Lawmakers Want NJ Back In Greeenhouse Gas Reduction Program

Mar 20, 2017

Mike Egenton and Sara Bluhm oppose the legislation.
Credit Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are trying again to get the state back into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Governor Christie pulled the state out of the program in 2011, saying it was an ineffective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. He vetoed previous bills to force the state to resume participation.

Sara Bluhm with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association told lawmakers the state doesn't need to get back in.

"New Jersey is a leader on its own. We have the lowest emissions from our power plants of any state within our electric grid."

Michael Egenton with the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce says a lot of the state’s air problems come from emissions in Pennsylvania, which does not participate in RGGI.

“If we’re going to have a bigger conversation on where are we at with RGGI, where’s the environmental and economic benefits, I think we have at a minimum to ask our neighboring state Pennsylvania what do you plan on doing going forward?”

Environment New Jersey director Doug O'Malley says resuming participation in the program would help fight carbon emissions and global warming.

"The timing of this bill could not be more important because President Trump's administration is going to move forward to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, and the Clean Power Plan is a national policy that was going to reduce emissions from our power plants."

Senate Environment Committee chairman Bob Smith doesn't expect Christie to sign the bill, but he's hoping for a different outcome when a new administration takes over in eight months.

"This bill corrects the biggest mistake of the last bill which is if we go in, we're in. You can't pull the plug out afterwards."