On Pollution, RGGI, Christie Doesn’t Walk the Walk

For Immediate Release

Admits Climate Change is a Problem, 
Vetoes Bill That Would Keep New Jersey in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

On Friday afternoon, Governor Christie vetoed a bill that would have continued New Jersey’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  RGGI is a 10-state agreement to cap power plant emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), require polluters to pay for their emissions, and invest those payments in clean energy projects.

Matt Elliott, Global Warming and Clean Energy Advocate at Environment New Jersey, issued the following statement:

“It comes as little surprise that the governor vetoed this bill late on a Friday when few people were paying attention.  The people of New Jersey support RGGI and want our state to do more to tackle pollution and promote clean energy.  A majority of New Jersey legislators strongly support RGGI.  And over 10,000 citizens have recently emailed or called the governor to urge him to stay in the program.  And yet Governor Christie refused to listen and plowed ahead on his own, cheered every step of the way by groups funded by out of state fossil fuel money. 

“Once again, Governor Christie has sided with polluters over the people of New Jersey in attacking RGGI – our only tool to directly control CO2 emissions from power plants.

“Contrary to the governor’s spin, RGGI has been heralded as a success in New Jersey and across the Northeast.  Here in New Jersey, proceeds from RGGI have helped New Jersey-based businesses and institutions invest in clean energy projects that are creating enough energy to power close to 20,000 households.  This means less pollution, cleaner air, and lower utility bills for these companies.

“In vetoing a bill that would keep New Jersey in the program, Governor Christie said we have to do more to tackle global warming.  We agree.  But the solution is not to abandon one of our only tools to address this problem.  More than ever, we should be working together, cooperatively, with our neighboring states to make RGGI even stronger.  To abandon the program and years of hard work and progress is little more than a political stunt that takes us in the wrong direction.

“Governor Christie justified his action by decrying the high cost of energy in New Jersey.  Yet he failed to be straight with the people of New Jersey and admit that RGGI costs the average New Jersey household just over 40 cents per month – a small price to pay to cut pollution, promote clean energy, and reduce our fossil fuel dependency. 

“It’s clear that the governor has made up his mind and is refusing to listen to the people.  We urge the Legislature to stand up for the people and do all they can to block the governor’s attempts to kill RGGI in New Jersey.  We need real leadership on this issue, and sadly it’s not coming from the governor’s office.”

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