Photo: Bob JagendorfIn late May, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) announced he was pulling his state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), explaining that it was “not working.” Now a stunning tape of a secret meeting between Christie and David Koch sheds light on the governor’s inexplicable decision to abandon a program that was not only cutting pollution, but was funding clean energy and, as it turns out, reducing New Jersey’s budget gap. Here’s part of the transcript, as reported by Mother Jones and The BRAD BLOG:
David Koch, introducing Christie: Five months ago we met in my New York City office and spoke — just the two of us — for about two hours on his objectives and successes in correcting many of the most serious problems of the New Jersey state government. At the end of our conversation, I said to myself, “I’m really impressed and inspired by this man. He is my kind of guy.”
Koch is the biggest funder of climate disinformation in the country, a billionaire pollutocrat who pulls the string of the Tea Party, which in turn is driving the country to a ruined economy and an unlivable climate. And Christie is his kind of guy. You can see why they wanted to keep this behind closed doors.
Koch has more to say on his budding bromance:
Another example of Governor Christie’s commitment to the free enterprise system is that only a few weeks ago he announced that New Jersey would be withdrawing from the [Regional] Greenhouse Gas Initiative … [cheers and applause] … which would have raised energy costs, reduced economic growth, and led to very little, if any, benefit for the environment. [A 'boo' is heard.]
Yes, Christie showed his “commitment to the free enterprise system” by pulling out of a market-based system invented by Republicans and economists, championed by President George H. W. Bush, and originally supported at a regional level by GOP governors like George Pataki of New York.
At the time of Christie’s move, people monitoring RGGI were baffled. The program had raised tens of millions of dollars for clean energy projects without noticeably raising rates. But after acknowledging that climate change was real and then raiding $65 million from the program in order to close a budget gap, Christie actually had the gall to say the program was “gimmicky.”
But now the reasons for Christie’s awkwardly hypocritical stance on RGGI are becoming more clear. Perhaps the program wasn’t “working” for the Koch brothers, the oil billionaires who have spent millions of dollars trying to tear down cap-and-trade and any other programs related to clean energy?
Here’s the audio tape of Koch introducing Christie:
The audio was taken outside the political retreat, where static was reportedly being played in order to block anyone from recording the event.
This is the first time that Christie’s participation in the Koch-funded retreat has been publicly reported. The trip, which was paid for by the New Jersey GOP, was never written down in the governor’s public schedule.