TRENTON, NJ – The Department of Environmental Protection will hold an informational meeting for the public and stakeholders on March 29 to discuss New Jersey’s efforts to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a climate-change compact made up of states in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions.
The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the DEP headquarters in Trenton and will include presentations on climate change, an overview of New Jersey’s greenhouse gas and energy picture, and an explanation of RGGI’s cap-and-trade mechanisms designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector while generating funds for energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction initiatives. Registration is required.
Two public-discussion sessions will focus specifically on the rules the DEP is developing to expeditiously return New Jersey to the cap-and-trade program, as directed by Governor Phil Murphy. The DEP is specifically looking for input on a rule being developed that will prioritize projects funded with RGGI auction proceeds. The other rule addresses the technical and regulatory aspects of rejoining the climate-change initiative.
“Governor Murphy has made New Jersey’s return to RGGI – and placing the state once again as a leader in fighting climate change and sea-level rise – a priority of his administration,” Acting DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “At the DEP, we are committed to rejoining RGGI as quickly as possible while fully engaging the public and all stakeholders.”
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which have key roles in implementing RGGI and disbursing auction proceeds, will be in attendance.
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Initially a founding member of RGGI, New Jersey exited the program in 2012. Governor Murphy on Jan. 29 signed an executive order directing the DEP and Board of Public Utilities to take all necessary regulatory and administrative steps to rejoin RGGI. The executive order requires that auction proceeds emphasize projects that serve communities disproportionately impacted by the effects of environmental degradation and climate change.
Governor Murphy also recently formally notified the governors of the nine RGGI states of New Jersey’s intent to rejoin the compact, a condition in a 2005 memorandum of understanding that established RGGI. Current RGGI states are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Rejoining RGGI aligns with the Murphy Administration’s goal of 100 percent clean energy for New Jersey by 2050 and focusing efforts on communities disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change. Transitioning from reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change to renewable energy will also strengthen New Jersey’s economy and protect residents from harmful pollution.
RGGI is the nation’s first multi-state, market-based cap-and-trade program designed to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants. RGGI participants allocate, award and transfer carbon allowances through an auction process as an annual carbon-dioxide cap declines. The process encourages more market efficiencies, development of renewable energy, and technology improvements for power plants.
Proceeds from the auctions are disbursed to states for a variety of programs that include energy efficiency assistance for consumers, renewable energy, greenhouse gas abatement and electricity bill assistance.
The public information meeting will be held in the first-floor public hearing room at the DEP headquarters, 401 East State Street, Trenton.
To learn more about RGGI and to register for the public information meeting, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/aqes/rggi.html
To view a copy of Governor Murphy’s letter to other RGGI state governors, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/docs/letter-to-rggi-governors20180222.pdf
To learn more about DEP’s Air Quality, Energy and Sustainability program, visit: