In the face of a worsening environmental crisis, the importance of New Jersey’s role in curbing greenhouse-gas emissions continues to grow. Recognizing the need for action, Assembly Democrats John McKeon and Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsored legislation, which would require New Jersey to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The measure received final legislative approval Monday after it was cleared 26-12 in the Senate and 50-17 in the full Assembly.
The bill (A-1212) reverses former Gov. Christie’s decision to remove New Jersey from the key program meant to ensure clean air and help lower energy bills.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed an Executive Order on January 29, 2018 directing the State to immediately begin any necessary discussion and negotiations with RGGI’s member states for the purpose of arranging New Jersey’s re-entry into the program and its carbon dioxide budget trading program.
“Our exclusion as a state from the RGGI program has cost us millions of dollars allocated for clean energy projects and will continue to do so until we go back,” said McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). “We proposed the legislation allowing the state to partake in the RGGI, and we want New Jersey rejoin the program. The difference is that this time we have a governor who understands the importance of our participation in the program.”
“The state’s participation in the regional initiative can help lower energy bills for taxpayers, lower pollution levels and allow for greater investment in green projects,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “It is imperative for this and future generations that we rejoin the other states in the RGGI.”
The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.