TRENTON – Environmentalists were outraged last week when Gov. Chris Christie vetoed an attempt by Democrats in the state Legislature to return the Garden State to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
In 2011, Christie withdrew New Jersey from the multi-state cooperative program that taxes power plants for their carbon emissions and directs that money into energy efficiency projects. Advocates say the program benefits the environment and creates green jobs.
The governor said that RGGI “did nothing more than impose a tax on electricity to be borne by New Jersey’s overburdened taxpayers and ratepayers who already pay some of the highest energy costs in the country.”
According to the New Jersey Sierra Club, RGGI adds about $6 to the average New Jersey household’s yearly energy bill.
Christie vetoed nearly identical legislation last summer; since Democrats did not have the votes to override that veto, they tried again with a new bill this year.
“We’re extremely disappointed that, despite unprecedented public support from average New Jerseyans who care about clean air, Gov. Christie chose to side with a small, extreme wing of the Tea Party that is funded by out of state fossil fuel interests,” said Environment New Jersey’s Matt Elliott.
“Now we need the New Jersey Legislature to stand up to the Governor by overriding this veto protecting our environment and economy,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Requiring continued participation in RGGI is critical to protect New Jersey’s interests, economy, and environment as the Governor continues to move to the right and appease corporate polluters and the Tea Party to promote his national political profile.”