Advocacy in the RGGI Lawsuit

IEPNJ successfully advocated in the RGGI lawsuit to protect the interests of IEPNJ members and avoid retroactive harm.

On May 26, 2011, Governor Christie announced that New Jersey would be withdrawing from the RGGI program. On June 6, 2012, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Environment New Jersey (Environment NJ) filed a lawsuit against the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for illegally suspending the regulations governing New Jersey’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – the regional cap-and-trade program intended to reduce C02 emissions from fossil fuel-fired electric generating units in the region.

As an intervenor, IEPNJ strongly advocated protecting members from any retroactive compliance obligations should the court rule in favor of NRDC and Environment NJ. IEPNJ’s goal was to assure that if New Jersey is directed back into RGGI, no retroactive costs would be imposed on members.

On March 25, 2014, the Appellate Division ruled in the lawsuit. The Court did not accept DEP’s position that formal repeal of the RGGI regulations was unnecessary and directed DEP to follow the rulemaking process as part of its consideration of withdrawal from RGGI.

In recognition of IEPNJ’s arguments, the Court declined to order that New Jersey returns to RGGI immediately. Instead, the Court gave DEP 60 days to begin the process to formally repeal the regulations (or to amend them to make it clearer that they only apply while NJ is participating in RGGI). The Court confirmed, as requested by IEPNJ, that the regulations would not be in effect in the interim.

Due to IEPNJ’s active participation in this matter, we were able to ensure that the interests of the members were fully protected, shielding them from any retroactive costs.