BOSTON — A multi-state agreement calls for a 45 percent reduction next year in allowable greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative announced Thursday would lower the cap on carbon dioxide emissions from 165 million tons to 91 million tons in 2014.
The states agreed to further reduce the cap by 2.5 percent per year from 2015-2020.
According to a news statement, Maine's Energy Director Patrick Woodcock announced Maine will be part of the pledge if major reforms are enacted to reduce energy costs in Maine.
The nine Northeast and mid-Atlantic states that participate in the cap-and-trade agreement are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.
The initiative is the nation's first market-based greenhouse gas regulatory program. Backers say it has cut emissions by 30 percent in past several years and reduced average electricity prices by 10 percent.
The governor's office says it is introducing legislation that would channel revenue from the initiative's auctions toward reducing electricity rates for businesses and heating costs for families in Maine.