Tuesday, March 25, 2014

NJ Court:  Gov. Christie Illegally Repealed Climate Change Pollution Rules

Steam rises from the stack of a scrubber as the primary emission after the cleaning process at a coal-fired power plant outside Baltimore, Maryland, in this 2011 photo. (Credit: Andre Chung/MCT) Click to enlarge.
A New Jersey court ruled this morning that the Christie Administration broke the law when it excused power plants from complying with regulations limiting dangerous climate-changing pollution.

“Today’s court decision—together with the substantial economic, environmental and public health benefits the program has demonstrated in neighboring states—should compel New Jersey to give RGGI another look,” said Dale Bryk, Energy and Transportation Program Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court ruled today in favor of Environment New Jersey and the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a lawsuit the organizations brought against the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 2012.  The year before, when the Christie Administration posted a notice on a website that power plants no longer had to comply with pollution limits, it effectively ended New Jersey’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (or RGGI), a nine-state program that has been reducing climate-changing pollution from East Coast power plants for the last five years.

“The Christie Administration sidestepped the public process required by law,” said Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey.  “New Jerseyans support action to reduce the impacts of global warming.  We hope that today’s ruling will help their voices be heard.”

“Neither Governor Christie nor the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection can simply repeal state laws by fiat,” said Susan Kraham, Senior Staff Attorney at Columbia University’s Environmental Law Clinic, who represented the environmental groups in court.  “The court gave the administration 60 days to initiate a public process around any changes to the climate change pollution rules.”

NJ Court: Gov. Christie Illegally Repealed Climate Change Pollution Rules

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