For Immediate Release
New Jersey Will Miss First Greenhouse Gas Allowances Auction
Corzine Global Warming Program behind Schedule, Blowing Second Major Deadline
TRENTON - The state of New Jersey will be on the sidelines watching the
historic first auction of greenhouse gas pollution allowances under the
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI scheduled for this Thursday,
September 25, 2008. New Jersey will also likely miss the next auction,
slated for this December, according to Public Employees for
Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
New Jersey cannot participate in the auction because the Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) has yet to adopt regulations to
implement the much touted and closely watched pollution trading
New Jersey's RGGI rule proposal recently closed its public comment
period on September 5, 2008 and adoption of final rules is not expected
for several months.
Delays also means that New Jersey will miss an opportunity to
generate the $40 to $70 million from auction proceeds authorized by
RGGI implementing legislation recently signed into law by Gov. Corzine.
On June 30th, the DEP missed another major milestone by failing to
release the comprehensive emissions reduction plan mandated by the
highly touted Global Warming Response Act (GWRA). This required plan
has still not been unveiled. These delays raise questions about the
commitment and ability of the Corzine administration to the steep
greenhouse gas emission reductions promised under the GWRA.
" New Jersey cannot claim to be a leader in the race against global
warming when it does not even show up at the starting gate," stated New
Jersey PEER Director Bill Wolfe, a former DEP analyst. "The Governor's
bold rhetoric has been followed thus far by timidity and tardiness."
RGGI is a regional compact among ten Northeast states. It is a
market based "cap and trade" system to meet greenhouse gas reduction
goals. This regional auction, the first in the United States, is being
closely watched and will affect Congressional deliberations on how to
fashion a national global warming strategy.
PEER has criticized the RGGI program because, by design, it can not
meet its publicly stated emission reduction goal. The RGGI agreement
does not address greenhouse gas emissions from out-of-state coal power
(roughly 30% of New Jersey's electric consumption) and would allow a
nearly 10% increase in current instate power sector emissions.
Moreover, market-driven cap and trade systems have a history of
vulnerability to manipulation and enforcement problems.
"Given the current national financial crisis which was fueled
by unregulated financial schemes, perhaps policy-makers should
rethink the wisdom and effectiveness of so called ‘market based
solutions,'" added Wolfe, noting that the New Jersey RGGI law provides
subsidies to major polluters and does little to directly bring about
deep emissions reductions. "As we are seeing, the market alone is no
magic elixir, especially for the type of fundamental restructuring
needed to meet the challenge of global warming."
New Jersey PEER is a state chapter of a national alliance of state and federal agency resource professionals working to ensure environmental ethics and government accountability