New Model Laws from the LPDD Team
Since the last newsletter update, the LPDD team has published six new model legal documents. The new resources are listed below:
- Model State Electric Decarbonization Statute: This model state electric decarbonization statute is based on 2019 legislation enacted in Washington State, the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), which commits that state to a retail electricity supply entirely free of greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. Where appropriate, the document references provisions from this and other similar decarbonization statutes to highlight key principles and policy options, including options for states regarding the phaseout of coal; nearer-term GHG neutrality and longer-term GHG phaseout; integration with regional energy markets; compliance options; the role of hydroelectricity and nuclear generation; protections for vulnerable populations and highly-impacted communities; and more.
- Model Federal Hydrogen Refueling Station Funding Act: This model statute creates a federal capital grant program to provide developers of fueling stations with funding to defray half of the costs of equipping stations with hydrogen refueling infrastructure along the Federal Highway Administration’s designated alternative fuel corridors. The statute proposes allocating a total of $2.5 billion in the first six years of the program, such that the funding may incentivize the completed development of more than 1,500 hydrogen stations nationwide within a decade of its enactment.
- Model Federal Statute Providing Tax Credits for Hydrogen Refueling Stations: This model statute would provide financial assistance for the development of hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the U.S. by creating a tax credit equal to 30 percent of the capital costs of stationary hydrogen refueling infrastructure equipment, including the equipment itself and any shipping, installation, commissioning, or other standard service costs included by the equipment supplier in the purchase of the equipment. The credit would be available for tax years beginning after December 31, 2020, and remain available for a period of ten years, expiring on December 31, 2030.
- Model Green Bank State and Local Legislation: This model legislation provides the legislative structure to establish a green bank following the nonprofit model and takes its basic structure from the Nevada Clean Energy Fund legislation. The provisions contained herein can also be used by state and local lawmakers and regulators alike for purposes of establishing and structuring a public or quasi-public green bank through either the legislative or regulatory process. Provisions from proposed federal legislation and green bank legislation enacted in certain other states have been incorporated to provide flexibility based on a given locality’s resources, political and environmental goals, and unique geographical considerations.
- Model Amendments to the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships: This model legislation requires promulgation of U.S. regulations to require reporting to the United States of ship fuel oil consumption data and CO2 emissions data from ships calling on U.S. ports, and to make the data publicly available, referred to as a monitoring, reporting, and verification framework. The model legislation includes elements of a CO2 emissions data program implemented in the European Union, and can be viewed as complementing related reporting required under international law.
- Model Conservation Easement Grant with Declaration of Covenants: This Model Grant of Conservation Easement and Declaration of Covenants was developed by the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, and adapted by our team to enhance terms that promote biological carbon sequestration. Easements are legally binding agreements designed to protect private land — for example, by restricting future development in environmentally sensitive areas — where all future owners of a land under an easement remain legally bound by the terms of that contract. They can be executed in exchange for a different consideration, typically tax deductions, and used to protect land that serves carbon sequestration purposes.
Highlighted New External Resources
LPDD.org is being continually updated with new, external legal resources. Below is a brief selection of recently added resources of special interest.
- Report, Climate Reregulation in a Biden Administration: This August 2020 report from the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law charts a course for executive action that would reverse the deregulatory agenda of the Trump Administration. This report’s suggestions include, at the outset, executive actions for the President himself to take, followed by steps that each affected agency can take. Examples of such actions include rejoining the Paris Agreement, reapplying protections to various categories of public lands, reinstating or revisiting greenhouse gas emission standards for various major sources, revising energy efficiency standards to comport with the law, reestablishing processes to assess and account for environmental and public health impacts resulting from federal decisions, and enhancing resilience and equity through planning and standards for decision-making. The report includes, as an appendix, a draft executive order that President Biden could issue on his first day in office to instantly revoke as many of President Trump’s deregulatory actions as legally possible, reset policies for the entire federal government, and promptly begin the critical work of setting the United States on a path toward addressing the climate crisis.
- California’s “At Berth” Regulation for Ports: In August, the California Air Resources Board approved a new regulation designed to reduce pollution from ocean-going vessels while docked at California’s busiest ports. The rule builds on CARB’s At-Berth Regulation adopted in 2007. The rule requires that every vessel coming into a regulated California port either use shore power (e.g., plug-in to the local electrical grid) or a CARB-approved control technology to reduce harmful emissions. These include diesel particulate matter, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) oxides of nitrogen (NOx, a precursor to smog), reactive organic gases (ROG, another precursor to smog), greenhouse gases, and oxides of sulfur (SOx).
- Massachusetts Clean Peak Standard: While we have been tracking the development of the Massachusetts CPS over the past months, we’re excited to see that this first-in-the-nation standard has been finalized. The CPS will require retail electricity providers to meet a baseline minimum percentage of sales with qualified clean peak resources that dispatch or discharge electricity to the electric distribution system during seasonal peak periods. By targeting peak energy demand rather than total, Massachusetts is helping minimize the emissions of the dirtiest “peaker” power plants on the system.
- NYISO Market Rules for Energy Storage: In response to FERC’s Order 841, in September the New York Independent System Operator announced the final step in a years-long process to open the NYISO’s wholesale energy markets to Energy Storage Resources. This development makes the NYISO the first grid operator (ISO/RTO) to allow full participation of these resources in energy, capacity, and ancillary services markets.
- SoCal Edison’s Charge Ready 2 Program: In August, the California PUC approved a $437 million effort to build thousands of electric vehicle chargers, the nation’s largest utility program to expand charging infrastructure. The money will go to utility Southern California Edison to fund the installation of nearly 40,000 chargers. The program will help the state achieve its goal of putting 5 million zero-emissions vehicles on the road by 2030. Half of the investment must take place in low-income communities, and 30% will be dedicated to multi-family residences, where it is more difficult to charge an EV.
- Maryland Proposed Methane Leak Regulations: In August, The Maryland Dept. of Environment proposed regulations to reduce methane emissions from energy infrastructure and operations. The proposed regulation will establish requirements to reduce vented and “fugitive” (or leaked) emissions of methane from both new and existing energy facilities. Maryland estimates the proposed methane regulations will potentially prevent up to 5,000 metric tons of methane emissions per year through leak surveys, replacement of leaking equipment and components and inspections.
- Report, The Climate Case for a National Investment Authority: In continuing to monitor proposals for a green recovery, we highlight this August report from Data for Progress discussing the creation of a National Investment Authority (NIA): a public entity that would design, execute, and finance a comprehensive nationwide program of environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive growth and revival. Drawing on the experience of the New Deal era’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), the NIA offers a novel institutional solution to multiple organizational, financial, and operational challenges associated with an ambitious national project to combat climate change.
Rewiring Law to Fight Climate Change (Wed. Sept. 23, 8:00 – 9:30 AM on Zoom): Michael Gerrard will be presenting the LPDD project on a panel organized by the Chancery Lane Project. The Chancery Lane Project and LPDD are two complementary efforts that lawyers can support to help write model laws and contracts to support decarbonization. This event will explore the role that New York lawyers can play in fighting climate change through both of these projects.
Bay Area Chapter Climate Reality Webinar: This summer, Michael Gerrard, John Dernbach, and Jordan Gerow held a webinar with the Climate Reality Project’s Bay Area Chapter, presenting about the LPDD text, model law project, and website. The recorded webinar is a good introduction to the project and how to use LPDD.org to search model laws on different topics. It is available to view on Youtube.