Assembly Utilities Chair Will Push to Block State from Withdrawing from Greenhouse Pact
(TRENTON) — Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee Chair Upendra J. Chivukula hailed the recent verdict of the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court that Gov. Christie broke the law when he pulled New Jersey out of regulations governing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and said it should trigger the State’s participation in RGGI, a regional program to reduce carbon emissions from entities like power plants.
Environment New Jersey and the National Resources Defense Council recently won a court challenge that the Christie administration unilaterally and illegally removed New Jersey from the regulations governing RGGI.
The court ruled that the administration must seek public comment on the decision to withdraw the state from RGGI regulations and that it has 60 days to start the process.
Chivukula (D-Somerset\ Middlesex) issued the following statement:
“The recent verdict of the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court that Gov. Christie broke the law when he pulled New Jersey out of regulations governing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a vindication that the Christie administration did not respect the public process or allow input from the state Legislature to block the changes;
“It reinforces the reckless manner in which the administration unilaterally withdrew the State from RGGI in 2011 by merely posting a notice on a website that power plants no longer had to comply with pollution limits;
“Christie’s partisan decision to pull New Jersey out of RGGI was a tactical blunder that ignored the substantial environmental, economic and public healths benefits of the program;
“In the first three years since its enactment, during which New Jersey was part of the greenhouse pact, RGGI fast-tracked a clean energy economy, supported 1000s of clean jobs, delivered significant energy savings to ratepayers and funded 9 major renewable energy projects. It also bolstered our energy security by reducing our billion-dollar-a-day independence on foreign oil;
“We believe it is crucial that New Jersey rejoin the regional greenhouse compact and will push to block our state from withdrawing from RGGI;
“We were proud to sponsor the original RGGI measure (A-4559) enacted in 2008 which facilitated New Jersey’s participation in the multi-state cooperative and have sponsored several measures since calling for New Jersey to rejoin RGGI. These include a constitutional amendment (ACR-140) that would require the State to rejoin the greenhouse pact.”
RGGI is a cap and trade program that sets a regional limit on the emissions of carbon dioxide and allows entities to trade quotas under the cap. Entities like power companies that need to exceed their pollution quotas to meet production targets can purchase unused quotas from other entities at regional auctions.
Proceeds from the auctions are used to fund clean energy including the use and development of solar and wind power, clean energy technologies and energy efficiency programs.
Together the nine remaining RGGI states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) set a cap for total emissions of CO2 from electric generation facilities in the region. By agreement, the RGGI cap declines over time, gradually tightening emission limits: initiated at 165 million tons per year in 2005, the regional cap in 2014 is 91 million tons.