NYS-RGGI Stakeholder Process Plan Archive
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a cooperative effort by Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), which causes global warming. Nine states are working together through RGGI to develop a regional cap-and-trade program covering CO2 emissions from power plants. The participating states have agreed to establish a model CO2 cap-and-trade rule. States would use the model rule as the basis for their own rules to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants.
Staff from the nine participating states have drafted an action plan to accomplish the goal of establishing the model rule. RGGI agency heads endorsed the action plan on September 29, 2003. Representatives of the environmental and energy regulators from RGGI states comprise the RGGI Staff Working Group (SWG), which is responsible for implementing the action plan. The action plan includes a regional stakeholder process to provide a sounding board on the structure and details of a regional carbon cap-and-trade program for the SWG.
The RGGI stakeholder process will engage a stakeholder group and a resource panel. The 25 members of the stakeholder group were selected by the RGGI states to represent a wide range of interests and geographies in RGGI region. Additional information on the RGGI stakeholder process is available at www.rggi.org/stakeholder.htm
To supplement the regional stakeholder process, New York will implement its own stakeholder process (NYS-RGGI).
The objectives of the NYS-RGGI are to:
- Inform interested parties of the progress of the RGGI process and of opportunities for participation in the RGGI process;
- Relay technical information presented to the regional RGGI stakeholder group;
- Provide information on the RGGI SWG's and agency executives' deliberations;
- Afford additional opportunities for stakeholders to provide input directly to New York agencies participating in the RGGI effort;
- Maintain an ongoing dialogue among New York agency staff participating in the RGGI process and New York stakeholders;
- Provide preliminary input and scoping of issues prior to official New York State rulemaking.
The opportunity to discuss regional issues with New York State agency representatives will be a large benefit of the New York State process. The NYS stakeholder process will provide an avenue for interested parties to provide input to New York State agency representatives participating in the process. Agency staff will consider such input. However, agency staff do not anticipate preparation of responsiveness summaries. Participating agencies will not be responsible for forwarding input obtained through the NYS process, nor will they prepare documents responding to comments received. Decisions on the model rule will be made at the regional level. Parties who wish to have input to the larger regional process should take part in the regional process.
This stakeholder process plan governs NYS stakeholder participation during the model rule design phase of the RGGI effort. The process outlined in this plan is intended to supplement, not supplant, any public comment opportunity required in connection with NYS rulemakings under applicable law.
Key Policy Issues
The focus of both the RGGI and NYS-RGGI stakeholder processes will be development of the initial phase of the cap-and-trade program that will entail the allocation and trading of carbon dioxide allowances to and by sources in the power sector only. The RGGI SWG has developed an outline of key policy issues to be addressed at the regional level. This outline was reviewed and discussed by the RGGI Stakeholders Group at its initial meeting on April 2. The outline of key policy issues is available at www.rggi.org/stakeholder.htm
The RGGI stakeholder process will be designed to address the identified key policy issues. Similarly, the NYS-RGGI stakeholder process will address those key policy issues as they relate to New York stakeholders.
To achieve the objectives outlined above agency staff will:
Establish a mechanism for widespread sharing of information and soliciting stakeholder input.
Agency staff have assembled a list of stakeholders for purposes of providing notice of regional and state stakeholder events. The list includes power generators, trade associations, energy and environmental advocates, and members of the academic community. The stakeholder list will be maintained and updated as new stakeholders are identified.
Agency staff have established a NYS-RGGI website. This website will include notices and agendas of NYS stakeholder process meetings and a link to the regional RGGI website.
All New York stakeholders will be given notice of the RGGI website and the opportunity to subscribe to the website's listserv. All RGGI documents will be posted on the RGGI website. Subscribers to the listserv will receive notice when new documents are available for review. Deadlines for submission of comments on particular documents will be posted on the website to ensure comments are received before relevant policy decisions are made.
Invite New York stakeholders to participate in stakeholder process
New York State stakeholders are being invited to take part in the NYS-RGGI stakeholder process as active participants by committing to attend and participate in a series of NYS-RGGI stakeholder meetings as described below.
Conduct NYS-RGGI stakeholder meetings
To provide opportunity for agency staff to brief New York stakeholders on progress and issues at the regional level and for stakeholders to provide informal input to agency representatives, NYSDEC and NYSDPS will jointly host a series of NYS-RGGI stakeholder meetings. The first of these meetings is scheduled for May 18, 2004. Stakeholders identified to date have been invited by letter from Commissioner of Environmental Conservation Erin Crotty and Chairman of the Public Service Commission William Flynn to this initial meeting, and notice of the meeting has been posted on the NYS-RGGI website.
