Secrecy and greed are polluting the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the nation’s first mandatory cap-and-trade system. Under the RGGI scheme, the smell of profiteering is powerful. New Jersey and nine other Northeast states have sold $662 million in carbon dioxide permits since 2008.
The bidders at RGGI auctions include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase and other Wall Street heavyweights. They hope to make big money by speculating on the price of permits, called allowances. Electric power plants are required to obtain an allowance for each ton of CO-2 they emit.
But exactly who is buying what at these auctions? How much of the carbon market have they cornered? What effect will the wheeling and dealing have on the electricity bills paid by consumers?
That’s none of our business, according to the bureaucrats in charge. They denied New Jersey Watchdog’s Open Public Records Act requests for auction details, contending the bidders’ “expectation of privacy” and “trade secrets” outweigh the public right to know.