‘Prosperity’ group hits Bragdon on RGGI
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
CONCORD – A fiscally conservative interest group will launch its second direct mail attack in a week against Senate President Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, over legislation to repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
The postcard mailer going out Tuesday to all registered voters in Bragdon’s new Senate district features a picture of Bragdon and President Barack Obama and asks what the two have in common.
“Senator Peter Bragdon wants to keep NH utility ratepayers trapped in this job and economy destroying scheme that sends NH jobs to China and India and other states that are not part of this job killing scheme,” the mailer says. “Tell him you support an end to NH’s participation in cap and trade.”
The New Hampshire chapter of Americans for Prosperity sponsored the mail piece on the RGGI program; a similar one sponsored by the same group was mailed out at the end of last week.
Executive director Corey Lewandowski told The Telegraph on Monday that he’s considering following up the mail program with radio and television advertising that criticizes Bragdon.
“This is a very important issue for my members. They want this cap-and-trade program ended, and Sen. Bragdon is standing right in the way of that happening,” Lewandowski said.
The mailing cost the group about $3,500, he said.
Bragdon said he hadn’t seen the mailings and couldn’t comment on them.
“I can say that I agree with AFP that changes to the RGGI program are needed, and that view is supported by a super-majority of senators,” Bragdon responded in a statement.
“The Senate Republicans have proposed changes to the RGGI program for which we have enough votes to override any veto from the governor.’’
RGGI sets emission targets that all polluters must meet. Those that can’t meet the target have to purchase credits from the program.
Each state gets to decide what it will do with the proceeds from RGGI credits. In this state, most of the money has gone to support energy-efficiency projects.
Supporters say RGGI has led to a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide that contribute to global warming and created jobs.
Opponents note that polluters can pass on the cost of these credits along to customers and have dubbed it a “cap-and-tax” scheme.
Some House Republican lawmakers have said politics has played a part in which companies or communities get RGGI money and called for refunding the money back to customers.
The House of Representatives and Senate have approved competing bills (HB 1490) on the subject.
The mailings come in the waning weeks of the 2012 session.
The House favored repeal of the RGGI program; the Senate’s bill would only have New Hampshire withdraw if either Massachusetts or Connecticut got out first.
“New Hampshire shouldn’t have any preconditions on doing the right thing,” Lewandowski said. “If Massachusetts increases their income tax, does that mean New Hampshire should adopt one? Of course not. This is the Live Free or Die state.”
Gov. John Lynch signed legislation in 2007 for New Hampshire to join RGGI, becoming the 10th and last state to do so.
He is not seeking re-election and has stressed this spring he would oppose any legislation to get the state out of this program.
Last year, Lynch vetoed a RGGI repeal measure; Bragdon voted to uphold that veto and the bill died in the Senate.
Environmental groups have already urged Lynch to again block any attempt to alter RGGI.
Oil billionaire David Koch helped start Americans for Prosperity, and this group helped lead the fight to convince lawmakers in New Jersey to leave the program.
Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or email@example.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@KLandrigan).
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