RGGI Update: Regional Cap-and-Trade Program Survives New York Challenge But Faces Others
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — a cap-and-trade program designed to limit power plant emissions in 10 Northeastern states — has been under close scrutiny in recent months as a result of lawsuits in New Jersey and New York, and legislation in New Hampshire. Each of these developments demonstrates the polarization and controversy that continue to surround greenhouse gas regulation, and RGGI in particular, years after the regional trading program first took effect.
In New York, three members of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political action group, brought a lawsuit against Governor Cuomo, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority challenging RGGI’s validity on multiple grounds. In a decision issued last month, the Supreme Court, Albany County dismissed the action, holding that plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the lawsuit because they did not suffer a distinct injury. It also ruled that plaintiffs’ claims would have been barred (regardless of their lack of standing) based on their failure to bring a timely challenge. The court agreed with the state defendants’ arguments that businesses have adjusted their practices based on RGGI, numerous programs would lose funding if RGGI were invalidated, and that plaintiffs provided no reason why their action was delayed until 2011, approximately six years after the RGGI program was adopted in New York.
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Map image via State of Delaware