Assembly Panel Advances McKeon & Lagana Bill to Declare Invalid Christie’s Attempt to Change Rules to Allow N.J. to Leave Effort to Cut Reduce Greenhouse Gases

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats John McKeon and Joseph Lagana sponsored to declare invalid the Christie administration’s bid to change regulations requiring the state to participate in a regional effort to reduce greenhouse gases was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.
“Gov. Christie can try every which way he can to pry New Jersey from participating in this effort to keep our air and water clean and promote renewable energy, and while he has some authority to act on his own, he cannot ignore state regulations and just change them to suit his anti-environmental agenda,” said McKeon (D-Essex/Morris), who sponsored the legislation requiring New Jersey participate in the effort. “The rule of the law matters, as does the environmental future of New Jersey and the will of the people of New Jersey. We aren’t going to stand by and let Gov. Christie run roughshod over our pro-environment legacy.”
“Rules matter,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “The people of New Jersey want a clean environment and renewable energy. They know it’s good for the economy and good for job creation. The governor has gone about this the wrong way and the voices of the people will be heard.”
This concurrent resolution (ACR-189) declares that the Legislature has determined that the rules and regulations proposed on July 7 by the Department of Environmental Protection repealing the regulatory scheme concerning the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are not consistent with the intent of the Legislature, as expressed in its 2007 law.
The repeal of the rules, as proposed by the DEP would contradict the legislative intent of a provision that affirmatively mandates that the DEP promulgate rules and regulations to govern the state’s participation in a greenhouse gas cap and trade program.
The provision authorized, but did not require, the DEP to exercise this authority in cooperation and coordination with other states or countries that are participating in regional, national, or international carbon dioxide emissions trading programs. This affirmative statutory duty to promulgate such rules and regulations was not contingent upon the state’s participation in a regional, national, or international program such as RGGI. Accordingly, it did not explicitly or implicitly authorize the DEP to repeal these rules and regulations upon the state’s withdraw from RGGI.
“Contrary to the position taken in the summary of the proposal, the DEP remains obliged to establish rules and regulations pursuant to the legislative intent,” McKeon said.
The Commissioner of Environmental Protection will have 30 days following transmittal of this concurrent resolution to amend or withdraw the proposed rules and regulations or the Legislature may, by passage of another concurrent resolution, exercise its authority under the Constitution to invalidate the rules and regulations in whole or in part, or prohibit the proposed rules and regulations, in whole or in part, from taking effect.
The bill was released by the Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee.