House Leaders Comment on Changes to Regional Green House Gas Initiative (RGGI)

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader Pete Silva (R-Nashua) today commented on the passage of committee of conference report on House Bill 1490, which changes how New Hampshire participates in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The House version of this bill originally called for outright repeal of New Hampshire’s involvement in the program and was amended by the Senate to change the repeal mechanism to be contingent on the withdrawal of two other New England states.

The Senate also changed the name of the fund to the “energy efficiency” fund, and was more specific in the way fund money will be spent.  All amounts in excess of $1 for auction allowances would be rebated to all default service electric ratepayers.  All other auction proceeds would be added to fund existing energy efficiency programs administered by the electric distribution companies.  The House agreed with these changes because they will save money for electric ratepayers.  The Senate agreed to add two House provisions, forbidding the use of funds to hire outside consultants, and prohibiting the retirement of unsold allowances.  These changes will benefit ratepayers and make sure that all funds spent on energy efficiency have maximum impact. HB 1490 passed the House 211 to 74.

House Speaker William O’Brien

“The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has always been a backdoor tax increase on the citizens of New Hampshire. The program has been a colossal failure for reducing carbon emissions and has morphed from a program supposedly focused on the environment to a public-sector attempt at a stimulus program in which administrators pick winners and losers by directing ratepayer money to the winners. While we would have preferred a full repeal of RGGI, this was a way to reduce costs to rate payers and ensure money is given back to them.”

House Majority Leader Pete Silva

“RGGI is about the money, not about the climate. This compromise changes the way the money is distributed and given back to New Hampshire electric ratepayers instead of spent on green pork.”