On January 29, Governor Phil Murphy issued an Executive Order directing the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Board of Public Utilities to begin reentering the state into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This comes after former Governor Chris Christie removed the state from the compact back in 2012. This executive action is in addition to a bill that is currently in the New Jersey legislature that would make the state rejoin the RGGI by statute and also make it difficult for future governors to withdraw the state from the compact. The bill, S.611 and 874, was voted out of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on January 22 by a vote of 4 to 1 and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
RGGI is a market-based program designed to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont are all members. There was a 2014 cap of 91 million short tons on carbon dioxide, with declines of 2.5% every year from 2015-2020. The program works by having states sell almost all emission allowances through auctions and then invest proceeds in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other programs that benefit consumers. The group held a webinar on January 26, 2018 to discuss adding Virginia to the RGGI market. From the perspective of those performing legal research, the RGGI website provides a helpful collection of statutes and regulations from the member states regarding the budget trading programs.
Silverman, Gerald B., New Jersey Governor Rejoins Carbon Trading Program, Energy & Climate Report, January 29, 2018.
McKenna, Phil, New Jersey to Rejoin East Coast Carbon Market, Virginia May be Next, Inside Climate News, January 29, 2018.
Johnson, Brent & Michael Sol Warren, Phil Murphy Reverses Christie and Brings New Jersey Back into Climate Change Pact, NJ.com, January 29, 2018.