Climate Change State Policy Update 2011

Climate Change: State Policy Update 2011


NCSL Staff Contact

Glen Andersen
Jocelyn Durkay

Updated August 2011

In January 2011, a rule giving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) power to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act took effect. As this federal initiative emerged, many states responded by considering or adopting resolutions and legislation that reflect their concerns with EPA’s efforts. Most often, states have introduced and passed resolutions requesting EPA to delay or postpone rule implementation or for Congress to impose a moratorium on EPA’s regulatory actions related to greenhouse gas emissions. Some states have also considered bills and resolutions urging Congress to support the new rules.

Although EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions has been the focus of state climate change resolutions, many states are taking the initiative to create their own greenhouse gas limitations and reduction programs. State action was stronger in 2010 than in 2011, however at least ten states still considered creating programs to reduce emissions in 2011. A few states considered bills to repeal existing greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs. Policymakers in some states continue to introduce resolutions opposing cap-and-trade legislation, however there was less attention in 2011 than in 2010, while consideration of carbon capture and storage legislation remained about the same in 2010 and 2011.

Climate Change Resolutions

In 2010, 18 states considered and six states adopted resolutions expressing the legislature’s position against the EPA greenhouse gas emission regulations, or urging Congress to prevent, postpone or delay implementation. This trend was even stronger in 2011 as 21 states introduced and 12 states adopted similar resolutions. On the other hand, four states considered—South Carolina adopted—resolutions encouraging adoption of EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions regulations in 2010. Illinois and Michigan considered similar resolutions in 2011.

There was less state action supporting general climate change legislation in 2011 than in 2010. In 2010, 8 states considered (only California adopted) resolutions directly indicating support of climate change legislation. Vermont was the only state in 2011 to consider and adopt a similar resolution. Four states considered resolutions in 2010 supporting federal legislation that addresses the consequences of climate change and promotes innovative energy development, as long as it did not preempt states’ rights to control emissions. Colorado and Hawaii adopted these resolutions.

Six states considered resolutions in 2010 that expressed the need to approach global climate change in a fair and effective way, while just one state, Illinois, considered a similar resolution in 2011. Only South Carolina and Tennessee adopted the resolutions in 2010.

More states considered resolutions opposing cap-and-trade in 2010 than in 2011. In 2010, 13 states considered and 6 six states adopted resolutions opposing cap-and-trade, while only three states—Georgia, New Hampshire and South Carolina—considered similar resolutions in 2011. Some states, however, considered bills as opposed to resolutions that addressed cap-and-trade, which are discussed later.

Table 1 below outlines key climate change resolutions adopted in 2010, and Table 2 includes pending and adopted resolutions in 2011.

Actions to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In 2010, at least 20 states considered bills that set emissions reduction standards, required a greenhouse gas inventory to be created, or established an act to reduce emissions. At least six states enacted bills.

California created the Sonoma County Climate Protection Authority to coordinate and implement activities to help agencies meet emissions reduction goals (AB 881). In Colorado, HB 1365 (enacted) created incentives for electric utilities to reduce emissions.

Louisiana enacted a bill (HB 733) authorizing carbon sequestration participation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and Maine implemented efficient building practices to meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals (SB 341). In anticipation of the new U.S. EPA greenhouse gas rules for stationary sources, South Carolina enacted HB 4888 to prepare, which adopted the regulations for the state and gave the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control enough time to promulgate appropriate regulations, easing the transition.

Washington considered at least 12 related bills and enacted three. Senate Bill 5560 required state agencies to meet specified emission limits and provided for a climate change response strategy; Senate Bill 5989 addressed greenhouse gas performance standards; and Senate Bill 6373 directed the Department of Ecology to adopt greenhouse gas emissions reporting requirements where emissions from a single supplier meets or exceeds state limits.

In 2011, at least ten states considered and three states enacted climate-related bills. Most notably, more than 10 bills are pending in California that would amend the statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit, create an offset program fund, or establish a program to maximize regional greenhouse gas emission reductions and sequestration projects. In Massachusetts, seven bills are pending. One draft, HD 852, would require timely adoption of greenhouse gas limits for 2030. Eight bills are pending in New York that would establish rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create a climate change fund, set standards for small electric generating sources, establish reporting systems, or require agencies to report emissions.

Oregon enacted HB 3538 in 2011, which required the Energy Facility Siting Council to establish certain greenhouse gas goals. Texas enacted HB 1981 which related to measuring, monitoring and reporting emissions, and creating a pollutant watch list of air contaminants that may cause short or long term adverse human health effects in a given area. In Washington, SB 5769 (enacted) required greenhouse gas emissions reductions from large coal-fired electric power generation facilities.

