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New Jersey Benefits From RGGI Withdrawal

August 29, 2012

New Jersey may reap additional benefits due to its withdrawal from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (aka RGGI) Cap-and-Trade scheme. Gov. Christie used his executive authority to pull out of RGGI last year and has twice vetoed efforts to put New Jersey back in and reimpose this job-killing electricity tax on the state’s businesses and consumers.

But New Jersey’s withdrawal has also given it a competitive advanatage over nearby states like New York which still participates in the compact. According to an article in the Tonawanda News (Niagara County), New York is potentially seeking to import electricity from the Garden State.

The group endorsed the state’s “Energy Super Highway” efforts, which Gov. Coumo is pushing, to get electricity from upstate sources to downstate customers — principally New York City. The energy highway would update the infrastructure with a billion-dollar effort.

However, the state is also considering a project to pipe power downstate from Ontario down the Hudson River or bringing electricity in from New Jersey. The Garden State opted out of RGGI, giving New Jersey an advantage.

Meanwhile, RGGI has inflicted enormous damage on upstate New York, home to several coal-based power plants including AES Somerset (now Somerset Power Co.).

Engert said that RGGI, shifted the burden onto the taxpayer. The town has had to renegotiate its Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) three times with the AES, LLC. With AES payments down, school, county and town taxes go up.

There is an effort for full repeals of RGGI and Corwin said withdrawal from the compact is possible. Environmentalists are fighting to save it.

“It hurts New York State business,” said Goodenough who is Chief Operating Officer for the new endeavor. “It has had a reverse affect.”

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