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Chris Christie Strikes a Major Blow Against Cap-and-Trade

Last summer, I wrote a piece in this space that posed a question: “Will New Jersey's Chris Christie Do the Right Thing On Cap-and-Trade?”  Today we got our answer, and it is a resounding yes!  

In a press conference moments ago in Trenton, Christie announced his support for repealing the state’s cap-and-trade law and withdrawing from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a 10-state regional compact in the Northeast that implements a cap-and-trade energy tax scheme from Maine to Maryland.

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

 

He is absolutely right, and the implications are huge – especially considering that the architect of RGGI was Lisa Jackson, who once was New Jersey’s director of the Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Jon Corzine, and is currently Obama’s administrator at the federal Environmental Protection Agency.  Jackson is now conspiring with Obama to disregard Congress, the American people, and the last national election to implement cap-and-trade like policies through a regulatory back door.

 

With Christie’s fabulous leadership, New Jersey will be out of RGGI by the end of the year, punching a huge hole in the middle of the regional scheme, lending momentum to burgeoning repel efforts in New Hampshrie, Maine, and New York, and leading, perhaps, the final and total end of cap-and-trade as a politically viable concept anywhere in the United States.

 

Steve Lonegan, Christie’s former rival for the Republican nomination and now the director of Americans for Prosperity’s New Jersey chapter, hailed Christie as a “great American hero” for standing up to environmental special interests and protecting New Jersey’s electricity consumers.

 

As a recap, the political “innovation” of the cap-and-trade scheme is that instead of levying a tax directly, it puts a cap on overall greenhouse gas emissions, and establishes a market for companies to buy and sell the permits. The overall effect is the same—if a company wants to emit more carbon dioxide, it must pay more. So it’s a tax with the added uncertainty of a rate that’s unknown and set at auction.  And a scam where the only winners are the traders who can make money off the scheme.

 

The day after the 2010 election Obama was asked about the failure of his national cap-and-trade bill, and he said it “was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way. It was a means, not an end.”

 

His first fall-back plan was to rely on the states.  With even deep-blue New Jersey now rejecting that approach, he will now no doubt lean even more heavily on Lisa Jackson to move forward with her back door regulatory attacks on affordable energy and American jobs.

 

But Lisa Jackson’s failed anti-energy policies have been exposed for the failure they are today by Governor Christie.  The rest of the governors in RGGI should follow his lead to undo Jackson’s handiwork in the Northeast, and Congress should follow his lead and stop what she’s trying to do now at the EPA.

 

On behalf of all American energy consumers and believers in economic freedom, thank you Governor Christie!

Phil Kerpen is vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity and the author of the forthcoming book “Democracy Denied” (BenBella Books, October 2011) which looks at President Obama’s regulatory agenda.

Phil Kerpen is the founder of American Commitment Action Fund, on the web at www.BookerFAIL.com.