Friday, August 19, 2011

AFP, New York Lawmakers Call For State's Withdrawal From RGGI Cap & Trade Scheme

Americans for Prosperity, Upstate New York Lawmakers: Stop New York’s Participation in RGGI Cap & Trade Scheme Before It’s Too Late

RGGI, Burdensome Regulations Jeopardize Thousands of Jobs at AES Somerset, Other Area Coal Plants

LINK: Click here for the UStream of today’s press conference.

DATELINE: SOMERSET, NY – Americans for Prosperity joined forces today with several upstate New York elected leaders to sound the alarm bell over the job-killing Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Cap & Trade scheme and other destructive “green” regulations that are threatening the viability of the area’s electricity-producing coal plants and risking thousands of jobs in the region.

A group including Somerset Councilman Daniel Engert, Niagara County Legislator John Syracuse, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-139), State Senator George Maziarz (R-62), AFP-New Jersey state director Steve Lonegan and AFP-New York grassroots chair Lisa Thrun assembled today at a press conference at Somerset Town Hall along with a number of AFP activists and Cap & Trade opponents. The group called on Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers to put an end to the RGGI Cap & Trade tax and roll back regulatory mandates which are pushing the area’s seventeen power plants to the brink. Upstate New York’s seventeen power plants represent a workforce of several thousand area residents.

In Somerset, NY, the site of today’s press conference, the AES Somerset plant was forced to suspend operations in November of 2010 as a direct consequence of economic pressures brought about by the RGGI Cap & Trade program and other regulatory mandates. AES Somerset employs 150 upstate New York residents and represents the county’s largest taxpayer.

Recently, the town of Somerset, led by Councilman Daniel Engert passed a resolution calling on Governor Cuomo to reevaluate the environmental policies which are hurting the region.

“The effects of [the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative] and other policies are hurting businesses, jobs and communities throughout New York State and arguably none greater than right here in the western end in Niagara County,” said Engert.

“It is our hope that a movement will begin right here that will result in a concerted focus to be placed upon new and innovative strategies which balance the noble goal of preserving and protecting the environment while supporting our existing businesses and jobs so that our local economy can endure.”

Echoing Councilman Engert’s comments, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-139) pointed out that RGGI will heap ten million dollars worth of fees on AES, adding, “...AES and 16 other coal plants are fighting for survival because of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Cap & Trade regulations which are eroding the ability of companies to provide affordable energy and to preserve the job opportunities our communities rely on.”

State Senator George Maziarz (R-62) added that “RGGI was just one of many [mandates] that make New York State unfriendly for businesses here, to open here, to operate here, to employ people.”

The senator also expressed disapproval regarding New York’s participation in RGGI, saying, “It was disappointing that RGGI was implemented in the State of New York without legislative approval. It was done by executive fiat of the former governor.”

AFP-New Jersey state director Steve Lonegan blasted the RGGI Cap & Trade program, calling it “the worst, most devious and most deceptive of all the government policies I have ever seen.”

Lonegan also called attention to the fact that New York State’s participation in the RGGI Cap & Trade program came about without the authorization of the Legislature, in effecting imposing “taxation without representation” and an “unconstitutional tax” on the state’s residents.

New York’s unlawful participation in RGGI is now the subject of a legal challenge brought forth by Smith Valliere PLLC on behalf of a number of New York citizens. (Click here to read more regarding this pending litigation.)

Lonegan also warned that “one of [RGGI’s] singular intents is to eliminate coal power as a source of electricity” which would have “devastating consequences” for Niagara County. He called upon members of the New York State Legislature to work to overturn the state’s participation in the program; a move he said would deliver RGGI “knockout punch.”

For more information on the RGGI Cap & Trade program, please visit Also, visit Americans for Prosperity’s website here.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. AFP educates and engages citizens to support restraining state and federal government growth and returning government to its constitutional limits. AFP is more than 1.7 million activists strong, with activists in all 50 states. AFP has 32 state chapters and affiliates. More than 85,000 Americans in all 50 states have made a financial contribution to AFP or AFP Foundation. For more information, visit
Americans for Prosperity does not support or oppose candidates for public office.

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