N.J. Gov. Chris Christie guts greenhouse gas fund targeted by Koch Bros.' Americans for Prosperity
As one of its many objectives, the Koch Bros.-founded and -financed Americans for Prosperity has been out to defund the seven-year-old Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. It seems to have succeeded in New Jersey. Republican Gov. Chris Christie has just scooped up the $473,000 left in the RGGI coffers and plunked them into the general fund along with $210 million from the state's clean energy fund.
Myopia? Buffoonery? Hardly. It's a calculated effort to block clean and green energy programs as well as anything smacking of "climate change" mitigation. While Christie himself is not personally a climate-change denialist, the tea party and oil-soaked AFP most definitely fit in that category. Thus does Christie align himself with the most retrograde of his party's movers and shakers. This is not the first time the governor has raided each fund:
"They're cutting the program to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy," said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. "When people go to buy an energy-efficient appliance, they won't be getting any rebates."
Christie conceded last May that climate change is real, but he claimed RGGI is ineffective and vowed to take the state out of the program by the end of 2012. Maria Gallucci of InsideClimate News reports:
In its three years in RGGI, New Jersey has generated more than $113 million in revenues from 14 auctions, even with Christie's diversion of millions of dollars. The proceeds helped homeowners and businesses purchase energy-efficient appliances, weatherize homes and install rooftop solar panels, resulting in $150 million in economic activity and the creation of nearly 1,800 jobs, according to a November report by Analysis Group, a Boston-based consulting firm.
A report this month by Environment New Jersey claims that scrapping RGGI would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in future revenues. The state, at minimum, could generate more than $170 million in auction proceeds between 2012 and 2018, the report found. RGGI authorities are now reviewing the program and could move to tighten emissions requirements. If that happens, the state could bring in between $340 million and $680 million during that six-year time period, it said.
“It’s creating jobs, putting money back in our pockets, and cutting harmful air pollution.
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