Thursday, April 9, 2015

Chris Christie’s Stance on Environmental Issues

By Candace Mitchell

All eyes are on New Jersey as speculation continues as to whether or not New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will run for president in the 2016 presidential election. His stances on various issues have been magnified in the media, so where does the potential 2016 presidential candidate stand when it comes to the environment?

Since considering a presidential run, Governor Christie has made moves to the right on a few issues, including climate change. In New Jersey, this debate is mostly centered around the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which is aimed at reducing global warming pollution from factories and power plants.

Christie made the decision to withdraw New Jersey from the program in 2011 and twice vetoed the state legislature’s bipartisan vote to rejoin the RGGI, according to MSNBC. Christie later stated in a news conference that New Jersey would not rejoin RGGI “on [his] watch.”

More recently, Christie’s administration drew attention for its decision to settle a multibillion-dollar pollution lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corporation for just $225 million, about a fraction of what the state originally aimed for, according to The New York Times.

Chris Christie has done some good for the environment, mostly due to his interest in protecting New Jersey’s beaches, one of NJ’s biggest tourist draws. In August 2011, Christie expressed opposition to off-shore drilling, citing its potentially negative impact to the New Jersey coastline, according to a gubernatorial press release.

“As stewards of the environment, it is incumbent that we take all necessary measures to protect these treasures and to sustain our coastal communities and the diverse economies they support,” he said.

In August 3, 2011 he also signed a series of three bills that made $157 million in funds available to protect the Green Acres open-space acquisitions and expand and develop state parks, forests and wildlife management areas, according to a gubernatorial press release.

However, it seems as though Governor Christie may be retreating from these types of moves as he inches closer to a potential bid as a Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential campaign.

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