On July 26, New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, killed a bill that would have required the state to stay in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which is backed by a number of Northeast states.
In his message to the state Senate that he is returning the bill without a signature, Christie noted that in May 2011, he said that New Jersey would conduct an “orderly withdrawal” from the RGGI by the end of 2011. He said the RGGI doesn’t accomplish much in terms of clean energy and is merely a tax on energy production in New Jersey. The state Legislature then tried to “clarify” the state’s participation in RGGI, but the governor vetoed that “disingenuous” bill in August 2011. He said the bill he has just vetoed is pretty much a new version of the bill he killed last year.
Christie said New Jersey will continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on its own. Ongoing work has already lowered the state’s carbon emissions to below the limits set for 2020 in New Jersey’s Global Warming Response Act. He said the market, not RGGI, created incentives to reduce the use of carbon-based fuels. He said the state, among other things, is also encouraging the development of three new gas-fired combined cycle power plants to provide clean energy for the future.
“The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first market-based regulatory program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said the RGGI Inc. website. “RGGI is a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Together, these states have capped and will reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector 10 percent by 2018. States sell nearly all emission allowances through auctions and invest proceeds in consumer benefits: energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other clean energy technologies. RGGI is spurring innovation in the clean energy economy and creating green jobs in each state.”