In 2003, then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sent a letter to New York Gov. George Pataki accepting his invitation to discuss a regional cap-and-trade group.
""Thank you for you invitation to embark on a cooperative northeast process to reduct the power plant pollution that is harming our climate. I concur that climate change is beginning to effect our natural resources and that now is the time to take action towards climate protection," Romney said in the letter, adding, "I believe that our joint work to create a flexible market-based regional cap and trade system could serve as an effective approach to meeting these goals."
The Pataki letter, obtained from a Democratic source, details Romney's support for cleaning up his state's most polluting power plants, in addition to an enthusiastic embrace of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative concept.
Romney backed out of the cooperative the same day he announced that he would not run for reelection — as he planned to run for president. As detailed by The Wall Street Journal, the decision was just one of a host of policy shifts in 2005 coinciding with Romney's look to higher office.
Weeks earlier Romney had called it "good business," and later "a great thing for the Commonwealth," The Boston Globe reported at the time.
The Romney campaign notes that he has spoken out about his decision before, and says his decision to abandon the regional cap-and-trade program came about when he decided it would be too costly for consumers and businesses.
“New York invited the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to participate in the RGGI discussion, but, at the conclusion of those discussions, Gov. Romney refused to sign the agreement because he felt there were inadequate protections for businesses and consumers,” said Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul.