Nuclear Power Must Be Part of NJ’s Energy Policies to Address Climate Change

Former NJ Senator Ray Lesniak argues that NJ has to turn away from energy solutions that include the burning of fossil fuels to address the effects of climate change that will impact thousands of state residents. He says that though energy efficiencies and renewable energy technology will help accomplish this, nuclear power needs to be included in any energy policy changes.
  • NJ can’t reduce the use of fossil fuels with efficiencies and renewable energy alone.
  • Nuclear power already provides 45 percent of energy in NJ.
  • Despite objections from some environmental organizations, nuclear power needs to be included into NJ’s energy policy.

The impact of fossil fuel on New Jersey’s future cannot be overstated. New Jersey is at ground zero for increased storm surges and flooding from climate change caused by fossil fuel:  “The Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy group, warns that by 2045, more than 62,000 New Jersey homes — valued at $26.8 billion — will be underwater, displacing nearly 80,000 people.” https://www.ucsusa.org/press/2018/new-study-finds-251000-new-jersey-homes-worth-107-billion-will-be-risk-tidal-flooding

Fossil fuel also pollutes our air which in some parts of the state is among the worse in the nation:  https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.northjersey.com/amp/521041002. Unhealthy air increases the risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts: https://environmentnewjersey.org/reports/nje/trouble-air

The future of our state and the health of our residents depend on New Jersey being a national leader by adopting an energy policy that eliminates the use of fossil fuel. As sponsor of many of the most progressive environmental protection laws in the country, I believe New Jersey must adopt an energy policy that includes nuclear energy – a position that is opposed by some environmental organizations:  http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/magazine/entry/will_nuclear_power_split_the_green_movement/

Since more than 45 percent of New Jersey’s energy is produced by nuclear power, https://www.nei.org/CorporateSite/media/filefolder/resources/fact-sheets/state-fact-sheets/New-Jersey-State-Fact-Sheet.pdf, we cannot replace the use of fossil fuel by solely relying on energy efficiencies and renewable energy, wind and solar, which some environmental organizations believe should be the only way to be fossil fuel free in energy production.

New Jersey cannot replace fossil fuel for the production of its energy needs with efficiencies and renewable energy alone, but we can with efficiencies, renewable energy and nuclear power.

Ray Lesniak is the former 20th District Senator.

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