New Hampshire to Consider Withdrawing from RGGI

RGGI is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, created by a group of ten northeastern states. RGGI runs a carbon trading scheme with the primary goal to reduce CO₂ emissions. Permits are auctioned off quarterly, September’s auction only sold 75% of the permits available, and December’s sold only 57%. The sale price has a $1.86 per ton floor, and that’s what they sold at.

The money raised goes to the state governments as a function of their population size. The intent is that money then goes to various projects ranging from improving insulation on homes to heat exchangers at a paper mill, to an organization that helped create RGGI and then got grants from it.

The “poor” auction performance in the last two auctions is due in part to the recession and also to increased natural gas supplies. There is work afoot to bring in another Hydro-Quebec DC power line that will carry as much power as a large power plant, and proceeds from future auctions are expected to remain low.

The recession brings a secondary hit on energy efficiency spending. Three states, New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey, have tapped RGGI funds for unrelated expenses such as school aid and general fund assistance. Not surprisingly, critics point to this as more evidence that RGGI is just another tax and not a program to benefit rate payers. Even without the diversion RGGI is an energy tax. The New Hampshire fuel tax is written into the state constitution as being for highway maintenance. The State Highway Patrol have managed to be considered maintenance, but that’s as far astray as the fuel tax goes.

Like most states, New Hampshire has had a sizable turnover in the state legislature, and there is a move afoot to withdraw. A story in the Dec 26 Manchester Union Leader (on paper or subscription only) reports on the effort to find supporters before writing the bill. Some supporters say there’s enough support to make passage likely.

There’s no conclusion to this post, this effort is currently a work in progress and I may write a few updates before I can write a conclusion.

Other sources of information for this post not linked above:

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/12/06/rggi-permit-price-remains-low-43-go-unsold/

http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews/articleid/4723555

Advertisements

28 thoughts on “New Hampshire to Consider Withdrawing from RGGI

  1. Thanks, Ric, I appreciate you following this issue. RGGI is currently in the process of considering lowering the number of CO2 allocations, increasing the price, or both. It has not made any progress toward its avowed objective of lowering CO2 emission, rather it has just functioned as a cash cow (read tax). And, as you have indicated, some of the money raised for the noble purpose of increasing efficiency and’or lowering CO2 emissions is being siphoned off for other purposes. A crack in the RGGI facade is important, particularly since RGGI is the only required cap’n-trade functioning in the US.

  2. I live in Exeter NH, and can only hope that our recent very, very promising election will put an end to these expensive boondoggles and bring electoral sanity for the first time in years. We have no state tax or sales tax, and we would very much like to keep it that way. Live Free or Die! The clowns of the last 4-6 years even tried to remove this, our great motto, because it was too politically incorrect. They were removed, instead, because they were incorrect.

  3. Let’s see:
    In a related issue in Chicago, the city has been selling off assets to pay for the corrupt and ever growing “public servants”.
    1) The City of Chicago approved the sale of the Skyway to the MIG-Cintra consortium for US$1.83bn (A$2.46bn). As agreed with the City this amount has been adjusted for movement in the 10 year Treasury note yield from 12 October 2004.1
    http://www.macquarie.com.au/au/mig/news/20041028.htm
    2) Chicago sells rights to city parking meters for $1.2 billion
    http://ohmygov.com/blogs/general_news/archive/2008/12/24/chicago-sells-right-to-city-parking-meters-for-1-2-billion.aspx
    I’ll stop there, the sale of Midway Airport isn’t going well.
    These sales of, revenue generating public facilities, only encourage the incompetence/corruption of our elected officials.
    They are selling our childrens futures, to balance their out of control spending.

  4. Thanks for posting this, Ric. It will be interesting to see if/how this attempt progresses. Standing firmly in the way of course, would be our unprecedented 4-term Democratic governor, John Lynch.

  5. “Live Free or Die” – promote conservation, not dictatorship. No wonder that the “Old Man of the Mountain” no longer wanted to show his face in the state.

  6. On a vacation through Italy, my wife and I met a couple from New Hampshire. Met once in Venice (sat next to us at a restaurant) and then again in Sienna (pure coincidence). Very nice people and very committed to local governance is what I remember. I’ve been been a fan of New Hampshire since (this is from a Texan).

