A Capper for Christie?

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An anti-regulatory
earthquake is stirring in New Jersey that could potentially free
other states and regions from economically unsound energy restrictions
and renewable mandates that have further burdened America’s already
beleaguered consumers with higher costs.

Representatives
from private industry have joined with the state branch of Americans
for Prosperity (AFP), a grassroots free market advocacy group, to
organize a series of protests and media events targeting
global warming policies
modeled after the Kyoto Protocol, an
international agreement that came into force in 2005. Most recently,
the New Jersey Restaurant Association (NJRA), which represents the
state’s largest employment sector, announced its support for a bill
introduced in the state assembly that would both repeal "cap
and trade" legislation and rescind N.J.’s membership in the
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

If successful,
this one-two punch could reverberate in other parts of the country
that have succumbed to higher energy prices. Michael Patrick Carroll
(R-25) and Alison Littell McHose (R-24) are leading the charge for
A
3147
on the Assembly side. They are now joined in this effort
by Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23) and Sen. Steven Oroho (R-24), who have
introduced mirroring legislation in the upper chamber.

"The
opposition that is building up against ‘cap and trade’ in our state
could have national implications since the program here was crafted
as a model for what President Obama had in mind for the whole country,"
Steve Lonegan, a former mayor of Bogota, who heads up AFP’s N.J.
chapter, said in an interview. "The American people are opposed
to these costly environmental regulations but they are still growing
right under our feet at the state level with these regional initiatives.
It’s shocking how few people realize New Jersey already has the
program."

A key figure
here is Lisa Jackson, President Obama’s Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) administrator, who previously served as the N.J. environmental
commissioner under former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. Jackson helped
formulate what is arguably the most restrictive and economically
damaging global warming regulatory regime now in operation throughout
the country. The N.J. law, which became effective in 2008, calls
for greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to where they were in
1990 "no later" than 2020. It further requires that emissions
not exceed 80 percent of their 2006 levels "no later"
than 2050.

Unfortunately,
the New Jersey experience is part of a larger story.

Although the
Kyoto Protocol has been held at bay on the federal level, environmental
pressure groups have successfully lobbied for greenhouse gas regulations
within various states. A crucial player in this area has been the
Center for Climate Strategies (CCS), an unheralded but politically
potent outfit that has worked successfully to bypass state legislatures
and formulate regulatory policy with compliant governors in both
parties. Chris Horner, a senior fellow with The Competitive Enterprise
Institute (CEI), has documented the organization’s activities and
methodology in a very detailed report for the Capital Research Center
(CRC) that is worth reviewing in light of recent developments.

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the rest of the article

September
30, 2010

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