Jim Grady, President and owner of LighTec in Merrimack, has a letter in the Sunday Telegraph on the current effort in the New Hampshire legislature to drop out of RGGI, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. He expresses some concern over Republican objection to the plan, points out what he sees as inconsistencies in objections to it, and does not believe it should be mothballed.
But there are problems.
Jim argues that the fee created by RGGI is actually a small cost that benefits all of us, and that we should not object to such a tax because we have had something similar in place in the State for 12 years now.
Most House members seem utterly unaware that for the past 12 years the state has levied a “tax” on the many that indisputably benefits the many: the Systems Benefit Charge (SBC). If you look at your electric bill, you’ll see a tiny charge of $0.0035 per kilowatt-hours of energy usage to pay for state-sponsored energy efficiency. This SBC “tax” (like RGGI, bipartisan) benefits the many by reducing the need to make multi-billion dollar investments in new power plants and electricity transmission and distribution systems.
But Jim never explains why, if we have that tax in place to benefit state sponsored efficiency projects, why we signed onto a separate system that adds an additional tax, supervised by an out of state entity, that skims a portion of that "tax" off the top for administrative costs? How does that help everyone in New Hampshire when it diverts some of that so-called benefit away from the state.
Why not make a case to raise the SBC to fill the stated need? Why add a separate system, run by an outside third party, based on the questionable need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions?
… to advocate for a national energy policy that protects our communities and environment from the ravages of global warming caused by carbon pollution.
That affiliation might have been good to know in advance. But we can take a look at that right now…
The Carbon CO2alition’s charter signatories are a who’s-who list of left wing environmental organizations, some of them with questionable political goals not unlike the use of larger carbon schemes to redistribute wealth-which is what carbon schemes always do. None of them have ever managed to reduce emissions or accomplish much more than creating rent seekers who lobby the political body with the money for their piece of the action.
Now I don’t know Jim. Never heard of him before today. I bet he is a great guy. But he was in league with the global warming alarmist horde. And whatever Jim may have to say about it, he was part of a group committed to convincing people of the risks of global warming from CO2 and clearly a supporter of RGGI for that purpose. (The site is no longer updated, so they never got with the new narrative by changing that to "climate change.")
Jim never mentions any of this in his letter, which I find suspicious. Mr. Grady claims to be a long term Republican who has conservative instincts (a claim he makes in the opening paragraph ff his letter), then gives us a broad bush stroke about energy efficiency, news about an existing in-state tax that makes RGGI an obvious bureaucratic waste of time and resources, and ends with a bio that says "Jim Grady is president and owner of Merrimack’s LighTec, Inc. He never says anything about CO2, global warming, the Carbon CO2alition, or his political interest in advancing a Carbon scheme agenda like RGGI. Is that because these ideas are now unpopular? Does that explain the shift to the "shared efficiencies narrative?" But then, we already have a tax for that in NH according to Jim.
And one other point of interest. If you Google the address for the Carbon CO2alition, 100 Market street, suite 204 in Portsmouth, you get the exact same address as Clean Air-Cool Planet, Granite State Clean Cities coalition, The New Hampshire Planners association (at least while rent seeking Recovery money as part of the New England Rail Association–scroll down to see address reference in this letter to Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood), and on and on….
Not exactly disinterested company in CO2 alarmism politics, all sharing or trading off the same office space to advance junk science in support of candidates and a left wing ideology with a decidedly non-bipartisan agenda, connected to neo-socialist, redistributive, environmental globalists. And we are to believe RGGI is just about funding efficiency projects? RGGI doesn’t even try to sell itself that way. And since we already have the SBC, why not just put RGGI to rest? And having two schemes to do the same thing? That’s not very efficient.
Nothing personal Jim, but after reading your letter I am convinced, more than ever, that RGGI has to go.
Jim’s letter follows (New Hampshire Sunday News- Union Leader)
RGGI benefits all Granite Staters
AS A SMALL-BUSINESS owner and long-time Republican, I’m perplexed when I hear the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — once a GOP free-market bragging point — vilified as a Democrat tax-and-spend wealth redistribution plan. In the recent vote to withdraw New Hampshire from RGGI, leadership of the House Science and Technology committee called it a “plan to tax the many to benefit the few.” While my conservative instincts naturally warm to this description, the simple fact is that, as applied to RGGI, it’s simply not true.
What RGGI’s cap-and-trade revenue generation actually amounts to is a tiny tax on all — with all getting the benefit. The RGGI law requires the majority of its revenue to be invested back into our state to help reduce aggregate demand for electricity. This works for all of us because the price of electricity tends to decrease when we decrease our need for it.
When state Rep. Jim Garrity appeared on WMUR’s “Close-Up” program recently, he opined that the state should not invest public money in private energy efficiency projects. I have worked with Jim on energy issues and know him to be a selfless public servant; we are lucky to have him in public office.
I also share his view that any government role in managing public funds should always be scrutinized. Some thorough scrutiny of RGGI, however, will reveal a program that serves our state as an in-region alternative source of electricity that reduces rates for everyone.
Here in New Hampshire, this kind of public investment is not new. Most House members seem utterly unaware that for the past 12 years the state has levied a “tax” on the many that indisputably benefits the many: the Systems Benefit Charge (SBC). If you look at your electric bill, you’ll see a tiny charge of $0.0035 per kilowatt-hours of energy usage to pay for states-ponsored energy efficiency. This SBC “tax” (like RGGI, bipartisan) benefits the many by reducing the need to make multi-billion dollar investments in new power plants and electricity transmission and distribution systems.
It’s worth noting that last year demand for energy efficiency services from all of New Hampshire’s electric distribution utilities far outstripped available SBC funds, and utilities turned to RGGI funds to supplement business investments in energy efficiency. Thus RGGI allowed many businesses to justify investments in energy demand reduction projects within their facilities that would not otherwise have occurred. I also note that roughly every dollar on investment in utility electricity demand reduction programs leverages four dollars in job creation and sustaining private investment.
Despite this evidence, some of us Republicans somehow got it in our heads that New Hampshire’s RGGI law is a bad Democrat idea. After sitting through all of the testimony in the House hearings, I heard no real data at all that could remotely justify killing RGGI.
I do agree that the Legislature needs to stop diverting RGGI efficiency funds for use in other purposes; otherwise I view RGGI as an indisputable “win” for New Hampshire businesses and ratepayers.
Though hazy, New Hampshire’s energy strategy is really pretty simple: We encourage electric and gas utilities to make small annual investments in energy efficiency programs in order to push out the day when we have to make huge — billion dollar — investments in new sources of electrical energy. (Have we forgotten Seabrook Station overruns?) Given the slow-down in the Northern Pass project to create more transmission line capacity from Hydro Quebec to New England, we’re lucky that our RGGI and core electric and gas utility energy efficiency programs exist as alternative electricity sources that need not come from out of region.
Such energy efficiency programs have a proven track record of keeping electric rates as low as possible.
According to PUC testimony from our largest electricity supplier, the cheapest source of new electric power is that which is removed by improvements in customer end
use energy efficiency.
We should help the RGGI law continue its current success: operating as an energy efficiency engine that keeps electricity costs as low as possible while spurring economic development.
Jim Grady is president and owner of Merrimack’s LighTec, Inc.