resources and personnel to rigorously enforce standards. These resources could potentially be funded by allowance revenue (if allowances are auctioned). Absent effective enforcement, national building standards could be significantly undermined just as recent evidence has suggested uneven-to-nonexistent enforcement by some states under the Clean Water Act. Enforcement issues are addressed in more detail in Chapter 8.


Given the important role that state and local actions are currently playing in U.S. efforts to reduce GHG emissions, the many ways in which states and localities will be needed for implementing new federal initiatives, and the value of learning from policy experimentation at subnational levels, Congress should carefully balance federal and state/local authority and promote regulatory flexibility across jurisdictional boundaries, with consideration of factors such as the following:

  • The need to avoid preempting state/local authority to regulate GHG emissions more stringently than federal law (“ceiling preemption”) without a strong policy justification;

  • The need for any new GHG emissions-reduction policies to clearly indicate whether a state retains regulatory authority (given various judicial doctrines that can preempt state and local action even without express preemption language from Congress);

  • The need to ensure that states and localities have sufficient resources to implement and enforce any significant new regulatory burdens placed on them by Congress (e.g., national building standards); and

  • The importance of not penalizing or disadvantaging states (or entities within the states) that have taken early action to reduce GHG emissions.

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