Last spring, a New Jersey appeals court ruled that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) had illegally abandoned the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI—the Northeast states’ program to control carbon pollution from power plants. As a result, Gov. Christie recently announced he would seek to legitimize his abandonment of RGGI by taking public comment on whether to exit the program. The question is not whether the state hears about the benefits of RGGI; rather, it’s whether Gov. Christie will listen.
New Jersey was one of the original seven states to enter into RGGI in 2005. The program institutes a price on carbon permits for power plants, which are then auctioned for profit. Overall, auctions from 2008 to 2011 brought more than $992 million in revenue to participating states, and reduced CO2 levels by 23 percent. New Jersey raised $100 million in revenue before Gov. Christie withdrew from the program in 2011. These funds were used for a variety of purposes, including zero-interest loans and grants for large-scale energy-efficiency and renewable energy projects. They were even used for deficit reduction.
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How Leaving RGGI Leaves New Jersey Behind by Danielle Baussan