Christie pulls New Jersey out of RGGI

Well, it’s official. Gov. Chris Christie has pulled the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), handing a big gift to the right-wing base that gives governors like him the big money, like the kind that powers Americans for Prosperity, which has made dismantling the 10 Northeast state compact one of its prime objectives. That’s AFP, whose New Jersey leader Steve Lonegan was Christie’s GOP primary opponent for governor, whose Tea Party followers spent most of Christie’s first year kvetching he wasn’t conservative enough, AFP, front group for oil and coal interests, largely underwritten by the Koch Brothers, billionaires David and Charles. Kinda people rising GOP stars need. Dig it.

paul sarlo IS AFP
WTF sign is Sarlo standing behind?

Sarlo: Inclined to blame Christie alone for all this? Think again. When he became the first Democrat to support AFP’s anti-RGGI efforts, Sen. Paul Sarlo gave Christie’s decision some Democratic cover. Yes, that’s Sarlo behind the sign: I Am AFP!

Christie’s had just a craptastic week – sagging poll numbers at home (you know, where it counts), a star-turn robo-call for the GOP loser in hot race NY-26, a Supreme Court ruling that undercuts his whole education zeitgeist. Worse, even reporters who used to be dazzled by him are beginning to report on his excesses, and his whole bluster and bullshit act is beginning to wear (except, apparently in Iowa). I’m sure he wants to get you talking about something else, anything but all that.

Dummies: This is an intelligent governor who nonetheless plays to the dummy chunk of his base by going along with the claim that there’s insufficient proof of human-caused global climate change (yay, let’s burn fuel and make our pals richer). Rutgers scientists even gave him a quiet science lesson. Sierra Club is apoplectic, roaring out with a 1432-word press release I won’t recount here (not posted at their site yet). But it makes a pretty good case that Christie’s choosing to make things easier for corporate polluters and the coal industry at the expense of your health. And that it has created (or saved) jobs, cut emissions and is supported by the state’s major utilities. Christie’s already raided $65 million from RGGI, money meant to support clean energy programs, diverted to the budget deficit.

RGGi is a first-of-its-kind initiative, and threats to it are national enviro news. NRDC just posted this poll that shows New Jerseyans will probably think their governor’s headed in the wrong direction – increasingly.  

Sierra Club NJ is the source of this list of how the Christie administration has rolled back clean energy problems and undercut the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Governor Chris Christie has withdrawn New Jersey from an important climate change emissions lawsuit. The lawsuit, Connecticut v. American Power, includes New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, and several other states in a lawsuit to have five electric utilities cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 3% annually over a ten year period. This is the first time New Jersey has backed out of litigation regarding the environment and air pollution.

  • The Governor is overhauling our Energy Master Plan.  We believe the plan will be revised to include more natural gas and nuclear energy, reducing funding for solar and other renewable energy sources.  We believe the revised plan will also call for more gas lines to transport Marcellus Shale gas and more transmission lines, such as the Susquehanna-Roseland line, which his administration supports.

  • The Governor signed a bill to provide subsidies of $1 billion for the construction of three new fossil fuel power plants in New Jersey.

  • The Governor diverted $52 million from the Clean Energy Fund to support renewable energy projects in the state.

  • Governor Christie has eliminated the Office of Climate Change, took over $400 million in energy funds, and last year he took $63 million dollars of funding from RGGI to balance his budget.
  • Comments (3)

    1. huntsu

      Don’t look any farther than your own cover for the media and left to bash Corzine, dumbass.

    2. speedkillsu

       Our climate has changed daily, monthly, yearly since the formation of the atmosphere, and I am fairly certain that the “climate” has never been the same twice and in fact has varied quite extensively throughout earths history.

      So, its the people who think the climate should not change (they somehow think america can legislate it to stay the same through cap and trade,RGGI) Sp who are truly the grandest of idiots!

    3. ken bank

      Let’s not make this worse than it is.  I seriously doubt withdrawing NJ from RGGI will have even the slightest impact on air quality and global warming.  The problem with greenhouse gases needs to be addressed at the national and even international level.  But that’s not the purpose of this diary.  What is significant is this story posted on Politicker NJ:

      Gov. Chris Christie said he was convinced by 90 percent of scientists that climate change is, to some degree, a manmade occurrence.  “It’s time to defer to the experts,” he said at a press conference. “We are at least a part of the problem.”

      For any Republican, much less one with a national reputation and presidential ambitions, to even admit man made global warming is a problem seems to me a lot more significant, at least from a political standpoint, than acknowledging that RGGI has simply not been effective at addressing the issue.  It certainly will not put him on good terms with the tea party faithful, despite his withdrawal from RGGI.  And, let’s face it, there were Democrats in several industrial states who voted against “Cap & Trade” because it put businesses in those states at a competitive disadvantage just as there were Republicans like Len Lance, Frank LoBiondo and Rodney Frelinghuysen who voted for it because businesses in their districts would benefit.  So it’s not really as much a partisan issue as, say, medicare and health care reform.

      Here’s another interesting item from PolitickerNJ:

      Christie . . . concurred that human beings are “at least part of the problem” contributing to global warming and vowed to block new coal plants in the state and incentivize wind and solar energy.

      This is hardly the stuff Steve Lonegan’s wet dreams are made of.  The part about “incentivizing” wind and solar energy is especially intriguing in light of a diary I wrote several months ago about Todd Christie’s role as a “consultant” to energy companies seeking to take advantage of tax subsidies for alternative energy projects.  Hopefully we’ll get more info about these “incentives” the Governor was talking about and how they might enrich members of his family.


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