Now that Governor Christie’s national political ambitions are put on hold, the question remains whether he will release his stranglehold on GOP legislators, or remain beholden to his Koch Brothers benefactors.
The first test may be coming soon. Earlier this year, in a surprise and profoundly misguided move, Christie withdrew the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This “cap and trade” policy is reducing the harmful effects of fossil fuels and promote clean alternative energy sources.
The state legislature directed the governor to keep New Jersey in RGGI, but kowtowing to the extreme right, the Governor vetoed that bill.
Now Assemblyman John McKeon (D-27) is leading an effort to override the veto. He told News 12’s Walt Kane, “In the first three years since [its] enactment, RGGI has supported an estimated 1800 local jobs in New Jersey, generated more than $150 million in economic value and brought in $181 million from auction proceeds.”
If there’s a silver lining in the climate change debate, it’s that its deleterious effects are felt by people of all political stripes. As a society we are creating serious problems for the children of the most radical conservative legislators, as well as those of more sane and rational people. If the governor sends word that his GOP colleagues are permitted to vote their conscience, there’s a chance that the veto can be overridden and New Jersey can regain its leadership in the domain of environmental stewardship.
All of our energy comes from that nuclear fusion device that we call The Sun. As solar advocate Danny Kennedy is quoted in today’s New York Times:
When we burn coal, gas or oil, we are simply harnessing an archived version of that same energy from the sun, stored in plant and animal life, compacted and preserved under the earth’s crust. As Kennedy puts it in his passionate but rational way: “Think about it this way. We’re killing people in foreign lands in order to extract 200-million-year-old sunlight. Then we burn it … in order to boil water to create steam to drive a turbine to generate electricity. We frack our own backyards and pollute our rivers, or we blow up our mountaintops just miles from our nation’s capital for an hour of electricity, when we could just take what’s falling free from the sky.”
We have been raping the environment for the last 200 years. The best legacy to leave our children and grandchildren is to start down the long, hard road to reversing the damage we continue to cause.