Kate Slusark, 212-727-4592
NEW YORK (May 26, 2011) -- Governor Chris Christie today announced he is starting the process of dropping out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a 10-state program in the Northeast that generates jobs and revenue for participating states, while investing in their clean energy economy, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
A new poll of likely voters in New Jersey indicates overwhelming public support for a program like RGGI in the state, and revealed more people were opposed to the Governor dropping out of it than supported this move. Details can be found here: http://www.nrdc.org/media/2011/110526.asp.
A statement follows from Dale Bryk, Director of the Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:
"Governor Christie is putting the profits of out-of-state oil interests over the well-being of his own citizens. In this tough economy, he should be supporting in-state consumers and small businesses, not multi-billion dollar corporations.
"The governor is proposing to drop out of a strongly bipartisan program that is lowering bills and cutting harmful air pollution, all while generating jobs, money and new industry in the state. With benefits like that, it's easy to see why a new poll shows overwhelming support for a program like this in the state, and it calls into question where Governor Christie's allegiances really lie.
"This is far from a foregone conclusion. The governor must complete a rigorous regulatory process before the deal is signed that requires him to listen to the concerns of his constituents -- and there's no guarantee. Governor Christie should do right by the Garden State and heed their call to stick with the program, or the state legislature should do it for him.
"Regardless of Governor Christie's actions, RGGI is resilient and will remain strong."
RGGI is an agreement among 10 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to lower energy costs, create good-paying jobs that can't be shipped overseas, and spur innovation, while cutting air pollution from power plants that threatens public health. Since it launched:
- Region-wide climate change air pollution is down 30 percent.
- Energy costs region-wide are 15-30 percent lower due in part to RGGI-funded energy efficiency programs.
- Energy efficiency programs funded by RGGI through 2010 will create nearly 18,000 job years (a year's worth of work) region-wide.
- The region's economy has grown by more than $2.6 billion overall because of RGGI.
- In New Jersey RGGI has already delivered over $52 million for clean energy projects that support new and existing jobs, and can save consumers and businesses money.
The Americans for Prosperity -- a corporate front group funded by out-of-state oil interests including Koch Industries -- recently launched radio and TV ads propagating false information about the program, in order to block clean energy, avoid accountability for air and water pollution, and protect their enormous profits.
Oil billionaires Charles and David Koch, among the top 10 air polluters in the United States, have funneled nearly $50 million to climate change-denial front groups like AFP that are working to delay and gut clean energy policies and programs like RGGI nationwide.