  7. “The intent is that money then goes […] to an organization that helped create RGGI and then got grants from it.”
    I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell ya’!
    Interesting news, Ric. Thanks for the news from your neck of the woods.

  8. Good news. I’m a Stratham, NH resident who is hopeful that the new legislature will trim or better yet abolish all such unnecessary govt initiatives.

  9. It is funny how all of these enlightened “save the earth” efforts always end up a boondoggle, but with a big chunk of the proceeds going to eco-fascists instead of the usual suspects. Rather I should say to the new usual suspects. The old usual suspects must be jealous… It pays to be a protester now.

  10. I am reluctant to comment on what political decisions are made in other place than the one I live in. This RGGI thing raises lots of red flags in my skeptical mind. The thing sounds more like a pork barrel slush fund then anything else. Since we elect our leaders we get exactly what we voters deserve and noting more.

  11. I’m not sure if the statistic still holds, but while I lived in N.H., the state was home to the 4th largest governmental body in the world, coming in behind British Parliament, Canada, and Australia. The government was very much “by the people”, I think the rep from our town changed every 2yrs. (may have been 1yr) and received recompense of $200. You served your stint because it was your duty…and people that I knew were proud to do it.
    The good old days…
    JimB

  12. At 5:19 PM on 26 December, u.k.(us) had written about:

    … Chicago…selling off assets to pay for the corrupt and ever growing “public servants” [mentioning]the sale of the Skyway to the MIG-Cintra consortium for US$1.83bn (A$2.46bn). As agreed with the City this amount has been adjusted for movement in the 10 year Treasury note yield from 12 October 2004.1 [and the sale of rights to city parking meters] for $1.2 billion, [going on to note that] the sale of Midway Airport isn’t going well [and complaining that] These sales of revenue generating public facilities only encourage the incompetence/corruption of our elected officials. They are selling our children’s futures, to balance their out of control spending.

    .
    There’s a question gone a-begging here.
    Just what the hell is the City of Chicago – a corporate entity with a very, very, very limited remit – doing with any kind of “revenue generating public facilities” in the first place?
    As a libertarian, I’m prone to observe that the only real reason for suffering the existence of civil government in any form whatsoever is that when killer apes (species Homo sapiens) gather into society we require a choke-chained agency to manage the objective employment of retaliatory violent force as a deterrent against those who might seek to violate the individual rights – to life, to liberty, and to property – of their fellow human beings.
    That’s it. There’s no other purpose to which the armed thugs of government can ever legitimately turn their hands. Government is (in the words of Thomas Paine) “a punisher.”
    It ain’t there to run airports or highways or any other kind of “revenue generating public facilities.” If there’s a viable market demand for such goods and services, government is emphatically not the entity in society to deliver said goods and services.
    If there’s not such a market demand as to make building and running such “revenue generating public facilities” profitable, however in hell could it be financially feasible for private investors seeking return on their outlay to buy ’em from the City of Chicago?
    Some years ago, a researcher was trying to compare the relative per-pupil administrative costs of private versus government school systems, and decided that Chicago would make a good quick test case. The Archdiocese of Chicago pretty much overlapped the jurisdiction of Chicago city government, and so the researcher could ask a few questions about number of administrative employees and the total payroll.
    First, he went to the public school system. Agony. Nobody had all the information he wanted, it seemed. See person “A,” who referred him to bureaucrat “B,” who sent him along to human resources drone “C,” who told him that authorizing officer “D” was out of the country on vacation, and the computer was down, and the filing system was all in a mess from their recent move to a bigger building….
    Well, you get the picture. It took a bit longer than a month for him to track the numbers down, and it was like performing root canal on an orca without benefit of sedatives or a wet suit. Slippery, messy, and at any moment you were aware that you could be pulling back a bloody stump.
    That accomplished, he phoned the Yellow Pages number for the administrative office of the Chicago Parochial Schools System. He got a very nice lady on the line. He asked: “How many people work in administration for the parochial schools in Chicago?”
    There was a moment’s wait, and he got ready for the hand-off to this outfit’s version of clueless wastoid “A.”
    The nice lady said: “Well, I’m not sure. Can you hold on while I count them?”
    Turned out that the Chicago parochial schools were educating about one-tenth the total number of students in the K-12 range as the public school system was handling (and graduating much higher percentages of them with diplomas) with about one-hundredth the administrative overhead in both numbers of people and monetary cost.
    There are a lot of things that civil government should not be doing. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is merely one more of them.
    So how do we get the officers of civil government to stop doing those things which are not best handled by (again resorting to Thomas Paine) “an armed banditti” and get this bloated cancer trimmed down to a small enough size that it is no longer doing us the massive damage we presently suffer?

