TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Christie administration improperly repealed regulations aimed at reducing pollution from power plants, a New Jersey appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The appeal stems from a 2012 lawsuit by environmental groups challenging the way the state withdrew from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a measure aimed at reducing carbon dioxide pollution by setting limits on emissions by power plants that burn fossil fuels.
Christie withdrew from the initiative in 2011, calling it failed public policy that was a burden to taxpayers.
New Jersey's appellate division ruled Tuesday that the Christie administration didn't follow provisions required in the repeal process. The suit did not challenge the legality of New Jersey's withdrawal from the initiative, but argued that the administration had circumvented procedure — including a requirement to hold public hearings — and instead engaged in improper rulemaking by posting the withdrawal notice on the DEP's website.
Dale Bryk, a director with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which filed the suit with Environment New Jersey, said the appellate ruling sent a message that "Governor Christie doesn't get to play by his own rules."
"New Jersey will have to do something about its dirty power plants regardless of the outcome of this suit, as federal rules to cut power plant pollution in every state are coming down the line," Bryk said in a statement urging Christie to rejoin the RGGI. "Why reinvent the wheel? New Jersey should rejoin the now tried-and-true program that has proven itself to be a pollution-cutting, economy-boosting powerhouse in neighboring states."