Environmentalists blasted Gov. Christie’s decision to exit the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Thursday by year’s end.
David Pringle of N.J. Environmental Federation said that while RGGI was not perfect, “It was a part of the process.” It was understood, he said, that other efforts would be necessary.
In response to the decision to stop participating in RGGI, Pringle said they may redouble efforts to get other states to join.
He said that overall, “it is a major step backward’’ for the state.
Also worrisome was the governor’s remarks Thursday about coal in New Jersey.
Although Christie said there will be no new coal plants in the state, Pringle said the door has been left open for the proposed PurGen coal plant in Linden if the Christie administration believes it can prove itself ‘clean’ enough.
Jeff Tittel, director of the N.J. Sierra Club, said that Christie misstated facts at his press conference announcing the departure from RGGI. According to Tittel, RGGI, a consortium of 10 Northeast states, has generated 18,000 jobs and pumped $2.3 billion into the regional economy.
Also, Tittel said that RGGI has led to a reduction in greenhouse gases from the electrical sector of 10 percent in its first three years.
“It’s a national embarrassment,’’ Tittel said. New Jersey had been in the forefront of some environmental efforts, but Christie is “sacrificing New Jersey’s environment for his political ambitions.’’