  13. The problem with the City of Chicago (getting a bit off topic here) was not that it sold the Skyway or the right to manage the parking meters, but that it used the proceeds — which were essentially a one-time payment in exchange for a long-running revenue stream — to pay current costs. It’s like taking out a 50 year 2nd mortgage and using the money to pay the utilities that year.

  14. ShrNfr says:
    December 26, 2010 at 5:38 pm (Edit)

    “Live Free or Die” – promote conservation, not dictatorship. No wonder that the “Old Man of the Mountain” no longer wanted to show his face in the state.

    At a public “listening session” I strongly recommended that the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change decouple conservation from climate change lest the conservation activity go down with climate change. I also told them hurricanes were a bigger risk than sea level rise and there should be more about adapting to Hurricanes.. They listened, and ignored….
    JimB says:
    December 26, 2010 at 7:50 pm (Edit)

    I’m not sure if the statistic still holds, but while I lived in N.H., the state was home to the 4th largest governmental body in the world, coming in behind British Parliament, Canada, and Australia. The government was very much “by the people”, I think the rep from our town changed every 2yrs. (may have been 1yr) and received recompense of $200.

    Still is. The state senate has 24 members, each gets paid $200 per biennium, so $100 a year. However, they get their own secretary. The state house has 400 seats, about one per 3000 residents. Same pay, but they have to share a secretary. The state sumpreme court screwed up the last district setting. They got involved because the R&Ds couldn’t come up with a new districting plan, and the court went overboard with trying to even out the number of reps, so now instead of one rep, I have something like six at large from several towns.
    Dennis Nikols, P. Geol. says:
    December 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm (Edit)

    I am reluctant to comment on what political decisions are made in other places than the one I live in. This RGGI thing raises lots of red flags in my skeptical mind. The thing sounds more like a pork barrel slush fund then anything else. Since we elect our leaders we get exactly what we voters deserve and nothing more.

    It’s not as bad as it could be, but yeah, it needs to be watched/replaced.

  15. Everyone wants to get in on the biggest new scam, before the people wise up and lose all their money. What was it last time, Feed Lots? Most of us know it as Cap & Trade but it’s all the same scam to redistribute wealth. You remember when Obama talked about it during his campaign. Only thing is most people thought he meant to redistribute it to Americans…..lol
    I can’t wait till this guy is out of office so we can find out what he’s really all about. You can count on it, that when he’s out of office the media will turn on him and all the smut will come out.

  16. Just another tax, albeit, more elaborate than just “raise the property tax”. CO2 taxation will thusly die a long slow death due to the simple fact that politicians are drawn to tax and spend as matter is drawn to a black hole. The results are about the same.

  17. Tucci78
    “It ain’t there to run airports or highways or any other kind of “revenue generating public facilities.” If there’s a viable market demand for such goods and services, government is emphatically not the entity in society to deliver said goods and services.”
    Yes, but….
    Government exists to do that which is beneficial to the vast majority, but which isn’t feasible to be done by solitary actors. Police and military are one example, which you *site* [cite].
    Other examples would include the paved road system. Corporate entities would have no incentive to build or maintain the road system (which was a HUGE boon to the US) back when created, and even today with modernization, every single road out there would be a toll road. While it might be cheaper in total dollar amounts collected to service it, additional expenses would accumulate from wasted gas sitting in lines, lost productive time, etc. Cheaper isn’t always better (though cheaper doesn’t always mean inferior either!)
    I have libertarian leanings, but there are some things which are clearly the provinance of government, simply because they can afford to take the “big picture” approach to a problem and not have to tell shareholders that it will take 30 years for a project to pay for itself, when the shareholders are concerned about the quarter-to-quarter profits of the company.

