Greenhouse Gas Initiative After Kain v. DEP

Following the SJC’s ruling in Kain v. DEP that MassDEP had failed to properly implement the Global Warming Solutions Act which required regulations that “establish volumetric limits on multiple sources of greenhouse gas emissions sources (that) decline on an annual basis,” Governor Baker issued Executive Order No. 569 that required inter alia MassDEP to promulgate regulations to satisfy the 2020 state-wide carbon reduction targets. MassDEP has issued draft regulations designed to obtain greenhouse gas reductions in the natural gas, transportation and electricity generation sectors. The final regulations are expected by August 2017. The proposed GHG regulations require reductions:
• in CO2 emissions by Mass DOT and the MBTA and from state fleet vehicles;
• in sulfur hexafluoride emissions from leaking gas-insulated switchgears by National Grid and Eversource;
• in methane emissions from gas mains and service lines; and
• GHG emissions from large power plants (23 existing and all new facilities).
The regulations would increase “clean energy” (renewables and hydropower) from 16% in 2018 to 80% in 2050 provided by retail electricity providers, distributors, competitive suppliers and municipal light plants through the use of clean energy credits.