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New Jersey, Come Back! An Open Letter to Governor Christie on RGGI

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Dear Governor Christie:

I read today that you plan on formally pulling your state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nine state “cap and trade” program that cuts carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Your actions today follow through on steps you took three years ago to take New Jersey out of the program.

As the President of the Union of Concerned Scientists and former chair of RGGI, I urge you to re-consider. I know you like straightforward, no-nonsense communication, so let me be as direct as I can:

RGGI works. The nine RGGI states have cut carbon emissions from their power plants by over 40% and grown their clean energy economies by keeping their energy dollars local, investing over 700 million dollars in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and creating thousands of jobs.

You need RGGI more than ever. The EPA is setting up sensible rules that will require New Jersey to cut its carbon emissions 43% below 2012 levels by 2030. RGGI gives you a great chance to work with your neighboring states and pool resources to make these cuts. Why go it alone when you can do it better by teaming up with your friends?

When you pledged to get out of RGGI three years ago, you made a good point—the program wasn’t working as well as it could because it offered too many “allowances” to the power plants and the price of the allowances was too low. But RGGI fixed that problem last year and now the program is firing on all cylinders.

So Governor, now is the time to recognize that times have changed, and so have you. Come back into this highly successful program. By the way, I am sure that the nine RGGI states would be delighted to have you return.

Please call me if you have any questions.

Ken Kimmell

Posted in: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming

About the author: With more than 30 years of experience in government, environmental policy, and advocacy, Ken Kimmell joined UCS as president in May 2014. Prior to joining UCS, he served as the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). As commissioner, he served as chairman of the board of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), helping to prod the nine member states to reduce power plant carbon emissions by almost 50 percent through 2020, avoiding some 90 million tons of emissions in the region. See Ken's full bio.

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