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Northeast Cuts Power Plant Polluting Allowances

Gerald Simmons/Flickr

Less carbon dioxide is polluting the air in the Northeast, prompting state environmental officials to catch up by cutting allowances for emissions in one of only two cap-and-trade programs in the United States.

Officials in all six New England states and Delaware, Maryland and New York are putting in place new rules taking pollution allowances out of circulation and reducing the 2014 limit on emissions to 91 million tons of carbon dioxide from 165 million tons, which reflects emissions levels.

An auction is scheduled for September for power plants to buy allowances to emit carbon dioxide. The nine-state region operates under rules of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

The recession and weak recovery that cut economic activity and shifts to natural gas have contributed significantly to reduced carbon emissions.

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