Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Greens urge NJ to clamp down on power-plant CO2

Environmentalists say state’s re-entry into RGGI offers opportunity to set ambitious cap on greenhouse-gas emissions

Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:

The Murphy administration is being urged to ratchet down on greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants when it rejoins a regional initiative to limit climate-harming pollution.
In a letter to two Cabinet officials, several environmental organizations recommended an ambitious cap on carbon pollution in 2020, when New Jersey re-enters the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate program aimed at combating climate change.
New Jersey had been part of RGGI until 2011, when former Gov. Chris Christie pulled the state out of the initiative, citing cost to utility customers. Lawmakers sought to rejoin the program but were blocked by repeated vetoes by Christie. Gov. Phil Murphy already has signed a law authorizing the state to rejoin RGGI and negotiations are ongoing.
The size of the cap is considered crucial to clean-energy advocates who argue that if it’s too modest it could undermine some of Murphy’s most significant environmental policies and the overall effectiveness of RGGI.
The Natural Resources Defense Council has analyzed the situation; it and other groups have recommended the state adopt a cap between 12 million and 13 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2020. In 2017, New Jersey’s in-state power emissions were 18.6 million tons of CO2, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Adopting a cap of 12 million to 13 million tons is consistent with the state’s current trajectory, achievable and economically reasonable, according to the letter sent to Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe and Board of Public Utilities president Joseph Fiordaliso.

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