NH bill restricts ability for state to join LCFS programs

By Erin Voegele | June 13, 2012

The New Hampshire legislature recently passed legislation (HB 1487) that aims to prohibit the state from participating in any low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) programs that require quotas, caps or mandates on transportation fuels, fuels used for industrial purposes or fuels used for home heating without authorization from the legislature. LCFS programs, such as the one adopted by California, can help create market demand for biofuels and other alternative fuels.

While the legislation prevents the state from participating in a LCFS without authorization from the state legislature, it does allow the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to engage in regional and national discussions of such programs. In the bill, the department is directed to report all expenses resulting from its LCFS discussions to the fiscal committee of the general court on a semi-annual basis.

Work to develop a LCFS in the Northeast has been ongoing for years. In late 2009, governors representing Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) committing to develop a regional LCFS. The MOU stated the overall goal of the program was to reduce the average carbon intensity of transportation fuels.

New Hampshire House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, and House Majority Leader Pete Silva, R-Nashua, have spoken out in support of the bill, stating that such programs increase the price of fuels.

“In 2009, Governor Lynch began the process of raising the price of gas and heating fuel by implementing this absurd scheme known as low carbon fuel standards,” said O’Brien. “Now is certainly not the time to be raising the price at the gas pump. We should be looking for ways to increase production of gas and heating oil, not trying to find ways to restrict it."


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