withdrew from the plan since it would hurt support among the Republican base for a possible presidential run. Christie spoke at an Americans for Prosperity donor meeting in New York on Friday; the group is funded by billionaire right wingers and climate change deniers Charles and David Koch:
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 to be 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.
...Americans for Prosperity, which receives funding from the libertarian billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch, spent heavily in the 2010, 2012 and 2014 elections to oppose candidates who supported cap-and-trade. The group took aim at Republican candidates in primary races who signaled that they would back climate-change policy, and it is expected to play a key role in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries. “We were exceedingly pleased that the governor got New Jersey out of the R.G.G.I. boondoggle,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, referring to the regional plan. “It’s something that A.F.P. in New Jersey worked hard on, and the governor listened, and we applauded him pulling out and applaud him for refusing to go back in.” Mr. Phillips said the move would be sure to help Mr. Christie’s efforts in the Republican primaries, should he run.
Although many Republican politicians question the established science that burning fossil fuels warms the planet, support in New Jersey for climate-change policies increased after Hurricane Sandy battered the Northeast in 2012. Experts say no single storm can be directly attributed to climate change, but a federal study released in May, the National Climate Assessment, concluded that climate change is making the Northeast more vulnerable to deluges, rising sea levels and higher storm surges. Last year a Stanford University poll found that 80 percent of New Jersey adults think the government should take action to limit greenhouse gases from industry.
Even after withdrawing from the program, New Jersey customers still have slightly higher electricity bills because the state is part of a wider regional electricity market, said Susan Tierney, an author of the Analysis Group report and a former top Energy Department official in the Clinton administration. Ms. Tierney also noted that the state no longer enjoyed the revenue flow from companies paying for pollution permits. “It would be a very economically efficient thing for New Jersey to rejoin,” she said. “They could get more bang for their buck and have money to circulate back into the economy.”