Remember RGGI? That’s the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – the first real effort nationally to implement a “cap and trade” system in an effort to use market forces to reduce greenhouse gases. By most accounts, the program has been a success, raising hundreds of millions of dollars, while reducing carbon emissions, in ten northeastern states controlled by both democrats and republicans.
It really didn’t seem too controversial in the Garden State, until this Spring, when Gov. Christie pulled NJ out of the program, a move most observers called pandering to a right-wing national audience, and which infuriated environmental groups. It got even more controversial when Democratic Sen. Paul Sarlo showed up for a press conference with “Americans for Prosperity” chief, Steve Lonegan, to announce his opposition to RGGI as well. Sarlo was soon followed by Sen. Nick Sacco and Sen. Jeff Van Drew in supporting the Christie move.
This prompted Sen. Barbara Buono (hey, why didn’t they poll her against Christie the other day?) to write a post here on Blue Jersey calling out what she saw as a huge mistake, and other democrats in the Senate and Assembly to propose blocking Christie’s move. Obviously, divisions within the party had begun, even before all the allegations about “fake democrats” and “Christiecrats” caught fire during the pension and budget battles.
Confused yet? I confess, I could use some education on the subject. So, I’m looking forward to next Wednesday’s forum: Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Asset or Liability for New Jersey?, featuring none other than AFP’s Steve Lonegan and the Sierra Club’s Jeff Tittel. (Professor Alain L. Sanders, a member of the Political Science Department of St. Peter’s College, will moderate the discussion.)
It’s next Wednesday, July 27, 2011 from 7 to 9pm at the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, 687 Larch Ave, Teaneck, NJ, presented by Bergen Grassroots (DFA). See some of you there, and maybe just maybe we’ll learn a few things – about RGGI, and about where our state is headed.