What do you get when you combine a Republican led State House of Representatives with a Koch Industries backed group who placed “robocalls” in an attempt to gather support for an anti-climate change bill? The answer: a bill the New Hampshire’s State House of Representatives voted for which would repeal the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The RGGI is a 10 state cap-and-trade scheme. The legislators voted for HB 519 246 to 104, with 13 Republicans voting against the bill and two Democrats for it.
The bill will go through a finance committee before a final House vote, and then go to the Senate. Governor John Lynch, a Democrat, will most likely veto the bill. However, Republicans have a veto-proof majority in the House and Senate.
Americans For Prosperity (AFP) in New Hampshire is the conservative group which made “robocalls.” AFP’s website describes the group as “an organization of grassroots leaders who engage citizens in the name of limited government and free markets on the local, state and federal levels.” Created in 2003 to replace the Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, AFP is the “third largest recipient of funding from the Koch Family Foundations, behind the Cato Institute and the George Mason University Foundation,” according to DeSmogBlog.
The state director of AFP in New Hampshire, Corey R. Lewandowski touted passage of the bill as a “a victory for the ratepayers of New Hampshire.” However, the text of the bill mentions that the Public Utilities Commission and Department of Environmental Services state that repealing the RGGI would reduce state revenues by approximately $9,868,556 in FY 2012 and each year after.
Lynch wrote a letter to the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee on February 10 stating his opposition to the bill “because it will result in New Hampshire consumers paying higher electric costs without receiving any benefits”
Environment New Hampshire responded to the bill’s passage in a statement. “We are disappointed that many of our representatives voted against New Hampshire’s cornerstone clean energy program,” said Jessica O’Hare Program Associate for Environment New Hampshire. “RGGI is good for New Hampshire’s environment, creating jobs, and saving local residents and businesses money on their utility bill.”
“We need to get out of state oil interests out of New Hampshire,” added O’Hare. “This is the Live Free or Die State and they’re messing with our way of life.”
In short, the passage of the bill is a big win for major polluters like Koch Industries, but a major loss for the people of New Hampshire and the environment.