One of the favorite lines that Loneganites like to throw at Chris Christie supporters is that he supports cap and trade legislation on the state level. Their basis is New Jersey’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which is the first cap and trade program in the United States. The goal of the program was to cut CO2 and other emissions in the northeastern United States by 10 percent by 2018. The program included ten states that all agreed to dedicate millions of dollars in that time to fund green programs in each state.
Over the last few years New Jersey and its neighbors have been dumping our tax money into an account for these programs. Until now. New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, and Maryland have all reneged on the promise to fund this environut slush fund in hopes of fixing their respective budget woes or taking care of issues that are more pertinent and likely better uses of taxpayer money.
Green technology and jobs seem to be hot topics among some of our other bloggers lately, much to the chagrin of some readers. I can see both sides of this issue. Being on the cutting edge of green technology is a essential for the United States to remain the world’s economic force in the long run. This technology, probably in some form that we have not yet even realized, is the future of power, and being able to export it will ensure our nations dominance. Just as so many nations rely on the United States for refined oil, they will someday need to rely on us for whatever comes next, if we do the research and perfect the technology. However, government intervention to implement inefficient and immature technologies and go against the grain of market forces is not the way to achieve this goal. Energy companies see the long term, they know that to stay relevant and rich they will need to change their model at some point. The research will get done, and it will likely be funded by the insane prices we are once again paying at the pump to Exxon, et al. And thats exactly the way it should be. Once these technologies can actually power a city and make money doing it, the green revolution will happen. And until that day, it shouldn’t happen.
Details on the funding changes are scarce at the moment, but an Associated Press article on the subject seems to imply that not only are dollars not being placed into the account, but “substantial” funds from within the account may be removed to help the Christie Administration deal with next year’s budget deficit. Last night Governor Christie appeared on 60 Minutes to discuss fiscal challenges facing the states in the coming years. His message was simple, that New Jersey must cut its spending and will be an example to the nation of a state that will live within its means. There is probably no better place to start saving money than a program that is fundamentally flawed like the RGGI. Plus, anything to give the Loneganites one less “RINO” talking point is always great news!