Opposing Greenhouse Gas Requirements

In 2010, at least five states considered bills prohibiting action to restrict emissions or repealing existing greenhouse gas reduction goals. Arizona enacted HB 2442, stating that an agency cannot adopt a program to regulate greenhouse gases without express legislative authorization. In 2011, six states considered similar legislation and Nevada enacted SB 12 to repeal state greenhouse gas reporting requirements since they would duplicate EPA reporting requirements.


Some states consider bills to address cap-and-trade rather than resolutions. California, Georgia and Minnesota considered bills opposing cap-and-trade in 2010, and Florida, Georgia and New Hampshire considered similar bills in 2011. A pending bill in California, AB 333, would require the State Air Resources Board to make findings and submit a report to the legislature on the readiness of a proposed cap-and-trade program.

In 2011, policymakers in at least four states considered measures that urged withdraw from regional climate initiatives. Maine enacted SB 231, stating that the state shall withdraw from the regional greenhouse gas initiative if a sufficient number of states withdraw first. In 2010, Maine and Massachusetts considered bills that urged continued participation or supported the goals and implementation of regional greenhouse gas initiatives, and New Jersey adopted a bill in 2011 encouraging the state’s continued participation.

Carbon Capture and Storage

State legislative attention to carbon capture and storage remained about the same in 2011 as in 2010. Thirteen states considered bills in 2010, at least four of which adopted or enacted legislation. Most notably, California adopted a bill, AB 1504, directing a board to consider the capacity of forest resources to sequester carbon dioxide emissions to meet greenhouse gas reduction requirements. Louisiana adopted HB 733 to authorize participation in carbon sequestration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In Oklahoma, SB 610 created the Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide Act, and SB 679 recreated a task force to continue studying issues necessary to implement transmission and storage of carbon dioxide in rock formations. Oklahoma’s Senate Bill 629 (enacted) also related to carbon sequestration and requested an assessment of public lands for sequestration potential.

In 2011, 13 states considered and at least 6 states enacted carbon capture and storage legislation. Arizona adopted a resolution (SCR 1033) encouraging generation control technology, including those designed for CCS, to be as efficient as economically possible. Kentucky enacted two bills, including HB 259 seeking projects to demonstrate injection for pooling and underground storage reservoirs. In Mississippi, SB 2723 created the Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide Act, and Montana enacted SB 285 to require carbon dioxide injection well monitoring for 50 years. North Dakota enacted a bill (SB 2318) to consider studying carbon dioxide storage easements.

State Attention to Climate Change Legislation is Likely to Continue

Although the U.S. EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions drew attention to states’ rights and many policymakers attempted to delay or postpone rule implementation, state lawmakers continue to debate climate change policy. While some states do not support federal action, many are likely to continue with emissions reduction programs within their own states.

Table 1. 2010 Adopted State Resolutions for/against Climate Change Legislation






HJR 45 - Adopted

Urged Congress to not enact cap-and-trade legislation.


HJR 49 - Adopted

Urged Congress to enact a resolution disapproving EPA's climate regulations.


SJR 17 - Adopted

Reaffirmed the Legislature's commitment to reduce greenhouse gases in California to 1990 levels by 2020. Urged EPA to regulate greenhouse gases and the federal government to maintain its commitment to leading the world in efforts addressing global climate change.


AJR 26 - Adopted

Requested Congress to establish a comprehensive framework, including funding, for adapting the nation's wildlife, habitats, coasts, river, and other natural resources and ecosystems to the impacts of climate change.


HJR 1028 - Adopted

Requested Congress to adopt legislation that promotes jobs and innovative energy development and positions the United States to address climate change consequences without preempting states' rights to control emissions.


SR 801 - Adopted

Requested Congress to avoid passing cap-and-trade legislation.


HCR 67 - Adopted

Requested Congress to pass legislation promoting jobs and innovative energy development, positioning the U.S. to be an international leader in clean energy, and addressing climate change consequences without preempting states' rights to control emissions.


HJM 11 - Adopted

Urged the state's members of Congress to vote against cap-and-trade policy.


SR 1809 - Adopted

Opposed EPA's greenhouse gas regulations.


HR 132 - Adopted

Encouraged Congress to adopt legislation postponing EPA's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources.


HR 211 - Adopted

Urged EPA to consider increased emissions in relation to increased electricity generation when determining whether to apply New Source Review to a modification of a generation plant.


SR 77 - Adopted

Memorialized Congress to oppose implementation of a cap-and-trade program.


HCR 46 - Adopted

Urged EPA to rescind its formal endangerment finding on greenhouse gases.


