Brushing up his conservative bona fides for a presidential run? Or just enacting smart policy?
New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie announced Thursday he will withdrawal his state’s membership from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by the end of the year.
“It’s a failure,” said Christie. “RGGI has not changed behavior and it does not reduce emissions.”
The goal of RGGI — a ten-state cap and trade program — is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 10 percent by 2018. When utilities purchase their emission permits, the proceeds are supposed to go to investments for developing alternative energy sources.
He stayed in it a little too long, and here's why:
Last year, however, Christie took $64 million from RGGI and put it in the state’s general fund to help get New Jersey’s fiscal house in order. And while Christie has floated a plan in the past to stay in RGGI simply to use the funds to pay down the debt, it apparently didn’t get very far.
It was a revenue-generator for the state, and Christie was loath to give it up as a budget-balancing tool. One has to think that his "belief" in global warming was based on his need for RGGI revenue. But as apparently he wasn't able to strike a deal to make this hidden tax do his bidding, he eliminated it entirely.
And there's no doubt it was a tax - RGGI's own proposal estimated an cost increase of approximately $36/year per household (a conservative figure, no doubt), with "savings" incurred over time as high prices forced people to use less electricity and invest thousands in new appliances that would take decades to pay back (and pay off):
But ultimately, Christie did the right thing, even if it was for the wrong reason. The utilities were spreading the cost to the consumers, who couldn't afford "green technology", and likely the New Jersey kitty of RGGI money actually spent on renewable energy was either wasted or used as political collateral. The state spent $22M of this money in 2009, can anyone tell me where the hell it all went?
Kudos go to Americans for Prosperity, which has been pressuring Christie on this since Day 1 of his administration. The turning point may have been in late April, when they got a key Democratic lawmaker to sign on to repeal. For a giggle, see how the whiny liberals at Blue Jersey react - ignoring the bipartisan consensus, they blame "Christie alone", the Koch brothers, and the "dummy chunk" of the governor's "base". Sheesh.
If that's the best argument the Jersey Left can make, well....it's a shame Christie didn't pull out of this state-sanctioned consumer scam a long, long time ago...