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Governor Murphy’s NJDEP Proposes New Rule to Limit Carbon Dioxide Emissions

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s administration proposed a new rule to combat greenhouse gas emissions, just before the start of his second term in office. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection proposed its strongest set of greenhouse gas regulations to date under the state’s climate change initiative, NJ PACT: New Jersey Protecting Against Climate Threats.

The proposed new NJPACT rule, proposed on December 6, is part of NJDJEP’s implementation of 2007’s Global Warming Response Act, N.J.S.A. 26:2C-37 et seq. The rule, proposed N.J.A.C. 7:27F, “Control and Prohibition of Carbon Dioxide Emissions,” centers on limiting carbon dioxide emissions from stationary sources, with a three-part framework. First, the proposed rule limits carbon dioxide emissions from electric generating units (EGUs), which are the electricity generators used at power plants, either combustion or steam-generating equipment. These limits will become gradually stricter. Second, the rule proposes a presumption that, when they are no longer useful, some large fossil fuel-fired boilers should be replaced by electric boilers. Third, the rule proposes to ban the use and sale of No. 4 and No. 6 fuel oil. The NJDEP says the proposed rule, if adopted, will improve air quality in the state and “assist in setting expectations as we begin to decarbonize electric generation in New Jersey.”

Carbon dioxide limits on EGUs will affect 33 facilities in the state, for a total of 94 EGUs. The three-tiered limit system will first require the EGUs to emit no more than 1,700 lbs of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of the gross energy input, by January 1, 2024. By 2027, these facilities will be limited to 1,300 lbs per megawatt hour, and by 2035, they will only be permitted to emit 1,000 lbs per megawatt hour. In addition, new EGUs will be limited to 860 lbs per megawatt hour for the largest units.

More entities will be impacted by the boiler electrification rule, if passed, since the boilers affected are used in apartment buildings, office buildings, manufacturing, commercial and institutional contexts. But functioning fossil fuel-fired boilers do not have to be replaced

Finally, the facilities that use No. 4 or No. 6 fuel oil will be banned from doing so as of its effective date. Fuel oil stored in the state before the effective date can be used or sold for two years.

A virtual public hearing is scheduled for February 1, 2022, and the public comment period will be open until March 6, 2022. Comments can be submitted here.

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