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Supporters: Don't Get Rid of RGGI

January 25, 2011

CONCORD, N.H. - State legislators are considering an exit from a 10-state carbon cap-and-trade program, but its supporters say such a pullout would hurt the environment and the state's economy.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which passed in 2008, has been targeted by some Republican lawmakers who call the program a failure and a carbon tax on electric ratepayers. But backers such as James Grady, president of Merrimack-based LighTec, a company that helps businesses save energy, say the program saves money over the long haul and protects the environment.

"The power company doesn't have to make investments in adding new power plants, which can be very, very expensive and which tends to raise electric rates."

Supporters say RGGI has provided millions of dollars for projects that have put people to work retrofitting buildings, and will save millions in healthcare costs associated with pollution.

Grady says RGGI has been effective in getting businesses to do the right thing for themselves and the environment.

"They don't always operate in their best interest, especially if the businesses are located in leased space."

Proceeds from the sale of carbon credits have been distributed to benefit energy conservation projects across the state, totaling about $28 million so far.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - NH