*** MONDAY ADVISORY ***
McKEONCHIVUKULA WILL STAND WITH LEADING ADVOCATES OF THE ENVIRONMENT TO ANNOUNCE MULTI-BILL PACKAGE IN SUPPORT OF RGGI & TO PROTECT CLEAN ENERGY FUNDING
Assembly Utilities & Environment Chairmen Say N.J.’s Thirst for Energy Should Be Quenched by Renewable Sources that RGGI Helps Grow in Region
(TRENTON) Assembly Environment Chairman John F. McKeon and Assembly Utilities Chairman Upendra J. Chivukula will stand with leading advocates of the environment today to announce a multi-bill package to protect funding sources for clean energy and in support of New Jersey’s membership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
McKeon and Chivukula will make the announcement and address questions on the legislation at a news conference 1:00 p.m. on Monday, June 13, Room # 109, State House, Trenton.
Matt Elliott of Environment New Jersey, Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club, Elliott Ruga of NJ Highlands Coalition, Kelly Mooij of NJ Audubon, Rev. Fletcher Harper of GreenFaith, David Pringle of NJ Environmental Federation and Amy Hansen of NJ Conservation Foundation will stand with the lawmakers to support New Jersey’s continuation in the ten-state compact to curb greenhouse gas emissions and the protection of funding sources for clean energy.
Chivukula and McKeon are prime sponsors of the legislation that required New Jersey to become a part of the nation’s first market-based program to reduce global warming pollution from greenhouse gases by establishing a regional cap on emissions of carbon dioxide – the largest source of greenhouse gases that cause of global warming pollution.
Under RGGI, entities like power plants must purchase pollution allowances. Proceeds from the auction of allowances are intended to be invested in clean energy measures that further reduce energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. The measure is intended to provide for a 10 percent reduction of emissions in the region by 2018.
“Measures like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have catapulted New Jersey to national leadership in clean energy including renewable sources like wind and solar. It is incumbent upon us to work together in a bipartisan way to promote clean energy and make RGGI even more effective than it is today. On Monday, Chairman Chivukula and I will unveil a package of measures aimed at reasserting the Legislature’s intent to be part of RGGI and to protect funding for clean energy,” McKeon (D-Essex) said.
The United States is the world’s largest consumer of energy and uses 25 percent of global production. While domestic supplies meet only three percent of America’s energy needs, the rest comes mostly from foreign oil with a billion-dollars-a-day price tag. Defense experts say energy independence through the development of renewable sources is key to national security.
“America’s thirst for energy should be quenched by renewable sources that RGGI has helped grow in the region by raising hundreds of millions of dollars that have been reinvested in energy efficiency, the development of renewable sources and clean energy technologies,” McKeon added.
Out of the nearly $861 million raised in regional RGGI auctions, an estimated 63 percent of the funds have been invested in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other clean energy technologies.
“The first-of-its-kind Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a brilliant maneuver which has been winning the fight against global warming pollution by incentivizing industry to be environmentally responsible while meeting production targets to respond to market forces. RGGI has been bolstering our energy independence by fast tracking the development of a renewable economy,” Chivukula (D-Somerset) said.
“Staging a retreat from RGGI would be a tactical error for New Jersey. On Monday, Chairman McKeon and I will stand with leading environmental advocates for clean energy who have been responsible stewards of the environment to announce a multi-bill package to keep New Jersey in RGGI. We look forward to working in a collaborative manner with our colleagues in the Legislature and Gov. Christie to make an already successful initiative even stronger and more effective,” he added.
“More than ever, we need every tool available to fight global warming, reduce pollution, and promote clean energy,” said Matt Elliott, global warming and clean energy advocate at Environment New Jersey.
“We applaud Chairmen McKeon and Chivukula for taking a strong stand for clean energy and the environment by introducing this important package of bills. New Jersey’s participation in RGGI, together with our innovative clean energy funding mechanisms, have together created a clean energy economy that is the envy of the nation. We need to double down on these efforts and work to make them even stronger – that’s why the environmental community is proud to stand with the chairmen today to work toward a clean energy future for New Jersey.”
Since the measure (A-4559) was enacted into law in 2008, RGGI is credited with creating 18,000 jobs and generating $2.3 billion in economic activity in the region. The funds raised in auctions have helped deliver significant energy savings to small business, consumers and industry by funding energy conservation and energy efficiency programs.
According to a McKinsey Global Institute report an investment of $170 billion from now through 2020 would generate savings of $900 billion annually and could also cut global energy demand growth by at least fifty percent.
Defense experts say energy independence through the development of renewable sources is key to national security because it reduces America’s dependence on foreign oil with a billion-dollar-a-day price tag.
The United States is the world’s largest consumer of energy using 25 percent of global production. While domestic supplies meet only three percent of America’s energy needs, the rest comes mostly from foreign oil.
Operation Free, a non-partisan nation-wide coalition of veterans and military organizations says some of the funds spent on foreign oil are used to purchase arms used in combat against Americans.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
It implements New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan that sets a target for 30 percent of the state’s energy coming from renewable sources by 2020 including wind and solar. It provides for a reduction of overall energy demand by 20 percent and for the development of nearly 2000 MW of solar energy and 3,000 MW of offshore wind energy by 2020.
The Global Warming Response Act works in connection with New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan and is implemented by measures like RGGI. The plan requires the reduction of CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below the 2008 levels by 2050.