New Jersey will once again be part of the regional carbon pollution-reducing initiative that we helped create.

On Dec. 17, the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection announced it will propose regulations for the state to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in 2020. The 10-state program caps carbon emissions from power plants, makes the plants pay for their pollution, and invests the money in clean energy.

The program, said Environment New Jersey Director Doug O’Malley, is "a strong first step to reduce pollution from our fossil fuel plants and move us to a clean, renewable energy economy.”

Under the state's plan, New Jersey's emissions would drop from 18 million metric tons per year to 11.5 million metric tons in 2030. During his campaign, Gov. Phil Murphy pledged to rejoin RGGI, overturning former Gov. Chris Christie's decision to withdraw. Virginia is in the process of joining the program and Pennsylvania and Illinois could be next in line.

Photo: Beesley Point generating plant in Cape May County, New Jersey. Credit: Public Domain.