Environmental lawyers argued before a New Jersey appellate court Wednesday that the state violated its own rules when it withdrew from a regional agreement with 9 other states to reduce power plant emissions.
New Jersey was briefly a part of a multi-state, cap-and-trade agreement called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, also known as RGGI (pronounced "Reggie").
But Gov. Christie opposed the arrangement and in 2011, the Department of Environmental Protection posted an announcement on its website announcing that NJ had withdrawn from the program.
Susan Kraham, attorney for Environment New Jersey and the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that the website posting violated New Jersey law, which requires public input on such a decision.
“It’s as if the President of the United States just said OK, nobody needs to drive the speed limit, nobody needs a prescription to get drugs, you can smoke as much marijuana you want and you don’t have to follow the law and that’s basically what DEP did here.”
An attorney for the state argued that the rules for public comment only applied if the state were still in RGGI.
The appeals court will now consider whether the DEP violated state law. It’s not known when a decision in the matter will be issued.