Responding to Governor Christie’s Decision to Pull Out of Regional Climate Pact
May 26th, 2011 by Chris Sturm
New Jersey Future and American Planning Association-NJ Chapter released the following statements in response to today’s announcement that Governor Chris Christie wants New Jersey to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RRGI):
Executive Director, New Jersey Future
“As a candidate for governor, Chris Christie declared that New Jersey should be a national leader in the research and development of alternative, clean, sustainable sources of energy. As governor, his announcement today that he wants New Jersey to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) will make this worthy goal far more difficult to reach.
“With this announcement, the governor intends to pull the plug on a worthy regional effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and America’s dependence on imported oil. While most of our neighbors—including New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware—would receive millions of dollars from RGGI to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy and state-of-the-art electric generation facilities, New Jersey would not. While other states in the region would compete for high-paying, sustainable green jobs to fuel their economic recovery, New Jersey would be sending a signal that it is no longer interested in participating in this regional effort.
“Contrary to the governor’s assertion, there is no evidence that businesses have been negatively affected by New Jersey’s participation in RGGI. In fact, over the long run, RGGI is expected to make our companies more competitive, by increasing the supply of electricity from alternative sources, reducing demand through energy efficiency measures and bringing down the price of electricity for all users. The proceeds from RGGI would also provide financially strapped municipalities with resources to plan for sustainable land-use and transportation projects that reduce carbon emissions and energy use.
“These benefits will no longer accrue to New Jersey and its residents if the governor’s intention is turned into state policy. We trust that the governor, over the next several months, will listen to the citizens of New Jersey who want to move forward, not backward, on clean energy, and will conclude that staying in RGGI is in the state’s—and the nation’s—best interest.”
Chuck Latini, PP, AICP
President, American Planning Association-NJ Chapter
“This is a disappointing decision from the Governor’s Office to pull New Jersey out of RGGI, breaking New Jersey’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and undermining what has been a positive environment for renewable energy development in the state.
“Given the serious impacts that a warming climate will have on New Jersey, this decision will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions and, therefore, further contribute to the rising sea levels and more extreme weather events in New Jersey.
“RGGI is an excellent combination of market and government partnering to demonstrate the real costs of energy. It is surprising that an administration concerned with improving the business climate would do so at the expense of the public.”