Gov. Chris Christie said he never discussed pulling New Jersey out of a 10-state pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with billionaire oil industry brothers David and Charles Koch — who have fought vigorously to stop it — during a trip to Colorado in June.
Christie was the keynote speaker June 26 at a closed-door seminar hosted by the oil barons in the swank ski resort of Vail, Colo.
"The Koch brothers never brought RGGI up to me. Never asked me about my opinion on it. I never discussed it with them," Christie said Tuesday. Christie had not publicized that trip because he said it was private.
"When I leave to do things that are personal that are not connected with my job, I don't feel like I have the obligation to tell you that," Christie said, adding that the only person he tells every time he leaves the state is Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, because she assumes power.
Last week, the liberal magazine Mother Jones was first to disclose the governor's out-of-state trip to Colorado and a private meeting with Charles Koch that Christie had this winter before making a decision to pull out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known as RGGI.
"Five months ago we met in my New York City office and spoke — just the two of us — for about two hours on his objectives and successes in correcting many of the most serious problems of the New Jersey state government," David Koch said in introducing Christie at the seminar, according to Mother Jones' recording. "At the end of our conversation, I said to myself, 'I'm really impressed and inspired by this man. He is my kind of guy.'"
Christie announced in May he was pulling the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative by the end of the year. He said the program was "a failure" at actually reducing such emissions and that cap-and-trade pact "does nothing more than tax electricity, tax our citizens, tax our businesses with no discernible or measurable impact upon our environment."