  18. When crossing by RV into Canada we were stopped and inspected for gun possession. I asked why he thought two old retired people would be carrying an illegal gun into Canada. He pointed to our vehicle plate – Live Free or Die. Unfortunately many new residents, with more liberal attitudes want to eliminate our motto, not realizing it is a part of why they moved to NH.
    New Hampshire is a hope for the rest of the nation; almost half the unemployment rate of the nation, relatively low taxes, no income tax, no sales tax. Top SAT scores. Lots of legislators paid a little ($100/year). True we’ve had a governor that spent like crazy for a few years but hopefully he’s getting the message after the last election.
    NH is a magic place in many ways. The NH way should be broadcast to the nation and the folly of CA, IL, NY, DC…. and maybe might be gotten under control.

  19. Dennis Nikols, P. Geol. says:
    December 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm
    The thing sounds more like a pork barrel slush fund then anything else.
    It’s far more insidious than that. It is driving our already-high electric rates even higher, and forcing electric utilities to purchase “green” energy. That “green” energy will then be locked into our rates for many years. It is causing local and state government to spend money even more foolishly than they might otherwise, and that is money not likely to be recouped.

  20. And therein lies the reason for the continued stream of funded AGW research projects, Hansen’s paycheck, Jones’ continued position, Gore’s profits, etc, ad infinitum ad nauseum.
    “The money raised goes to the state governments as a function of their population size. The intent is that money then goes to various projects ranging from improving insulation on homes to heat exchangers at a paper mill, to an organization that helped create RGGI and then got grants from it.”
    Regardless of the whether or not AGW is a fact, this money stream must stop wherever it occurs, and its legality as a form of kickback must be questioned and indeed outlawed.

  21. New Hampshire grew the fastest of any northeast state according to 2010 census results. Most of them shrank as the exodus to southern states continued. New Hampshire must have been an alternative destination for those who wanted to escape liberal nanny state governments but didn’t want to drive so far or learn to speak with a drawl.

  22. “The intent is that money then goes […] to an organization that helped create RGGI and then got grants from it.”
    Can someone start digging into the background and players of that “organization” and let WUWT readers know what the story is?

  23. In response to my post of 8:59 PM on 26 December (see above), at 5:49 AM on 27 December, kcrucible had written:

    Yes, but….
    Government exists to do that which is beneficial to the vast majority, but which isn’t feasible to be done by solitary actors. Police and military are one example, which you cite.

    Other examples would include the paved road system. Corporate entities would have no incentive to build or maintain the road system (which was a HUGE boon to the US) back when created, and even today with modernization, every single road out there would be a toll road. While it might be cheaper in total dollar amounts collected to service it, additional expenses would accumulate from wasted gas sitting in lines, lost productive time, etc. Cheaper isn’t always better (though cheaper doesn’t always mean inferior either!)

