Partnering with New Chief of Staff on NJ’s Clean Energy Future

DOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti engaged by Senator Robert Andrzejczak (D-1).

BY ED POTOSNAK

The governor’s chief of staff plays a critical role in any administration in helping our state government operate.

This person is in charge of carrying out the governor’s agenda, working with the Legislature on passing bills as well as overseeing the work of agencies responsible for everything from safeguarding public health to promoting economic development to protecting the environment.

We saw in George Helmy a true master of the role, as he skillfully shepherded through Governor Murphy’s priorities on issues ranging from clean energy to combating environmental racism and injustice.

Helmy’s deft leadership helped Governor Murphy earn the mantle of “America’s Greenest Governor.”

While his successor has big shoes to fill, we’re excited to work with Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti in her new role.

As state transportation commissioner, the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters got to know her through our advocacy to harden our state’s infrastructure to withstand the threat posed by climate change.

We know her as someone who cares deeply for the health and prosperity of New Jersey residents, and as someone with deep ties to our partners in organized labor who are building our clean energy future.

In Gutierrez-Scaccetti’s time in government, we’ve been encouraged by her and the administration’s willingness to listen to advocates, particularly in the decision to halt unnecessary lane-widening projects on the New Jersey Turnpike that would have raised costs for commuters while worsening air quality and increasing carbon pollution.

As Gutierrez-Scaccetti moves into her new role, we look forward to working with her to continue advancing Governor Murphy’s environmental agenda.

Many of the issues that the environmental community cares about are things with which she is deeply familiar from her time at the Department of Transportation.

We hope that her deep desire for expanding economic opportunities for union families will only reinforce this administration’s commitment to making New Jersey the nation’s leader in offshore wind. We know that a vibrant offshore wind industry will create thousands of union jobs even as it allows us to wean our economy off its dependence on foreign oil from global adversaries like Russia.

While Governor Murphy has already amassed an impressive pro-environment agenda, we know that New Jerseyans across our state are already seeing the damaging impacts from climate change in the form of forest fires that pollute our air and floods that destroy our homes and businesses.

We share key environmental priorities with the governor during this lame duck session — particularly in enacting his 100% clean energy standard into law.

This landmark legislation would restore New Jersey’s place as the national leader in clean energy while also providing thousands of good-paying union jobs installing new solar panels and updating our electric grid.

We join many of our partners in the environmental community in expressing concern and impatience NJ Transit recently moved forward with a major purchase of dirty diesel buses. While we acknowledge challenges to full-scale bus electrification, it is essential that NJ Transit lead the way toward building a green transportation sector.

Electric buses will reduce carbon pollution while improving air quality in some of our state’s poorest communities. It’s time for the state to make the necessary investments in improving the infrastructure of NJ Transit so that this is the final purchase of diesel buses the agency ever has to make.

We look forward to working with Gutierrez-Scaccetti to make this agenda a reality.

Ed Potosnak is the Executive Director for New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. ​​New Jersey LCV is the statewide political voice for the environment and works to elect environmentally responsible candidates to state and local offices.

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One response to “Partnering with New Chief of Staff on NJ’s Clean Energy Future”

  1. Mr. Potosnak is a longtime political hack and cheerleader of Gov. Murphy. He is a corrupt embarrassment to the environment, climate and justice movements.

    This Op-Ed is full of falsehoods, misperceptions, exaggerations and spin, too detailed to respond to in a comment format.

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