HCR 1035 - Adopted

Opposed implementation of a cap-and-trade system on greenhouse gas emissions.

Rhode Island

S 887 - Adopted - Resolution No. 2009-194

(Resolution) Promoted goals to reduce global warming pollution through the support of the lights out, green in pledge.


H 7223 - Adopted - Resolution No. 2010-42

(Resolution) Requested the U.S. Senate to hold coal plants accountable in the senate energy and climate bill.

South Carolina

S 802 - Adopted

(Resolution) Memorialized Congress to examine each state's current and projected energy production capabilities and economic conditions when considering greenhouse gas emission initiatives. Stated that for the immediate future, we must rely on the growth of nuclear energy.


H 3508 - Adopted

(Resolution) Memorialized Congress to address climate change through the adoption of a fair and effective approach that safeguards jobs, ensures affordable energy, and maintain's global competitiveness.


H 4606 and H 4610 - Adopted

(Concurrent Resolution) Memorialized Congress to adopt legislation that would postpone EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.


H 4888 - Enacted - Act No. 341

Adopted EPA's greenhouse gas regulations to give the state department of health and environmental control time to promulgate appropriate regulations, if required.

South Dakota

HCR 1008 - Adopted

Urged Congress to oppose energy and climate legislation.


SR 200 and HJR 323 - Enacted

Regarded the need for Congress to provide a fair and effective approach to climate change that safeguards jobs, ensures affordable energy, and maintain's global competitiveness.


HJR 12 - Adopted

Urged EPA to cease its carbon dioxide reduction policies, programs, and regulations until climate data and global warming science are substantiated.


HJR 21 - Adopted

Urged Utah to withdraw from the Western Climate Initiative

West Virginia

SCR 9 - Adopted

Expressed the will of the legislature opposing adoption of national cap-and-trade program.

Table 2. 2011 Pending or Adopted State Resolutions for/against Climate Change Legislation







HJR 22

Pending - Carryover

Urges Congress to pass legislation imposing a moratorium on new EPA air quality regulations and legislation prohibiting EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.


HJR 197

Enacted - Act No. 2011-131

Urged Congress to adopt legislation that prohibits EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions without Congressional approval.


H 1375


(Memorial) Urged Congress to take additional action to clarify and specify EPA's legal and regulatory obligations with respect to greenhouse gases.


HR 52


Called for curtailment and assessment of EPA's regulations.


HJR 34


Supports EPA in its efforts to fulfill the charge of the Clean Air Act.


HR 120


Stated that each public university in the state shall have a target goal of reducing its expense footprint for power, gas and water consumption by at least 15 percent within two years.


SR 171 and HR 265


Urge Congress to adopt legislation prohibiting EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, including if necessary defunding the EPA greenhouse gas regulatory activities.


HR 13 and SR 39


Opposed the EPA regulations.


HR 6008


Opposed the EPA regulations.


SR 116


Urged Congress to adopt legislation prohibiting EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and urges Congress to impose a moratorium on promulgation of any new air quality regulations by EPA except to address an imminent health or environmental emergency.


H 223


Relates to reviewing the economic impact of proposed rules and regulations governing greenhouse gas emissions.


SCR 6, SR 10, HR 19


Memorialized Congress to take immediate steps to impose a moratorium on greenhouse gas, air quality, and other regulatory actions by EPA.


HR 40


Memorializes Congress to safeguard EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act to fight emissions.


S 322


Memorializes Congress in opposition to regulation of carbon dioxide emissions by EPA.


HCR 42


Urged Congress to prohibit EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions or to take action on climate change.


SJR 10


Urged Congress to prevent EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

North Carolina

SB 308


Prohibits state agencies from adopting, implementing, or enforcing a rule that regulates greenhouse gas emissions or limits human activity for the purpose of reducing emissions if the rule is not required by a federal law or is more stringent than a corresponding federal law.

North Dakota

HCR 3028


Urged Congress to adopt legislation prohibiting EPA by any means from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

New Hampshire

LSR 335


Requires the attorney general to join the federal lawsuits relative to cap-and-trade.


HCR 15


Urges Congress to take action regarding EPA's proposed regulation on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

South Carolina

S 96


(Concurrent Resolution) Requests Congress to oppose cap-and-trade legislation and legislation that encourages states to establish and develop their own renewable energy portfolio standards.


HJR 19


Expressed opposition to EPA's regulation of greenhouse gasses without congressional approval. Called on Congress to adopt legislation that prohibits EPA from regulating greenhouse gases without congressional approval.


HR 72


Urged Congress to address the proposed EPA greenhouse gas emissions regulations.


HR 6


Urged action on climate change related policies.




Requested Congress to limit air quality regulations by EPA.


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