New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) announced that his state is leaving the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade scheme involving 10 northeastern states. During a press conference, Christie called the RGGI a “failure,” and claimed it is “not effective in reducing greenhouse gases and is unlikely to be in the future.” He described the RGGI as “nothing more than a tax on electricity, a tax on our residents and on businesses with no discernible effect on our environment.”
The RGGI released a statement, stating that the initiative “will continue.” Over $700 million have been invested region-wide in “the clean energy economy” thanks to the RGGI, the statement pointed out. The RGGI has also saved consumers money and created jobs, the statement said. (for more from triplepundit.com, click HERE).
Democrats whose states are members of the R.G.G.I., meanwhile, gave a list of benefits they have earned from being loyal to the program.
“Governor Christie is simply wrong when he claims that these efforts are a failure. Here in Maryland, R.G.G.I. has avoided dangerous carbon dioxide emissions in Maryland equivalent to taking nearly 3,500 cars off the road,” Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley said in a statement.
“I am disappointed in Governor Christie’s decision to withdraw from R.G.G.I. and I reject his assertion that the initiative is ineffective in reducing greenhouse gases,” Mr. O’Malley said, adding the state raised $162.4 million last year through the program.
In Connecticut, allowance sales raised over $45 million for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. It created nearly 7,000 jobs, reducing the energy consumption of 34,000 residential customers and generating more than $137 million in employment income.
“This is a good program for Connecticut and the rest of the states in the partnership and we hope that Governor Christie will reconsider his decision,” Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy said in a statement.
Mr. Christie is the latest Republican to announce that his state will no longer participate in a voluntary regional program to reduce the gases linked to global climate change.
Republicans brought to state office in the West and the Midwest have been reconsidering their states’ participation in a similar program called the Western Climate Initiative, led by California.
In January, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez attempted to block a greenhouse gas reduction regulation adopted by the previous administration under Democrat Bill Richardson.
The state Supreme Court ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by New Energy Economy, an environmental group, claiming the governor improperly withheld documents to delay publishing rules regarding the state-wide cap-and trade program.
Governor Jan Brewer also withdrew Arizona from their regional cap-and-trade emissions program in February 2010, saying it would cripple the state’s economy.
“The planet is not a political football – we need serious, stable, and long-term policy in place to reverse our climate impact. That is why I think Governor Christie’s decision to abandon R.G.G.I., a cornerstone of that policy, is wrong,” Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont said. (For more from EcoSeed.org – click HERE).
Reaction from Maryland’s Governor
Governor Martin O’Malley issued the following statement today regarding New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie’s announcement that New Jersey will withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI):
“I am disappointed in Governor Christie’s decision to withdraw from RGGI and I reject his assertion that the initiative is ineffective in reducing greenhouse gases.RGGI represents an important multi-state effort to address climate change at a time when consensus eludes Congress.
“We are in a fight for our children’s future. And in this fight some states will win and some states will lose. For Maryland to be a winner in this new economy, we must move forward – not back – by creating and saving jobs through innovation, while improving public safety, public education, and our quality of life.”
“Governor Christie is simply wrong when he claims that these efforts are a failure. Here in Maryland, RGGI has avoided dangerous carbon dioxide emissions in Maryland equivalent to taking nearly 3,500 cars off the road. Through last year, we’ve raised $162.4 million in RGGI proceeds – funds that have been used for programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”