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Sununu says N.H. won’t join climate alliance



Monitor staff
Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu says New Hampshire won’t join a growing number of states that are pledging to uphold the Paris climate agreement following President Donald Trump’s decision to back out.

“Not at this time, especially when we do not yet know its impact on our economy and environment,” Sununu said in a statement.

The decision quickly drew criticism from members of the state’s Democratic Congressional delegation, who urged Sununu to reconsider.

“The Paris Climate Agreement sets laudable benchmarks for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to global warming,” said the state’s senior Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. “New Hampshire should be spearheading efforts to curb the dangerous effects of climate change.”

Ten more members, including four states in New England, this week joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, which aims to cut emissions by at least 26 percent from 2005 levels and meet targets set in the federal Clean Power Plan.

While the initiative was launched last week by Democratic governors in California, New York and Washington, Republican leaders in Vermont and Massachusetts have also signed on. Democratic governors in Connecticut and Rhode Island have made their states part of the coalition, too.

“Our administration looks forward to continued, bipartisan collaboration with other states to protect the environment, grow the economy and deliver a brighter future to the next generation,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement.

In an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio last week, Sununu said he hadn’t really thought about Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the international climate pact.

“You know, it’s not my job to go through the whole accord and look at the in-depth impacts across the country, economically,” he told NHPR. “The president has done that, his team has done that, and they’ve made the decision they feel is in the best interest of the United States and I stand by that.”

In a statement to the Monitor on Monday, Sununu said he has made cleaning up groundwater a top priority and remains committed to New Hampshire’s “long and proud tradition of responsible environmental stewardship.”

New Hampshire already takes steps to reduce harmful emissions by participating in a regional cap-and-trade pact made up of nine states along the East Coast. Under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, fossil fuel-burning power plants have to buy allowances for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit. New Hampshire earned $15 million in auction proceeds last year, according to the Department of Environmental Services.

Sununu has voiced support in the past for leaving the RGGI, but has said more recently that it may be feasible only if other states also withdraw.

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or amorris@cmonitor.com.)