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New Jersey to pull out of carbon cap group

May 27, 2011 at 5:09 PM   |   Comments

TRENTON, N.J., May 27 (UPI) -- To the dismay of clean energy advocates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the state would pull out of the region's cap-and-trade program he calls "gimmicky."

Christie said the northeast's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a "failure" that taxes citizens and businesses, announcing his state would pull out of the program by the end of the year, The (Newark) Star-Ledger reported Thursday.

Christie acknowledged human effects on climate change but said the initiative was doing nothing to solve the problem.

"This program is not effective in reducing greenhouse gases and is unlikely to be in the future," Christie told reporters. "The whole system is not working as it was intended to work. It's a failure."

New Jersey would be the first state to pull out of the 10-state trading system, The New York Times reported.

New Jersey was succeeding in reducing its carbon dioxide emissions, Christie said, not because of the multi-state program known as RGGI but because it is relying more on natural gas and less on coal to fill its energy needs.

"RGGI does nothing more than tax electricity, tax our citizens, tax our businesses, with no discernible or measurable impact upon our environment," Christie said.

Under the initiative, 10 Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states from Maine to Maryland set a ceiling on carbon dioxide emissions and require power plants to purchase credits or allowances to emit specified amounts of carbon dioxide.

Companies reducing emissions below their designated caps are allowed to sell or trade their excess carbon allowances in online auctions held four times a year.

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