As Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey explores a 2016 presidential campaign, he is under growing pressure from his State Legislature to rejoin a regional cap-and-trade program that would limit New Jersey’s carbon emissions — and likely hurt his chances for the Republican nomination.
Mr. Christie, who withdrew from the program in 2011 as he first considered running for president in 2012, remains adamant that New Jersey not participate in the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, even though the majority of state legislators say it would be in New Jersey’s economic and legal interests. Business groups remain divided on the plan.
“No, I would not think of rejoining it,” Mr. Christie told reporters during a recent trip to Mexico. “I think it’s a completely useless plan.”
The New Jersey Superior Court ruled this year that Mr. Christie failed to follow proper legal procedure when he withdrew his state from the program because his administration did not hold public hearings on the move. To comply with the law, Mr. Christie’s administration held a public hearing last month, but has made it clear that the governor still has no plans to rejoin the program. The New Jersey Legislature has voted twice to rejoin, but Mr. Christie vetoed both bills.
Some political analysts say Mr. Christie‘s motive in staying out of the plan is to placate powerful conservative groups, including Americans for Prosperity, which are highly influential in Republican primaries and consider cap-and-trade programs energy taxes that hurt business and eliminate jobs. Mr. Christie will be the main speaker at an Americans for Prosperity donor meeting in New York on Friday.
This would be good for his citizens, good for their economy, good for the country, and good for the world. Likewise, it is the will of the people as expressed by their elected representatives at the state level. But he’s going to nuke it to advance his own political ambitions. Just like he did the the ARC tunnel, which would have been an economic boon and would have helped relieved congested traffic. Just like he threw billions of dollars to Wall Street for the NJ pension fund. And on and on.
These aren’t decisions based on facts and sound advice and with improving his citizenry’s lives. They’re winks and nods and pay-offs to those who might help propel him to higher office.