In May 2002, New Hampshire became the first state in the country to adopt rules to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants. The new law establishes a multiple pollutant reduction program. In addition to CO2, the final version of the new law (HB284, NH Laws of 2002, Chapter 130) establishes caps on emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by existing fossil fuel electric power plants and also requires a reduction in mercury pollution. This law permits the banking and trading of emissions reductions credits to achieve compliance with the caps. The NH Department of Environmental Services is directed to establish an integrated strategy to reduce emissions, including the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy. The new law went into effect July 1, 2002.
The bill puts in place the following caps:
- 7,289 tons annually of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions [a 75% reduction above and beyond the Phase II requirements of Title IV of the federal Clean Air Act];
- 3,644 tons annually of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions[a 90% reduction of total NOx emissions since 1990];
- An annual cap on total mercury emissions from all affected sources burning coal as a fuel, to be recommended by the department not more than 60 days following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulation establishing a Maximum Achievable Control Technology standard for mercury emissions from utility boilers, but in no case later than March 31, 2004, with timely consideration by the legislature expected by July 1, 2005; and
- 5,425,866 tons annually of CO2 emissions from the affected sources until December 31, 2010 [a reduction to 1990 levels]. A lower CO2 cap for after 2010 will be recommended by March 31, 2004, with timely consideration by the legislature expected by July 1, 2005.