Sunday, September 11, 2011

The right and left debate RGGI in New Jersey


On May 26, 2011, Republican Gov. Chris Christie punched New Jersey's environmental community in the nose with this announcement: Gov: NJ's pulling out of climate-change compact, RGGI.

Within days, Democrats in the state legislature were holding hearings to question the governor's decision  (NJ's withdrawal from RGGI contested in Assembly) and introducing legislation A4108/S2946 to keep the state in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative compact.

Since then, the legislation cleared both houses along partisan lines and was delivered to the governor. As expected, he vetoed it on August 19.

But RGGI (pronounced Reggie)  is not yet dead, as its allies are now pushing for a vote this fall to override the veto. And they have a hot new argument to use.

Secret meeting between governor and industrialist

Last week, blogs and newspapers reported that, before he delivered his surprise RGGI-withdrawl pronouncement, Christie met secretly with fossil-fuel billionaire David Koch (pronounced Coke) who is financing a number of right-wing think tanks and activist groups opposed to carbon-control efforts like RGGI.  

Op-Eds, pro and con

With that as a backdrop, let us point you to two Bergen Record op-ed pieces that take up the RGGI stay or RGGI go debate. 

Writing on September 1 in support of Governor Christie's decision (Taking sides on the environment) was Mike Proto, the communications director for Americans for Prosperity New Jersey.

Writing in rebuttal of Proto's piece on September 11 (Facts on RGGI contradict its critics) were Peter Shattuck, the carbon markets policy analyst at Environment Northeast and Xavier Walter, who is president and co-founder of The Energy Team in Southampton, NJ.

We suggest that you read them both and let us know what you think in the comment box below. If the box is not visible, click the tiny 'comments' line, also below. If you're not sure where you stand on the issue, don't worry. With every seat in both houses of the State Legislature up for grabs in the November election, and environmental issues playing their normal role, you can expect to read a god deal more about RGGI between now and then.   

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