Christie launches formal bid to remove N.J. from RGGI

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration today moved to formally withdraw the state from the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — three years after the Republican announced his decision to pull his state from the interstate compact.

The Christie administration has not been participating in RGGI since it announced its withdrawal from the program in 2011, which prompted a lawsuit by Environment New Jersey and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Today’s proposal, published in the New Jersey Register, comes after the New Jersey Superior Court ruled in March that the administration had not followed legally required administrative procedure when pulling the state from the cap-and-trade system.

Environmentalists blasted Christie for the proposal, arguing that the program had paid dividends both environmentally and economically for the nine states that still participate. It has drawn more than $2.4 billion in economic activity to the region, said Environment New Jersey.

“Governor Christie keeps trying to put the interests of big out-of-state polluters ahead of the health and well-being of the people of New Jersey,” Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, said in a statement.

Its proposal to formally withdraw also comes after U.S. EPA released a proposal for existing power plant carbon emissions last month, which would almost ensure that RGGI would be an acceptable compliance mechanism. New Jersey’s former colleagues in RGGI have called that aspect of the EPA rule a win for their regional compact.