The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, officially described as the "first market-based regulatory program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions" with the goal of a 10-percent reduction from the power sector by 2018, just lost one of its 10 member states. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced yesterday that New Jersey would be the first state to withdraw from the initiative, which he called a failure.
Lisa Jackson, whom many have called the best head of the EPA in the agency's history, urged Christie to reconsider, AP reports, saying the program reduces air pollution, promotes clean energy and creates jobs.
AP explains that RGGI "puts a price tag on pollution by requiring fossil fuel-burning power plants in the 10-state region to buy credits to cover the carbon they emit, a method known as cap-and-trade. The money from the sale of the credits is meant to be used to pay for renewable energy initiatives."
Christie's decision is seen as a highly political move.
Opponents were quick to ascribe political motives to the governor's decision, given that Mr. Christie is seen as a possible Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential race and conservatives have vilified cap-and-trade programs, which set limits on emissions, as an unjust tax on business.
The Times quotes Democratic Assemblyman John McKeon: "Quite simply, this decision reeks of a governor desperate to boost his radical conservative credentials to distract from his failing policies."
More on New Jersey and the environment:
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New Jersey Bill Proposes To Ban Fracking - Would Be First State To Do So
New Jersey's Offshore Wind Power Plans Will Have Little Negative Environmental Impact: Study