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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 September, lawmakers introduced a set of bills to repeal the Global Warming Response Act and New Jersey's participation in RGGI.

Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose and Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll with 26 co-sponsors to the Environment and Solid Waste Committee, and Senators Michael Doherty and Steven Oroho introduced a with 11 co-sponsors to the Environment and Energy Committee.

No hearings are currently scheduled for the bills, although legislators have until Jan. 10, 2012 to vote on the measures, according to the Office of Legislative Services.

Jeff Tittel, director of the Sierra Club's New Jersey chapter, told SolveClimate News that he is not confident that Christie will uphold the state's participation in RGGI. "Given where he's been heading, there is a very good chance that [Christie] will withdraw."

Christie Skeptical of Man-Made Warming

Christie in October that he is skeptical that humans are responsible for global warming.

In March, he to withdraw New Jersey from , an ongoing lawsuit filed in 2004 by eight states. The suit aims to force five utility companies to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent annually over 10 years.

, a statewide advocacy group, said in of Christie that the governor had cut more than $400 million from state clean energy programs and had skirted enforcement of greenhouse gas regulations and water quality rules.

Tittel of Sierra Club said that Christie had essentially already exited from RGGI by spending $68 million from carbon credit sales to balance the 2010 state budget.

Similar raids of RGGI funds took place last summer in New Hampshire, where lawmakers voted to take the state's $3.1 million share of the proceeds to help patch a $295 million budget hole. New York pulled $90 million out of its proceeds — which to date total $312 million — to bolster its general fund.

NJ Exit Would Be 'Very Bad Thing' for RGGI

NRDC's Martínez said that New Jersey's potential withdrawal from RGGI would not force other states to abandon the program, but it would deal a major blow to the carbon market.

The state is the fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases out of 10 participants.

In 2008, New Jersey emitted some of carbon dioxide — or nearly 14 percent of total emissions that year from RGGI states. It also accounted for about 12 percent of proceeds from the 11 carbon auctions.

By comparison, New Hampshire contributed 4.5 percent of total 2008 emission levels, and generated 3.6 percent of the carbon proceeds to date.

"We don't want to lose any state, but New Hampshire is one that is fairly small. It is different with New Jersey — it is a big state and a key participant in RGGI in terms of the size of the [market]," Martinez said.

"It would be a very bad thing for the program if New Jersey were to pull out."

However, Martinez said that he thinks Christie's re-evaluation of RGGI could assuage the governor's concerns that the program drives up energy costs and creates an unfavorable business climate.

"New Jersey imports a good part of its energy from Pennsylvania. At the beginning, when we were evaluating RGGI, we were concerned that if cost per kilowatt-hour in the state went up, that would favor [energy] imports," he said.

"What we have seen is that the cost of energy has been going down since RGGI started, and primarily it is because of the availability of cheap natural gas," he said.

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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