Today the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is holding a public hearing on regulations to formally withdraw the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based program designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants in the Northeast. New Jersey needs the economic, public health, and climate benefits that RGGI brings. Here are five reasons why the state should rejoin RGGI:
- RGGI is a proven success. RGGI is a sensible, market-based, and effective way for New Jersey to reduce its global warming emissions, while boosting its clean energy economy.
- RGGI can deliver much-needed revenue. New Jersey could earn millions of dollars in carbon revenues through RGGI, which could be invested in local economic opportunities including funding renewable energy and energy efficiency. New Jersey raised over $113 million in revenues through 2011 before Governor Christie withdrew the state from the program.
- RGGI can help fight climate change. Rising sea levels and worsening storm surge are already having a harmful impact on the state. Cutting carbon emissions is critical to slowing the pace of increase of these and other climate impacts. The state will also need funds to help prepare and protect communities from impacts already underway.
- RGGI is carbon standard-compliant. Rejoining RGGI would be the smart, flexible way for New Jersey to comply with the recently announced draft carbon standard for power plants, a standard set under the Clean Air Act.
- New Jerseyans want climate action. An overwhelming majority (80%) of New Jersey citizens wants limits on carbon emissions, and Governor Christie’s unilateral decision to withdraw from RGGI runs counter to that. (A state court ruled that the manner in which Governor Christie made the decision in 2011 violated state law, which is why the DEP is now proposing a formal rule to withdraw New Jersey from RGGI.)
As UCS President Ken Kimmell put it in an open letter to Governor Christie: New Jersey, come back!
If you’re a New Jersey citizen who supports clean energy and the need to slow the pace of climate change, tell Governor Christie to rejoin RGGI. You can attend today’s hearing or submit a comment by September 5, 2014.