Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Directing New Jersey to Reenter the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

On Jan 29, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order tasking NJDEP and NJ BPU with NJ’s reentry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative  (RGGI). The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a cooperative of states in the northeast United States committed to limiting and reducing greenhouse gases.  New Jersey was a founding member of RGGI in 2009, but withdrew on January 1, 2012, as the previous governor believed the program “a failure.”

RGGI is a cooperative among states in the northeast dedicated to capping and reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector through a mandatory market-based program. Through each state’s independent Carbon Dioxide Budget Trading Program, each participating state sells emission allowances through auctions and invests proceeds in clean energy innovations. During the years New Jersey failed to participate in RGGI, it is estimated that New Jersey would have received $279 million in revenue that could have been used to sponsor programs in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The executive order requires NJDEP and NJ BPU to “rejoin RGGI in an expeditious manner” and to promulgate guidelines for the allocation of any funds resulting from New Jersey’s participation which must include factors to ensure any funds New Jersey receives be allocated to projects that will serve New Jersey communities most impacted by the effects of climate change.

For more information regarding the potential impacts of this Executive Order, please contact William F. Harrison, Esq., Chair of the Firm’s Environmental Law and Land Use & Approvals Practice Group, at wharrison@genovaburns.com or 973-533-0777.

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