New Jersey Requests to Rejoin Environmental Pact - NBC 10 Philadelphia

New Jersey Requests to Rejoin Environmental Pact

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    New Jersey Requests to Rejoin Environmental Pact
    Spencer Platt/Getty Images
    NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 19: Democratic candidate Phil Murphy, who is running against Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno for the governor of New Jersey , speaks at a rally on October 19, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. Murphy was later joined by former President Barack Obama This is Obama's first return to the campaign trail to stump for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey and Virginia as they prepare for next month's elections. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    New Jersey's governor asked member states of a regional environmental pact on Monday to let his state rejoin the group.

    It's Gov. Phil Murphy's latest attempt to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative since his Republican predecessor, Chris Christie, pulled New Jersey out of the group.

    "As a founding member of RGGI, New Jersey is eager to rejoin your state as a partner in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the health of residents, and growing the economy in our region," the first-term Democratic governor wrote

    Christie announced in 2011 that New Jersey was leaving the cap-and-trade program that is made up of nine New England and mid-Atlantic states working to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

    Murphy signed an executive order in January to rejoin the group, but rules require that member states agree to let non-members join.

    “As a founding member of RGGI, New Jersey is eager to rejoin your state as a partner in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the health of residents, and growing the economy in our region,” Murphy wrote in a letter sent last week to the governors of nine RGGI states in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions, according to a statement.

    RGGI chairman Ben Grumbles, who is the secretary of Maryland's Department of the Environment, said in a statement that the member states congratulated New Jersey on steps toward "renewed participation," but stopped short of saying if the state was officially readmitted.

    Grumbles said the group looks forward to more in-depth talks in the future.

    Catherine McCabe, the acting commissioner of the state's Department of Environmental Protection, said in a statement, “as a recognized national leader on environmental protection and as a coastal state, it is imperative that New Jersey resume its rightful place as a leader in combating climate change and sea-level rise." 

    The money RGGI raises is distributed to participating states to finance clean energy programs.

    Murphy campaigned on rejoining the alliance in last' year's election, a position he shared with his Republican rival then-Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.