Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday announced the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has formally adopted two rules returning the state to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). New Jersey was a charter member of RGGI before Murphy’s predecessor, Gov. Chris Christie,withdrew the state from the compact in 2012.
The first, the Carbon Dioxide Budget Trading rule, establishes the mechanisms for rejoining RGGI and sets the initial carbon-dioxide cap for the state’s electricity generation sector at 18 million tons in 2020. The second, the Global Warming Solutions Fund rule, establishes the framework for how the DEP, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities will implement a system to spend proceeds from RGGI carbon-dioxide allowance auctions, with an emphasis on projects that will benefit environmental justice in certain communities.
“Climate change and sea-level rise affects us all, and as a coastal state, New Jersey is especially vulnerable to the impacts of global warming,” said Murphy in a prepared statement. “The reckless decision to pull out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in 2012 cost the state millions of dollars in revenue that could have been used to put toward initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the health of our residents. New Jersey has reemerged as a national leader in fighting climate change and reentering the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will propel us on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.”
The DEP adopted the rules on Monday with their publication in the New Jersey Register. In the coming months, RGGI member states will vote on New Jersey’s adopted rules and formal reentry, which will allow the state to participate in the first-quarter RGGI auction in March 2020.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is made up of Mid-Atlantic and New England states working to reduce carbon-dioxide gas emissions from the energy sector through a cap-and-trade auction process that encourages more market efficiency, invests in renewable energy, and improves power-plant technology.
RGGI’s members are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Returning New Jersey to RGGI has been a priority for Murphy since the outset of his administration. In his first month in office, the governor issued Executive Order No. 7 directing the state to rejoin RGGI and develop a program that implements solutions that benefit communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change.