General Laws

Section 22. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

“Allowance”, an authorization to emit a fixed amount of carbon dioxide.

“Cap and trade program”, a policy approach for controlling emissions from a group of emitting sources, such as electric generating stations, at a total cost that is expected to be lower than if sources were regulated individually by setting an overall cap or maximum amount of emissions from all regulated sources per compliance period that will achieve the desired environmental effects; provided, however, that a certain number of authorizations to emit in the form of emissions allowances shall be created, issued and made available to persons, companies, organizations or other entities through a sale by auction or direct allocation; and provided further that the total number of allowances made available in a compliance period shall not exceed the cap.

“Department”, department of environmental protection.

“RGGI” or “Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative”, the Memorandum of Understanding dated December 20, 2005 , and any amendments thereto and the corresponding Model Rule and any amendments thereto that establishes a cap and trade program within the northeast region of the United States and other regions to the extent that the Memorandum of Understanding is amended.

(b) The department, in consultation with the department of energy resources, shall adopt rules and regulations establishing a carbon dioxide cap and trade program to limit and reduce the total carbon dioxide emissions released by electric generating stations that generate electric power. The rules and regulations shall comply with RGGI and permit the holders of carbon dioxide allowances to trade them in a regional market to be established through the RGGI.

(c)(1) The department shall provide, by regulation that all allowances issued under the program shall be offered for sale by auction. The proceeds recovered from the allowance auctions shall be deposited in the RGGI Auction Trust Fund established in section 35II of chapter 10. The proceeds shall be used without further appropriation for the following purposes only and shall be in a proportion to be determined by the department of energy resources with the approval of the secretary:

[Clause (i) of paragraph (1) of subsection (c) effective until December 31, 2019 and applicable by 2008, 169, Secs. 113 and 114. See 2011, 68, Sec. 135 and 2012, 209, Sec. 37.]

(i) to reimburse a municipality in which the property tax receipts from an electric generating station including, for the purposes of this clause, payments in lieu of taxes and other compensation specified in an agreement between a municipality and an affected property owner, are reduced due to full or partial decommissioning of the facility or other change in operating status of the facility if such action also reduces the commonwealth’s greenhouse gas emissions from the electric generator sector under the goals established under chapter 21N; provided, however that the amount of such reimbursement shall be determined by calculating the difference between the amount of the tax receipts, including payments in lieu of taxes or other compensation paid by the electric generating station in the current tax year and the amount of the tax receipts, including payments in lieu of taxes or other compensation paid by the electric generating station in the year prior to the full or partial decommissioning or other change in operating status of the facility; provided further, that no reimbursement shall be made if, in a tax year, the aggregate amount paid to a municipality by the owner of an electric generating station including, but not limited to, payments in lieu of taxes and other compensation, exceeds the aggregate amount paid to that municipality by that owner in the year prior to the full or partial decommissioning or other change in operating status of the facility. After full or partial decommissioning or other change in operating status of the facility, the electric generating station’s tax obligation shall be based, on an annual basis, on tax receipts, including payments in lieu of taxes or other compensation that have been negotiated in good faith by the electric generating station and municipality on or before January 30 of the current tax year; provided however, that if the electric generating station and municipality have not negotiated in good faith payments in lieu of taxes and other compensation in the nature of property tax payments by said January 30, then the facility’s tax obligation shall be determined by an independent third party assessor paid by said facility, but selected jointly by the municipality and the facility, or if they are unable to arrive at a joint selection, by the department of revenue. The municipality shall be entitled to reimbursement for the difference between the amount called for in such assessment and the amount of the tax receipts, including payments in lieu of taxes or other compensation paid in the year prior to the full or partial decommissioning or other change in operating status of the facility, provided that such independent assessment is filed with any request for funds under this clause. Payments from the fund shall be prioritized so that the first payments from the fund shall be made to municipalities under this clause.

(ii) to fund the green communities program established in section 10 of chapter 25A;

(iii) to provide zero interest loans to municipalities, which are not green communities under section 10 of chapter 25A for energy efficiency projects;

(iv) to promote energy efficiency, conservation and demand response; and

(v) to reimburse the commonwealth for costs associated with the administration of the cap and trade program.

(2) Notwithstanding this section, the department may set aside up to 1 per cent of the commonwealth’s annual allocation of allowances to support the voluntary green power market which enables electricity consumers to support the development of renewable resources.

(d) The department of energy resources shall adopt regulations governing the auction of allowances. The department of energy resources may hire an independent contractor determined by the office to be qualified to conduct the auction in a manner that ensures the efficiency of the auction, or may provide for participation in a regional auction.

(e) The responsibilities created by establishing a carbon dioxide cap and trade program shall be in addition to any other responsibilities imposed by any other general or special law or rule or regulation and shall not diminish or reduce any power or authority of the department, including the authority to adopt standards and regulations necessary for the commonwealth to join and fully participate in a multistate program at any stage in the development and implementation of such a program intended to control emissions of carbon dioxide or other substances that are determined by the department to be damaging or altering the climate.

(f) Notwithstanding any general or special law or rule or regulation to the contrary, the state comptroller shall grant a permanent waiver or exemption from any applicable charges or assessments made against the proceeds from the auction of allowances under this section by the office of the comptroller under its authority under sections 5D of chapter 29.

(g) Notwithstanding any general or special law or regulation to the contrary, any information required by the department of energy resources or the department of any party participating in the cap and trade program, with the exception of any emission, offset and allowance tracking information required for compliance with the cap and trade program, shall be maintained for the sole and confidential use of the commonwealth, the department, the department of energy resources and their agents. This information shall not be deemed to be a public record as defined in clause Twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4 and shall not be subject to demand for production under section 10 of chapter 66. Aggregates of such information may be prepared and such aggregates shall be public records. All information collected under this section may be shared with other states which afford such information similar protection from public disclosure.