Via NJ Spotlight
Let’s get out and support the Legislature on this important resolution. RGGI is exactly the same boondoggle that it was 3 years ago. The so-called experts in the DEP are saying that using this will help stop global warming (as if that exists) and will reduce the number of Sandy events. The environmental impact will be insignificant at best and the economic impact will be bad.
Call your assemblyperson and senator today and tell him/her to back the resolution.
Legislature, DEP Could Clash Over Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Tom Johnson | September 10, 2014
At issue, New Jersey’s ability to participate in multistate program to clean up pollution from power plants
Credit: Amanda Brown
The Legislature is moving to block the state Department of Environmental Protection from repealing rules that would allow New Jersey to participate in a multistate effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The resolution (SCR-125) sponsored by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) says that a proposal by DEP to repeal the regulations is inconsistent with legislative intent that directed the agency to adopt rules governing the state’s potential participation in the program.
The Senate Environment and Energy Committee will consider the resolution on Monday, renewing a long-running dispute between legislators and the Christie administration over its decision to pull New Jersey out of the program at the end of 2011. Since then, lawmakers have twice voted to have the state rejoin the program, only to have the measures vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie.
If the latest measure wins legislative approval, it still will not force the administration to rejoin the program, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Still, proponents say the resolution is important.
“This is not symbolic,’’ said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “It will allow the state to more easily rejoin RGGI.’’ But even he and others acknowledged that is unlikely to happen until the state has a new governor.
The regional program, developed originally by 10 Northeast states, is designed as a way to curb pollution causing global climate change from power plants. These facilities are one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
Christie pulled out of the program nearly three years ago, saying it was ineffective and merely amounted to a new tax on utility customers. This past March, however, a state court ruled the action was illegal because the administration did not hold a public process on its decision. Since then, the DEP proposed a new rule allowing the state to withdraw from the program, but the new regulations have not yet been adopted.
To advocates of the program, which requires power companies to pay for the global warming pollution they emit, the withdrawal from RGGI deprives New Jersey of some big economic benefits. The money paid by the power plants is used to fund an assortment of clean-energy programs.
At one time, backers of the program hoped it would serve as a successful model for a national version. But any such effort has been a nonstarter in C