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RGGI Complaint

RGGI Complaint

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Published by Casey Seiler

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Published by: Casey Seiler on Jun 28, 2011
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SUPREMECOURTOFTHESTATEOFNEWYORKCOUNTYOFALBANY
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LISATHRUN,JUDITHFORD,andAVAASHENDORFF,IndexNo.Plaintiffs,-against-ANDREWM.CUOMO,ASGOVERNOROFTHESTATEOFNEWYORK;NEWYORKSTATEDEPARTMENTOFENVIRONMENTAL:CONSERVATION;andNEWYORKSTATEENERGYRESEARCHANDDEVELOPMENTAUTHORITY,Defendants.
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COMPLAINT
1.
PlaintiffsLisaThrun,JudithFord,andAvaAshendorff(together,"Plaintiffs"),residentsoftheStateofNewYorkandpurchasersofelectricityinNewYork,bringthisconstitutionalandlegalchallengetoNewYorkState'simplementationofthe"RegionalGreenhouseGasInitiative"("RGGI"),anunprecedentedtaxationandrevenuedistributionprogramthathasneitherbeenvotedonnorapprovedbytheNewYorkStateLegislature.Defendants'creationandimplementationofamassiveregulatoryschemetoreduce"greenhousegas"emissionsthroughanartificiallycontrived"capandtrade"programadvancesnopublicinterest,butdoesimposeasubstantialtaxonelectricitypurchasersinNewYork.RGGIrepresentsamajorpublicpolicyinNewYorkthatmayonlybelawfullyestablishedbytheNewYorkStateLegislatureasthedemocratically-electedrepresentativesofNewYorkresidents.2.Plaintiffsseekdeclaratoryandinjunctiverelieftovindicatetheirrightnottobetaxedwithoutrepresentation.CoercivetaxesmayonlybelevieduponNewYorkerswherethe
 
NewYorkStateLegislaturefirstapprovessuchameasure.ExtremeenvironmentalpoliciesthatimposesignificantcostsonNewYorkresidentsandbusinessesshouldbeadopted(ifatall)byaclearandunequivocalmandateimposedthroughtheStateLegislature.Suchprogramsmaynotbeimposedbyexecutivefiatandthearbitraryactionofadministrativeagenciesthathavesubstitutedunauthorizedinterstatecompactsfortheproperexerciseoflegislativepolicymakingauthority.3.InDecember2005,thethen-GovernorofNewYorkenteredintoamulti-stateagreementtoimplementRGGI,bywhichthememberstatesseektolimitandultimatelyreduceemissionsofcarbondioxide("C0
2")
withintheirrespectiveterritories.WiththeexceptionofNewYork,eachoftheRGGIstatesexplicitlyenactedormodifiedlegislationtoprovideforthecreationandimplementationofRGGLOnlyNewYorkimplementedRGGIthroughtheactionsofunelectedandvirtuallyunaccountablebureaucrats,withoutanystatutoryorotherlegalauthority,andwithouttheconsentorauthorizationoftheStateLegislature,inviolationoftheseparationofpowersdoctrineundertheNewYorkStateConstitution.Makenomistake,thereisnoenablinglegislationprovidingforthecreationandimplementationofRGGIinNewYork.4.RGGIisamulti-statecompactamongtennortheasternStates(the"CompactStates"),includingNewYork.
1
InRGGI,theCompactStatesagreedtheywouldnotawaitFederalactiontoimplementacoordinated,nationwideprogramtocontrolgreenhousegases,but
OnMay26,2011,NewJersey'sGovernorChrisChristieannouncedthatNewJerseywillpulloutofthecap-and-tradeprogrambytheendof2011,concludingthat"ROOIdoesnothingmorethantaxelectricity,taxourcitizens,taxourbusinesses,withnodiscemableormeasurableimpactuponourenvironment"andthattheprogramasawholewas"afailure."
See
MireyaNavarro,
ChristiePullsNewJerseyFromlO-StateClimateInitiative,
TI-IENEW
YORK
TIMES,May26,2011.AccordingtooneNewJerseyenvironmentalofficial,ROOI"didnotreducea'singlepound'ofcarbonemissionsandamountedtonothingmorethanatax...."ChristopherBaxter,
TopDEPAideTellsNJ.AssemblyRegionalClimateChangeProgramWasIneffective,
N.J.REAL-TIMENEWS,June13,2011,http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/06/top_dep_aide_tells_nj_assembly.htmLInMarch2011,NewHampshire'sHouseofRepresentatives,thethirdlargestlegislativebodyintheworld,votedtoendthestate'sparticipationinROO!.NewHampshire'sRepresentativeJimGarrityreferredtoROOIasa"hiddencarbontaxthat'spassedontoelectricratepayers."
See
AmyQuinton,
ThreeStatesConsiderWithdrawalFrom
ROGI,April7,2011(www.nhpr.orglthree-states-consider-withdrawal-rggi).
2
 
insteadundertookjointeffortstolimitorreducegreenhousegasemissionswithintheten-statearea,througha"capandtrade"controlprogram.Aspartoftheircompact,unelectedrepresentativesdesignatedbyeachoftheCompactStatescreatedandagreedtomodelrules,underwhichtheywouldjointlyandconcurrentlyimposea"cap"orlimitonemissionsofCO
2
withintheterritoryoftheCompactStates.TheunelectedrepresentativesofthestatesallocatedtoeachoftheCompactStatesaproportionalshareoftheoverallcap.TomaintaintotalannualemissionsofCO
2
withinthecap,eachCompactStateissueseachyearanumberof"allowances"(tradablecertificatesallowingtheemissionofonetonofCO
2
thatyear)equaltotheState'sspecificcapforthatyear.UndertheRGGImodelruleasadoptedbytheCompactStates,includingNewYork,electricitygeneratingfacilitieswithcapacitiesgreaterthan25MegawattsthatbumcarbonorhydrocarbonfuelsmustpossessallowancestoequaltheirCO
2
emissionsforthatyear.Uponinformationandbelief,withouttheseallowances,electricitygeneratorsmustceasetogenerateelectricity,andmustclose.5.NewYork'sunauthorized,unlawful,andunconstitutionalparticipationinRGGIhasgeneratedenormoustaxrevenuesfortheState-
inexcessof
$321
milliontodate
inthethreeyearssinceitwasimproperlyimplemented-whileimposingwhatamountstoanimpermissibleandunauthorizedtaxonelectricitypurchasersinNewYork.Thosepurchasersandratepayerswerealwaysintendedtobearthefullcostsoftheprogramthroughpass-throughchargesfromtheirelectricityprovidersandhavebornethecostsofthecapandtradeprogramsinceitsinceptioninNewYork.AsimplementedinNewYork,RGGIisplainlyarevenueraisingmeasureinthenatureofataxthatisdesignedtoraisefundstoadvancevariouslegislatively-unapprovedpolicygoalsentirelyunrelatedtotheadministrationoftheRGGIprogram.AlthoughthefundsraisedbyRGGIwereinitiallyintendedtopromoteso-called"green3

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