TRENTON, N.J. – This afternoon, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Commissioner Catherine McCabe announced the department’s plan to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a program which currently includes nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states and aims at cutting global warming emissions. Under the proposed plan, which starts in 2020, carbon emissions would be reduced by 2.5 million metric tons between 2021 and 2025, and by 11.5 million metric tons in 2030. Former Gov. Chris Christie withdrew from RGGI in 2011.
Beyond New Jersey, Virginia is in the process of joining RGGI for the first time, and leaders in other states, including Pennsylvania and Illinois, have expressed interest in joining.
Environment New Jersey Director Doug O’Malley released the following statement in response:
“It’s been a long time coming for New Jersey to rejoin one of our country’s most successful carbon pollution reduction programs. Today’s announcement marks a key milestone, as New Jersey will once again be a member of the RGGI program it helped to found, and will end an era of allowing fossil fuel plants to pollute freely.
“While RGGI is not a silver bullet to reduce all our carbon emissions, it’s a strong first step to reduce pollution from our fossil fuel plants and move us toward a society powered by clean, renewable energy. As the Trump administration attempts to roll back carbon-cutting policies at the federal level, the RGGI program is reason for hope when it comes to climate action, and New Jersey’s re-entry is a much-needed course correction after the Christie administration’s decision to withdraw our state from the program.
“Gov. Murphy campaigned vigorously on climate action and repeatedly asserted on the campaign trail that one of his first environmental actions as governor would be for New Jersey to rejoin RGGI. We applaud the governor and his administration for putting us on a path to doing just that.
“There has been a full-throated call to rejoin RGGI from a broad swath of the public and climate allies. In order to be a climate leader amongst the RGGI states, it is critical that we not only rejoin the program, but implement the strongest possible emissions cap.