NPGA Bobtail

Superfund GHG Bills Gain Traction

Since the 1980s, the federal government has operated a “superfund” program that provides resources to cleanup and restore extremely polluted and hazardous sites around the country. When it was originally created, this program was funded, in part, by a tax on various industries that the government considered to be responsible for some of the resulting damages. This has long been known as the “polluters pay” principle.

Recently, state legislatures have taken this superfund blueprint and targeted something new: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Bills have been introduced in multiple states, including Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont that seek to impose financial penalties on energy companies, including those that produce, refine, and sell fuels, because of the GHG emissions associated with the production and use of their products. Under these programs, entities would be charged based on their share of historic emissions. In Vermont, for example, state legislators are seeking to apply a cost recovery penalty on applicable business activity that took place between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2019. Revenues collected under these schemes would then be spent on various measures to mitigate the potential damages associated with climate change, such as making infrastructure stronger, more resilient, and better adaptable.

While these superfund bills share the same general structure, each program would be unique. NPGA will continue to monitor legislative superfund action and determine its potential impact on the propane industry. For more information, contact NPGA’s Director of State Affairs, Jacob Peterson.