NJ Court: Gov. Christie Illegally Repealed Climate Change Pollution Rules

We don’t always get good news. From Gov. Christie, a politician happy to sacrifice common sense to impress far-right contributors and keep good buddies with the Koch boys, we mostly get bad news. Today, we got good news, because the NJ Appellate Division essentially overruled him, deciding that Christie illegally repealed RGGI, and broke the law in 2011 by excusing power plants from complying with regulations limiting pollution that contributes to climate change. It’s a huge win for Environment New Jersey and Natural Resources Defense Council. Susan Kraham, Senior Staff Attorney at Columbia University’s Environmental Law Clinic, represented the environmental groups in court:

“The court ruled that the public needs to be involved. Neither Governor Christie nor the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection can simply repeal state laws by fiat. The court gave the administration 60 days to initiate a public process around any changes to the climate change pollution rules.”

The case against the NJ DEP began two years ago, a year after Christie posted notice on a website that plants no longer had to comply with pollution limits, with the effect of killing NJ’s participation in RGGI, the 9-state program that has been reducing pollution from East Coast plants for 5 years.

More on the jump page, including reactions from Rush Holt & Steve Sweeney.

Rep. Rush Holt, ranking Dem on the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, called today’s ruling “only the latest affirmation of Governor Christie’s failure to address climate change:”

“New Jersey has an opportunity to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning toward sustainable, renewable energy sources. Instead the Christie Administration has attempted to push through controversial pipeline projects, rejected attempts to develop offshore wind energy, and illegally excused power plants from complying with common-sense pollution limits.

“This ruling recognizes that the way humans produce and use energy is the greatest insult to our planet – and that New Jersey has an obligation to act.  My hope is that Governor Christie will find the court’s rebuke to be a reminder of his obligation to protect New Jersey’s natural resources.”

Fat chance. Christie acknowledged the climate change was real in 2011 when he pulled NJ out of RGGI, but didn’t recognize it as a factor in the one issue he defines his governorship by; Hurricane Sandy. Or maybe it’s better to say he didn’t seem to care, referring to it as an “esoteric question” he didn’t think related to Sandy recovery.

Doug O’Malley of Environment NJ, called today’s ruling a big win for fighting climate change and for the public process. And he calls RGGI a program that works.

Sen. Steve Sweeney released this statement:

“The Legislature has made its intention clear that we must take steps ensure a clean, healthy and stable environment for our children and grandchildren. RGGI was and still is the best avenue towards that goal.  I applaud the NJ Appellate Court today for allowing for public input and Legislative oversight into this issue.”

Comments (2)

  1. marshwren

    is one thing; getting him to actually do anything to be in compliance with the law is quite another.  And how much more will he force taxpayers to spend filing an appeal and/or fighting efforts to force him to comply with the ruling?

    Reply
  2. deciminyan

    One of the areas that is missing from the discussion is much-needed jobs. Complying with RGGI actually creates jobs. Just not jobs for the Koch Brothers.

    Reply

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