New Jersey Sets Hearing on Rejoining RGGI Carbon-Trading Program

New Jersey lawmakers scheduled a hearing to discuss rejoining a carbon-emissions trading system that serves nine northeast states.

The State Assembly’s Telecommunication and Utilities Committee will listen to arguments on Oct. 10 about Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Inc. and its efforts to curb climate change, according to an e-mailed statement today from Upendra Chivukula, the Democratic committee chairman.

RGGI operates a carbon-trading system designed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the northeast. New Jersey was part of the group that agreed to form the program in 2005. Governor Chris Christie pulled the state out in November 2011. He’s since vetoed two bills that would have compelled the state to rejoin.

“Retreating from RGGI was a tactical blunder and we believe it is crucial that New Jersey rejoin,” Chivukula said in the statement. He said the effort stands a better chance after Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey last year, underscoring the need to address climate change.

Christie, a Republican who faces re-election in November, has said the group didn’t protect the environment and was an unnecessary tax on consumers.

RGGI’s current members are the six New England states, New York, Delaware and Maryland.

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