08.20.2010 0

New Jersey Business Owners, Activists Seek Repeal of “Cap and Trade” that Could Reverberate Nationally

By Kevin Mooney — Business owners have joined forces with free market activists in New Jersey who are calling on state lawmakers to repeal “cap and trade” policies, which are responsible for boosting energy prices. On Thursday, The New Jersey Restaurant Association (NJRA), which represents the state’s largest employment sector, announced its support for a bill that would both revoke “cap and trade” and rescind N.J.’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

“The opposition that is building up against `cap and trade’ in New Jersey could have national implications since the program here was crafted as a model for what President Obama had in mind,” Steven Lonegan, a former mayor of Bogota explained in an interview. “The American people are opposed to these 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.”

Lonegan, who is also a former gubernatorial candidate, is heading up the effort to repeal “cap and trade” in partnership with private citizens and public officials. Legislation (Bill A3147) has been introduced in the Assembly by Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25) and Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose (R-24). An accompanying bill is expected to be introduced by Senator Michael Doherty (R-23).

Lisa Jackson, who now serves as Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, previously served as the NJ environmental commissioner. Prior last year’s “climategate” scandal that exposed how politically motivated researchers manipulated and exaggerated warming trends, federal lawmakers were eyeing Jackson’s state level program as a foundation for new regulatory schemes modeled after the Kyoto Protocol.

“There are profound economic consequences attached to scientifically unfounded `cap and trade’ programs,” Lonegan said. “Unfortunately, there are still too many state legislators who don’t understand the issue and don’t have the backbone to stand up to groups like the Sierra Club. But the public is behind us and we feel like we have momentum.”

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