New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed an executive order directing the state to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
Former Governor Chris Christie pulled New Jersey out of the multi-state program in 2011.
Murphy says that was a retreat from a collaborative effort to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
Murphy says getting back in will restore New Jersey’s place as a leader in the green economy.
“Rejoining RGGI is about much more than cutting emissions and strengthening the our defense against climate change. It’s about investing in our future.”
Murphy says the state has forgone $279 million in revenue that could have resulted from participation in RGGI. Money, he says, that could have been used to invest in solar and wind energy and improve air quality.
Senate Environment Committee chairman Bob Smith says reentering the program would have other benefits.
“The states that went into RGGI also have a decrease in morbidity and mortality. Less people die of and have aggravated symptoms due to air pollution because there’s less of the fossil fuel products in the air.”
Smith is urging that legislation be enacted to prevent future governors from unilaterally withdrawing the state from the program.