House Leaders Call Report Outlining Failure of RGGI Program as Evidence of Need to Eliminate Cap-and-Trade in NH

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) today offered the following statements regarding the release of a report by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the Department of Environmental Services (DES) showing the flaws in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a 10-state cap-and-trade program for the Northeast. 

The report demonstrated that the last five RGGI carbon auctions have failed, with bidders purchasing credits at the floor, or minimum, price.  The report also states that RGGI adds over $5.50 to the price of ratepayers’ electric bills each year.  RGGI consultants call for reducing the cap to increase bid prices, stating, “Tightening the cap and forcing extra emission reductions in RGGI states would strengthen the case for the program to constitute implementation of the US federal Environmental Protection Agency’s New Source Performance Standard. In turn, this could provide an added incentive to state regulators to update the cap.

The PUC and DES will outline the report at a meeting of the Electric Utility Restructuring Oversight Committee this afternoon.

 House Speaker William O’Brien

 “At a time when the New Hampshire residents pay among the highest electric rates in the nation, the last thing we need is a state mandate that adds another $5.50 per year on the backs of our ratepayers.  Furthermore, the costs to our businesses are even higher and create a competitive disadvantage and make it harder to convince companies to grow or move here and create new jobs.  The RGGI auctions have been complete failures for the past year and a half, and now the RGGI consultants are looking to significantly tighten the cap to raise electric rates even further.  New Hampshire needs to abandon this useless income redistribution scheme immediately and put more money back in the pockets of the working families across the state.  It’s time for the take-from-the-many to give-to-the-politically-connected-few scheme that is RGGI to be lifted from the backs of New Hampshire electric ratepayers.”

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt

“New Hampshire entered the RGGI program because we were told that a national cap-and-trade program was on its way.  Clearly, we were mislead by those who wanted to charge ratepayers to pay for their green pork barrell projects.  To date, our citizens have paid millions into the program so that the politically well-connected can get government bailouts for energy subsidies.  The fact that the entire program appears on the verge of collapse and those running it feel the need to massively overhaul the system to try to make it relevant again, at the expense of those paying the bills, shows why we need to get New Hampshire out of this program now.”