First carbon permits auctioned in U.S.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Permits for the right to emit carbon dioxide from power plants in the U.S. Northeast sold for $3.07 per ton in the first U.S. greenhouse gas auction, states in the region said Monday.

Ten states from Maine to Massachusetts will begin regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in January. Under the agreement, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the states are taking action in the absence of guidance on how to regulate the gases from the Bush administration.

The auction price was lower than the $4.50 to $4.00 per ton that contracts on the permits had been fetching in recent weeks on futures markets. Still, all of the more than 12.5 million permits that had been offered sold. And RGGI said 59 participants from the energy, financial and environment sectors had bid to buy nearly 52 million permits.

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