New England governors work together to curb industrial chemical use, ease impact on climate change

The states are preparing to regulate hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, which are primarily used in cooling.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker testifies before the House Natural Resources Committee hearing on climate change, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) Cliff Owen / AP

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The governors of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine say they’re planning new regulations to reduce the use of a group of industrial chemicals primarily used in cooling, to ease the impact of climate change.

The states are preparing to regulate hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, according to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said they must use every tool available to take urgent action on climate change.

“In the absence of federal leadership, I’m proud to stand with governors on both sides of the aisle who recognize the dangers of HFCs. It’s time to regulate these harmful pollutants,” she said in a statement.

Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said that for Massachusetts to reach its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, it needs to act to curb high-emitting sources like HFCs. Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said states can forge important progress in fighting climate change.

Rhode Island officials expect to file new regulations this summer. The regulations will be substantially consistent with rules being developed by Massachusetts, Maine and other states that have joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group created in response to President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, the environmental management department said.

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