NY Lawsuit Challenge to RGGI

Americans for Prosperity New York Activist Sues to Stop State?s Participation in RGGI Cap & Trade Scheme

?A Direct Legal Challenge to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative?

DATELINE: NEW YORK, NY ? An Americans for Prosperity New York activist today filed suit challenging New York State?s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Cap & Trade program.

Buffalo-area activist Lisa Thrun, lead plaintiff in the lawsuit and volunteer grassroots chair for Americans for Prosperity?s New York chapter, explained the impetus for filing the lawsuit.

?I?m here today because as a ratepayer, as a taxpayer I was not represented and neither were the taxpayers of New York State.?

?We need to stop this,? continued Thrun. ?We need to know that the taxpayers are being represented and we need to send a message to our elected leaders that we did elect to do something about this. They allowed this to happen and they?re looking the other way.?

Lead attorney for the case, Mark W. Smith announced that his firm, Smith Valliere PLLC, field the lawsuit today in New York Supreme Court in Albany.

In a statement released earlier today, Smith said, ?This lawsuit is a direct legal challenge to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (?RGGI?),? said Smith. ?The alleged purpose behind RGGI is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but the reality is that it has become a large energy tax imposed illegally on New Yorkers.?

Smith added, ?If New York State believes RGGI is a valuable program, then let?s have a vote. Americans oppose taxation without representation, but that?s what RGGI amounts to ? an unauthorized tax imposed by unelected government bureaucrats.?

The complaint ?challeng[es] the authority of Governor Cuomo, the Department of Environmental Conservation (?DEC?), and the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (?NYSERDA?) to enter into the RGGI Cap & Trade program.?

In 2005, former Governor Pataki signed a Memorandum of Understanding entering New York into the ten-state compact. Since 2007, New York has participated in RGGI?s quarterly auctions of carbon permits. However, the state legislature never passed legislation authorizing Governor Pataki, the DEC or NYSERDA to join the regional cap-and-trade scheme.

Speaking at today?s press conference in lower Manhattan, New Jersey state director Steve Lonegan, who has spearheaded the effort to pull that state out of RGGI, said New York?s participation in RGGI amounted to an ?unconstitutional? tax on ratepayers.

?Only the state of New York failed to ever pass [RGGI] enabling legislation in either the Senate or the Assembly. New York State has been taxing electricity ratepayers without legislative approval now for more than two years.

?This is unconstitutionally constituted tax on the ratepayers of New York and it needs to end,? concluded Lonegan.

Americans for Prosperity has led the fight to end the RGGI Cap & Trade program over the past year. Recently, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced that he would withdraw New Jersey from the RGGI compact. Repeal efforts in New Hampshire, Maine and other member states are ongoing.

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 www.americansforprosperity.org

Americans for Prosperity does not support or oppose candidates for public office.


(Image source – http://rlv.zcache.com/cap_and_trade_bumper_sticker-p128640479617048527trl0_400.jpg)

  • Seth Grossman

    Seth Grossman is executive director of Liberty And Prosperity, which he co-founded in 2003. It promotes American liberty and limited constitutional government through weekly radio and in-person discussions, its website, email newsletters and various events. Seth Grossman is also a general practice lawyer.

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