Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Enviros pushing lawmakers to get NJ back into RGGI

Image credit: Grist

The New Jersey Environmental Federation is calling on its supporters to travel to Trenton tomorrow (March 15) for what they are calling a Clean Energy Lobby Day.

What do they see as the problem?

"It’s simple: Our clean energy future is at stake. In addition to cutting $700 million in clean energy funds over the last three years, Gov. Christie wants to pull New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), squandering the state’s opportunity for over $680 million in funding for clean energy over the next 8 years!"
And what is RGGI?  
"RGGI is a successful energy program among 10 northeast states that reduces carbon emissions from power plants and stimulates economic growth. It also provides a limited number of tradeable carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances which the states auction off four times a year. As of last year, the money raised at these auctions totaled $952 million. The funds are used for consumer programs such as energy assistance for low income households and energy efficient measures. RGGI also creates jobs in the clean tech sector, one of the most dynamic segments of our state economy."
What is their goal?
"To get New Jersey legislators to support the No Clean Air Rollback bills (S1322/A1998), which would BLOCK Gov. Christie from abandoning RGGI, and to stop Gov. Christie from taking more of our clean energy money away."

New Jersey's  'empty seat' at today's RGGI auction

By foregoing participation in RGGI, New Jersey lost out on some $10 million today at the RGGI quarterly carbon auction,
according to RGGI advocate Matt Elliott of Environment New Jersey.

“New Jersey, once a leader on clean energy solutions, is today a laggard,” Elliott said. “Governor Christie is letting polluters off the hook for fouling our air and he’s leaving $10 million in revenue on the table."

David Pringle of the New Jersey Environmental Federation charged the governor with "failing to both invest in green jobs and transferring the costs of polluters to the victims of respiratory disease, taxpayers, and ratepayers."

NJ Gov. Chris Christie
RGGI showdown votes in both houses tomorrow 

Democratic leaders in both the Senate and Assembly, eager to confront Republican Governor Chris Christie on the RGGI issue, have posted both bills for floor votes tomorrow. 

The state's largest business organizations oppose the bills, arguing that RGGI drives up the cost of energy for large businesses that already are paying some of the highest energy rates in the country.

Even if both measures pass, the governor is almost guaranteed to veto them and, with Republican legislators generally agreeing with their guy in the front office, a veto override vote is all but guaranteed to fail. 

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