About Governor George Pataki
Having relinquished America’s longest-running governorship in 2007, George Pataki is one of the nation’s most prominent authorities on public policy concerning energy and environmental issues. His 12 years in office were marked by political vision and leadership that inspired significant change.
Long praised for his focus on the environment, in 2003 Pataki spearheaded the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)-the leading American model for creating a nationwide system to reduce greenhouse gases. The RGGI is a cooperative effort by mainly Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by creating a regional cap-and-trade program recognizing diversity in the programs of individual states. In 2006, RGGI was a model for California when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed legislation enacting a cap-and-trade program in California.
During his tenure in office, Gov. Pataki invested more than $13 billion to protect New York state, including preserving over 1 million acres of open space across the state—a territory larger than all of the state Rhode Island. His historic commitment to the environment also included increased funding for New York State’s annual Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to a record $225 million-nine times the level when he took office.
Gov. Pataki is recognized for his dedication to personal freedom and individual responsibility. His “new attitude” state government—he is a proven tax-cutter and job-creator—has been cited by numerous business leaders as a model for America’s future; indeed, IBM, Eastman Kodak, PepsiCo and Berkshire Hathaway attributed their decisions to invest in New York directly to the policies of the governor.