The Democrats in New Jersey’s Legislature are trying to revive RGGI after Governor Chris Christie backed out of it last month.
What is RGGI?
RGGI is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. It is a cap-and-trade compact, originally among ten Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States. No one has yet tested it in court, though this compact is clearly unconstitutional under Article I, Section 10.
On May 26, 2011, Governor Christie abruptly pulled New Jersey out of RGGI. RGGI’s own Memorandum of Understanding gave any governor the power to do that. Two weeks ago came the likely reason: RGGI’s second-quarter 2011 auction was a bust. It sold only 30 percent of the available CO2 emission permits, at $1.80 per ton—the reserve price.
What has happened since?
Americans for Prosperity/New Jersey reported today that a New York activist was suing her State to stop its participation in RGGI. (See the complaint.) Her grounds: New York never passed any law to enable New York to take part. Thus any participation violates New York’s own Constitution.
But in New Jersey something entirely different has happened. Senators Stephen Sweeney and Bob Smith introduced S2946, a bill to change all the tentative phrases in the original enabling law—the “may be” words—to definite words, like “is.” More to the point, this would force New Jersey to stay in RGGI.
Today the full Senate passed S2946, 21 to 18, with one member (Senator Andrew Ciesla, R-Monmouth) not voting. Tomorrow the Assembly will take up the same measure with an Assembly bill number (A4108).
Where does Chris Christie stand?
That question is not settled. On one hand, the Senate does not have the votes to override a veto, should Christie use it. The Senate would need 27 votes, many more than 21.
The problem is that Chris Christie is a global warmist himself. He quit RGGI only because it wasn’t working out. He said that it wouldn’t reduce CO2 emissions enough. In fact it wasn’t bringing in enough money, and he knew it.
The news is flying through New Jersey’s Tea Party network. They are turning their full attention on the Assembly vote, while trying to find out why Andrew Ciesla did not vote. They also vow to make all 21 “yes” votes pay the price in November.
Every yes-vote who is re-elected will continue to claim they represent the majority, which is why the people—the true majority—should vote them out of office.
If the Assembly passes the measure, and Christie does not veto it, one or more Tea Party activists might sue the State. Under Bond v. United States, any New Jersey resident would have standing to make a federal case under the Tenth Amendment, and under Article I, Section 10.
Featured image: the Constitution of the United States. Photo: The National Archives.
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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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