A report issued in November 2012, estimates that RGGI investments will offset the need for more than 27 million megawatt hours of electricity generation and 26.7 million British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy generation. This savings will help avoid the emission of 12 million short tons of carbon dioxide pollution, an amount equivalent to taking 2 million passenger vehicles off the road for one year.

Within the RGGI region, CO2 emissions from RGGI sources have decreased by more than 30 percent from baseline levels.

In addition to their environmental impact, RGGI investments have also had a positive impact on consumer energy bills and the regional clean energy economy.

Maine rules (offsite) for RGGI:

  • Ch. 156 CO2 Budget Trading Program
  • Ch. 157 CO2 Budget Trading Program Waiver and Suspension
  • Ch. 158 CO2 Budget Trading Program Auction Provisions

RGGI contact: Marc Cone 207-287-1932

Air Emissions Permitting
In addition to participating in RGGI, air emission sources throughout the state may need to obtain a license from the department. Maine has had an existing licensing program in place since the early 1970's for the licensing of major and minor sources of air pollution. In the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, licensing was mandated for major sources. Maine has been given the authority over this program in 38 M.R.S.A. Section 344 and 590 and requires Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for projects that exceed specified CO2 thresholds.

  • Ch. 115 Major and Minor Source Air Emission License Regulations
  • Ch. 140 Part 70 Air Emission License Regulations

Air permitting contact: Eric Kennedy (207)287-5412

Maine DEP Comments on EPA Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule

  • The EPA is proposing state-specific rate-based goals for CO2 emissions from the power sector, as well as guidelines for states to follow in developing plans to achieve the state-specific goals
  • The proposed guidelines are based on and would reinforce actions already being taken by states and utilities to upgrade aging electricity infrastructure with 21st century technologies
  • The proposal has two main elements: (1) State-specific emission rate-based CO2 goals; and (2) guidelines for the development, submission and implementation of state plans
  • EPA has identified four facilities in Maine as ‘affected facilities’
  • Staff within the Air Bureau and the OC have been reviewing this proposed rule and drafting comments for possible submission to the EPA
  • Maine is participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  This program is a mass-based cap and trade CO2 emissions regulatory system applying to fossil fuel fired electrical generating assets on a regional basis 
  • The Department expects Maine to be well positioned to meet the proposed goal of reducing average CO2 emission rate from generating assets approximately 14% by 2030 through continued participation in RGGI, and with significant wind generating and other renewable assets being developed 
  • In addition, Maine has been actively promoting programs that reduce electrical load by encouraging energy efficiency throughout the economy, relying on the industrial, commercial, institutional and residential sectors to achieve demand reduction.

DEP Comments to EPA on proposed Clean Power Plan, Clean Air Act Section 111(d)

EPA Carbon Pollution Standards

Other Resources

Energy Efficiency and Alternative Energy Programs

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency GHG Emission Reduction Regulations

Transportation Programs

New England Governors' and Eastern Canadian Premiers