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Koch Bros. Influence Felt in New Jersey as Governor Weighs Carbon Market Exit

New Jersey’s potential withdrawal from the 10-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative would deal a major blow to the cap-and-trade scheme

By Maria Gallucci, SolveClimate News

Apr 11, 2011

In 2010, the state allotted $29.6 million for 12 large-scale projects, but only six projects worth $12.3 million in loans actually closed after some funds were used to cover state budget gaps.

Koch Brothers Wielding Influence

Martinez noted that the governor's re-evaluation of RGGI may in part be a response to mounting pressure from outspoken RGGI opposition groups, namely (AFP), founded by David Koch in 2004, and the (ALEC), which is funded partly by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

"Unofficially, [Christie] is just responding to the pressure that both of these groups are putting on the state and on him," Martinez said, "which is basically this Koch Brothers-funded agenda to attack anything on climate."

Charles and David Koch, billionaire oil executives, are considered the country's most prominent financiers of efforts to unravel regulations on industrial greenhouse gas emissions.

In February, AFP launched a media blitz of radio spots and television advertisements in New Jersey to alert residents "to the fact that RGGI will cause their electricity rates to soar and cost our state jobs," .

"The governor goes around at these town hall meetings, and they have been showing up and challenging him on RGGI," Martinez said.

AFP is planning a similar media campaign for New Hampshire and has by the state's House of Representatives to pull New Hampshire out of the carbon trading program.

In Maine, AFP is backing by Republican State Sen. Tom Saviello, the sole sponsor, to withdraw the state from RGGI and the northeast power grid.

Calls and emails to the Arlington, Va.-based and in Wichita, Kan. requesting comment were not returned by deadline.

Koch Industries, in a , said it "will continue to encourage a civil, science-based discussion of the effect of greenhouse gases on the climate, and the potential effects and costs of policies proposed to deal with climate change."

AFP: We're Urging Christie to Leave RGGI

Steve Lonegan, director of AFP's , told SolveClimate News that his office had provided Christie with information on RGGI and urged the governor to repeal the measure.

The chapter also runs a website, , as a resource for RGGI opponents and New Jersey residents. According to claims on that site, energy taxes under RGGI have cost businesses and consumers more than $66 million.

"We all share a desire for clean air and water and to improve the environment. This will not do that," Lonegan said.

He pointed to  prepared on behalf of RGGI that showed the program's cap would only begin to significantly curb carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. And he added that unidentified speculators or investors could purchase carbon permits for the current bid price of $1.89 per allowance and sell them for $20 in the future.

"Why is it necessary that there be a scheme whereby investors can make huge profits off the resale of these permits down the road?" he asked.

Internal GOP Pressures in Legislature

Christie is also facing internal pressures from Republican legislators at home.

Coch has an exciting

Coch has an exciting personality to make us understand. 

Thats very right what this

Thats very right what this anonymous person has written in his comment, I totally beliieve that.

Koch is not the real thing...

Given that Koch is doing so much to sabotage the future, I would think any smart politician would step very carefully around him... it amounts to treason to bring so much harm. 

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