New Hampshire’s Gov. John Lynch last week vetoed a bill that would have withdrawn the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional carbon trading program whose members include nine other Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. The governor said the bill would cost the state’s citizens jobs and hinder economic recovery.
“RGGI was created as a bipartisan initiative in New Hampshire, and across the Northeast, to address shared economic and environmental concerns,” he said in a statement. “I am vetoing this legislation because it will cost our citizens jobs, both now and into the future, hinder our economic recovery, and damage our state’s long-term economic competitiveness.”
Lynch cited a University of New Hampshire study, which concluded that the cumulative impact of the initiative through the end of 2010 had been a net benefit of over $16 million in allowance revenue.
“In addition, because New Hampshire is part of a regional electricity system, if this legislation were to become law, New Hampshire ratepayers would continue to pay part of the cost of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, but would no longer receive any benefit from the allowance auction revenue,” he added. “SB 154 would effectively cause New Hampshire ratepayers to pay higher electric rates to subsidize efforts to reduce energy costs in other states.”
Industry experts said that the New Hampshire governor’s veto does not mean that Republican efforts to withdraw the state from the regional cap-and-trade program are dead. The state’s House is reportedly preparing a new withdrawal bill for the next legislative session in January.
Last month, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie said he would withdraw his state by the end of the year from the program because he said the “program is not effective in reducing greenhouse gases and is unlikely to be in the future.” However, New Jersey’s Legislature has since passed legislation that affirms the state’s involvement in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Christie has not indicated whether he will veto the bill.
Sources: POWERnews, New Hampshire Governor’s office