New Jersey Must Make Reducing Carbon Emissions a Priority

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Target: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Goal: Reduce carbon emissions by re-entering New Jersey into a regional carbon emission reduction program.

According to two environmental groups, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie illegally pulled out of a regional program designed to reduce carbon emissions. Experts had reported that the program reduces pollution, creates jobs and saves people money. Nonetheless, Christie declared it an unnecessary tax and withdrew New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection is now being sued as a result of Christie’s actions. Two groups, Environment New Jersey and the Natural Resources Defense Council, sued the DEP alleging that they violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which calls for input from “stakeholders” and the “public” before measures are taken to leave programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. No such move was made as Governor Christie simply withdrew New Jersey from the program.

RGGI calls for caps on carbon dioxide emissions in power plants and a goal of a ten percent reduction by 2018. The regional program, composed of nine other states, had reduced carbon dioxide emissions across 200 plants by 23 percent in the last three years.

Christie’s administration rationalized the decision in part as a move to alleviate taxes on businesses and called the program a “failed public policy,” an interesting statement given the success of the program in other states. In addition, the average monthly cost for New Jersey citizens was a paltry forty cents, a minuscule amount especially in the context of the long run savings incurred by the program. Another report, by the well respected Analysis Group, found that the RGGI had resulted in $1.3 billion of regional economic growth. If these numbers indicate a failed policy, the bar may be set just a little too high.

Whatever the reason, political or otherwise, the move to withdraw from the RGGI was made too quickly and without thorough consideration or consultation. Governor Christie and New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection must reevaluate their move to withdraw from the RGGI and move to rejoin the other nine states already committed to reducing carbon emissions.

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PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Christie,

Your decision to sanction the withdrawal of New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is deeply disturbing. Two environmental groups have sued the Department of Environmental Protection, which you oversee, because of their swift move to withdraw New Jersey from the program. Some consideration, consultation and discussion is needed before a move like this is made.

Such hasty action is completely unwarranted especially because the RGGI is proven to reduce carbon emissions and is already being implemented by nine other states. In addition to reducing emissions, Analysis Group reports that $1.3 billion of regional economic growth resulted from participation in this program.

It is time to put aside party politics that may affect any rash decisions which have far reaching environmental consequences. I urge you to seriously reconsider New Jersey’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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