    .
    And there’s a lamentable lack of perspicuity on the part of krucible.
    I’m not just a libertarian, but I’m also a military history buff – indeed, a wargamer with a history of work in wargames design and development – resident in New Jersey, an area of critical military importance during the early years of the American Revolution. “Light Horse Harry” Lee earned his nickname roaming the countryside where I grew up and now live.
    Roads – and how they get built, krucible – are items which lifelong military history types like me tend very strongly to learn about. Tactically, strategically, and especially logistically, roads are critically important, especially when considering the military conflicts conducted over the portion of these United States east of the Appalachians during the 18th and 19th Centuries. Bear with me.
    Come to New Jersey or Virginia or Pennsylvania, and you will find a helluva lot of roads named “turnpike” or “pike” or “plank road.” Apart from modern constructions – like the famous New Jersey Turnpike – every damned one of these roads was originally laid out, built, and operated by private industry intent upon making some kind of profit.
    They were only taken over by county and state governments much later.
    Many of these privately-constructed roads figured large in America’s military history. On 2 May 1863, for example, Jackson’s corps of the Army of Northern Virginia hit the flank of the northern aggressors’ Army of the Potomac at Chancellorsville and rolled up XI Corps like a cheap rug. The axis of their assault was the Orange Plank Road, a considerably corduroy’d wagon road that had been constructed by private businessmen to bring lumber and produce to the river port of Fredericksburg, whence shipment could be made by way of the Rappahannock to Chesapeake Bay and markets beyond.
    Yes, many of these privately-constructed and operated thoroughfares were run as toll roads charging user fees. But just what the hell makes you think that government-built and government-operated roads are free, anyway? The plain fact of the matter – ever heard the expression “TANSTAAFL? – is that the costs are not only paid but exorbitantly overpaid (a tremendous source of graft and cause of government corruption all over the nation but particularly here in “the Soprano Strate”), chiefly by way of huge excise taxes levied on the sale of petrochemical fuels, with subsequent expenditure wastage on scales which ought to beggar your imagination.
    To give you a starting point, the Cato Institute has been focusing upon the arguments for and against the privatization of government-mismanaged “public goods” for decades. They’ve aggregated historical and current information on the roles played by private businesses in road building and operation throughout that time, including a 2005 Policy Analysis paper on the federal highway system. Their stuff is freely accessible online. All you need invest is a bit of time and effort.
    My personal concerns with civil governments handling road building and maintenance run beyond any purely ethical consideration (why in hell are armed thugs operating public thoroughfares and – in the bargain – collecting funds at gunpoint to do such a lousy job at it?) and into the simple and straightforward conclusion that by taking decisions for an economically critical activity out of the private sector and into the realm of politics, they’re making abysmally wrong decisions which waste resources and leave genuine needs unmet.
    In short, government road-building doesn’t do – hell, it cannot do – what really could and should be done with regard to getting people and materials from one place to another. Worse, government usurpation of the road-building function forecloses the options which can be provided by private enterprise.
    Hmph. Not that privately owned and operated roads must charge tolls for their use. Take note of how private businesses operate parking lots (at malls and such) for the convenience of their customers. They don’t charge for parking space. In the past half-century the growth of shopping malls (and the stark decline of inner-city commercial districts) illustrates how the easy availability of such parking has been figured into consumer preferences. When was the last time you dropped a quarter (and more) into a downtown city-operated parking meter in order to shop there?
    Many businesses in the past have built roads to suit their own purposes – to convey resources into their shops, to conduct finished products out, and to give access to their customers. They don’t give a damn about free riders, generally because anybody driving the roads they’d built was certain (in one way or another) to serve the builders’ commercial benefit.
    For pity’s sake, krucible, learn something about a subject like this before you write stuff like:

    I have libertarian leanings, but there are some things which are clearly the provenance of government, simply because they can afford to take the “big picture” approach to a problem and not have to tell shareholders that it will take 30 years for a project to pay for itself, when the shareholders are concerned about the quarter-to-quarter profits of the company.

    .
    In fact, it is the officers of civil government who – by making decisions based preponderantly upon considerations of political advantage – obliterate “the ‘big picture’ approach to a problem” and reduce every activity they pervert to the realm of economically nonviable waste.
    Your adverse perception, krucible, of “shareholders…concerned about the quarter-to-quarter profits of the company” appears to be the result of inadequate education on the subject, almost certainly compounded by your largely uncritical receipt of duplicitous propaganda foisted upon you by your teachers (probably government-paid thugs) and the complicit consciously collectivist government-worshiping lamestream media.

  24. Norm Milliard: New Hampshire is a hope for the rest of the nation; almost half the unemployment rate of the nation, relatively low taxes…
    Sorry Norm, but there is nothing low about our taxes. License fees for autos and boats have tripled over the last year and property taxes have grown as well. It is as expensive or even more expensive to live in NH as it is to live in MA.
    While we’ve had a state budget crisis over the ridiculous increase in the size of state government at all levels, not once have they done anything to cut the size of any of those government at the state, county or municipal levels. This fraud with the RGGI pork barrel is just more of the same. I have a little hope the new legislature may reverse this and actually cut the bloat, but the slimeball republicans have been as bad as the commie dems, so we shall see. I was very disappointed that do-nothing Lynch was returned to office. He sucks in every way just like most of the government police state we live in (local and federal).

Comments are closed.