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New Jersey governor requests to rejoin environmental pact

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s governor asked member states of a regional environmental pact on Monday to let his state rejoin the group.

It’s Gov. Phil Murphy’s latest attempt to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative since his Republican predecessor, Chris Christie, pulled New Jersey out of the group.

“As a founding member of RGGI, New Jersey is eager to rejoin your state as a partner in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the health of residents, and growing the economy in our region,” the first-term Democratic governor wrote

Christie announced in 2011 that New Jersey was leaving the cap-and-trade program that is made up of nine New England and mid-Atlantic states working to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

Murphy signed an executive order in January to rejoin the group, but rules require that member states agree to let non-members join.

RGGI chairman Ben Grumbles, who is the secretary of Maryland’s Department of the Environment, said in a statement that the member states congratulated New Jersey on steps toward “renewed participation,” but stopped short of saying if the state was officially readmitted.

Grumbles said the group looks forward to more in-depth talks in the future.

The money RGGI raises is distributed to participating states to finance clean energy programs.

Murphy campaigned on rejoining the alliance in last’ year’s election, a position he shared with his Republican rival then-Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

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