Those New York State stakeholders wishing to be considered active participants in the NYS-RGGI stakeholder process with a seat at the table at NYS-RGGI meetings will be asked to commit to attending and participating in all group meetings. Those parties not wishing to make this commitment will be free to attend the New York meetings as observers but will not be considered active participants. All meetings will be open to the public, and opportunity will be provided for observers to ask questions and make comments. However, active participation in the ongoing dialogue of each meeting may be reserved for those active participants with a seat at the meeting table.
To ensure that information provided and stakeholder input is focused on issues important to the design of the program and relevant to the stage of discussions at the regional level, agency staff will prepare the agenda for the New York stakeholder meetings. At each meeting, New York agency staff will provide an update on the progress at the regional and state level in designing the program. The meeting agenda will provide for updates on decisions made at prior RGGI meetings, review of technical and policy information on outstanding issues, and discussion of issues pending at the regional level. Time spent revisiting decisions already made at the regional level will be minimized.
The frequency of New York meetings will be discussed on May 18 and ultimately determined by the active participants. However it is anticipated that the New York meetings will be scheduled between those of RGGI stakeholder group meetings. Based on the current schedule of RGGI stakeholder group meetings, five additional NYS stakeholder meetings would likely be held in July or August 2004; October 2004; December 2004; January or February 2005; and March 2005.
All New York stakeholder meetings will be held in Albany. No teleconferencing will be made available for the May 18 meeting. Agency staff will consider requests for teleconferencing of subsequent meetings but will limit teleconferencing to no more than two remote locations with preference given to NYSDEC regional offices as the remote locations.
Correspondence with process participants will be via e-mail when practical. Those wishing to participate will be asked to provide e-mail addresses. Parties for whom receipt of e-mail is impractical will be asked to provide a mailing address for receipt of paper copies of correspondence.
The following ground rules will apply to the stakeholder group meetings:
- Active status in the NYS-RGGI stakeholder process will be limited to residents of New York State and representatives of organizations based or maintaining a significant presence in New York State.
- Participating organizations will designate lead representatives and, at their discretion, alternate representatives.
- Only the lead representative, or the alternate in the case of the lead representative's absence, will have a seat at the meeting table as an active participant.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Parties wishing to be recognized as active participants in the NYS-RGGI stakeholder process will make every attempt to attend all meetings, to be on time and to review all materials disseminated prior to the meeting. Active participants who cannot attend a meeting should notify the facilitator (see below) prior to the meeting.
- Neither the meeting convener, facilitator nor other active participants members will bear any responsibility for reiterating material presented or decisions made for members who have missed a meeting.
- Active participants will participate in the process in good faith according to the purpose stated herein. Participants will act respectfully toward each other and be truthful and communicative. Personal attacks are not permitted.
- Participants may speak publicly, including to the news media, only on their own behalf and on behalf of the organizations they represent. Participants may not speak on behalf of the stakeholder process or other individual participants in the process.
- The commissioner of Environmental Conservation and the chairman of the Public Service Commission, or their designees, are the conveners of the NYS-RGGI stakeholder process.
- NYSDEC's Division of Public Affairs and Education will facilitate the NYS-RGGI stakeholder process and associated meetings. All stakeholder meetings will be facilitated to provide a constructive forum in which factual information and diverse opinions may be voiced and examined in a professional and balanced way.
- The facilitator(s) will draft all meeting agendas and distribute them to active participants and others who have requested them at least two weeks prior to the scheduled meeting. Meeting agendas will also be posted on the NYS-RGGI website.
- The commissioner of Environmental Conservation and the chairman of the Public Service Commission, or their designee, will chair all stakeholder group meetings, oversee the activities of the facilitator(s) and have final authority with respect to all process issues including schedule, meeting topics and agendas.
- NYS-RGGI stakeholder meetings will be open to the public. Members of the public will be provided opportunity to comment or ask questions as time allows at appropriate times during the meetings.
Facilitate dialogue among agency staff and New York State stakeholders.
All NYS-RGGI stakeholder meetings will be open to the public. Those attending these meetings as observers will be afforded the opportunity to ask questions and comment as time allows during the course of the meetings, or during a time specified for open questions and comments.
New York stakeholders may submit comments via e-mail, by mail to NYS-RGGI Group, Agency, 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233-4500, or by fax to 518-402-9036.
The agencies have designated NYSDEC Chief of Public Outreach Mark Lowery (518-444-8044) as the primary staff contact for inquiries related to the NYS stakeholder process. Mr. Lowery will refer inquiries and comments to other agency staff as appropriate.
Agency staff will consider appropriate revisions to this plan based on comments received from stakeholders and members of the public, or on its own initiative.