Christie +1

(The Record) — Governor Christie said this morning that he will pull New Jersey out of a regional cap-and-trade energy program.

The move drew strong criticism from environmental advocates who argued it was a rollback of clean energy efforts. But it was supported by business groups who said the 10-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative was a burdensome energy tax.

“We will withdraw from RGGI in an orderly fashion by year’s end,” Christie said.

RGGI is a cooperative effort by Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 10 percent by 2018. To do so, power plant operators such as PSE&G must purchase allowances from their host states to cover each ton of carbon dioxide emissions they are likely to produce. The companies can then buy, sell or trade their permits. Companies that reduce their emissions and don’t need all their allowances might sell them to a company whose emissions exceed their allowances.

The proceeds are to be invested by the states in energy-efficiency projects and developing renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power.

“It’s a failure,” Christie said. “RGGI has not changed behavior and it does not reduce emissions.”