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New Jersey to exit regional greenhouse gas program

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HOST: The state of New Jersey has pulled out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. RGGI, as it’s known, originally included ten states in the Northeast that agreed to work together to reduce pollution.

Marketplace’s Eve Troeh reports New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has doubts, not about the problem but how the states are tackling it.

Eve Troeh: The Republican governor started by saying he believes climate change is happening — he believes humans are causing it. But he doesn’t believe RGGI is making a dent in the global problem.

While New Jersey buys carbon credits, coal plants burn unfettered next door in Pennsylvania, a non-RGGI state.

Chris Christie: It simply doesn’t work. And we’re not going to participate anymore in something that doesn’t work.

Dale Bryk: I don’t think there is any economic or environmental justification for the governor’s action.

Dale Bryk is with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She says an independent study shows RGGI’s cut pollution by 30 percent across the 10 states. It’s spurred investments in efficiency. That’s lowered energy bills. She says New Jersey may not have seen as many benefits because the governor raided his RGGI fund. He used $64 million earmarked for clean energy to close a budget gap.

Governor Christie says his state can do better on its own, without RGGI.

I’m Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

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