Clean Energy Economy & Democracy Suffer at NJ Legislative Hearing
Nukes & frack gas do battle with renewables, climate, public health caught in the cross hairs
For Immediate Release: Monday, December 4, 2017
Trenton, NJ — Clean Water Action released the following statement after today’s joint NJ Assembly and Senate hearing PSE&G plant bailout.
The sole purpose of the joint legislative hearing was to take testimony from interested parties regarding plans to further subsidize PSE&G’s nuclear plants. The hearing was front loaded with testimony from PSE&G affiliated interests while the majority of consumer, environmental, industry, and senior citizen groups were either prevented from testifying or hurried to testify at the very end.
PSE&G has been maneuvering for months for the Legislature to fork over up to $3 billion or more of ratepayer funds to artificially prop up its nuclear plants. Doing this during lame duck is a way for legislators to be least accountable to the public and minimize public scrutiny as we enter the holiday season. PSE&G claims but has failed to document that the plants are unprofitable and the state can’t afford for the plants to go offline.
In considering this nuclear bailout, legislators have been non-committal about whether they’ll: 1) rush the legislation to passage over the next month, 2) require PSE&G to open their books before any bail out without strong strings attached as occurred in New York and Illinois, and 3) give the public adequate time to analyze and testify on any legislation.
“Every engaged NJ environmental group opposes this bailout especially with no strings attached, but you’d never know that from the hearing. The process was clearly stacked against environmental advocates and more importantly the public interest. The nuclear and frack gas industry were in a feeding frenzy at the public trough while the reality is that renewables will create more jobs at less cost to ratepayers, public health and climate than either nukes or frack gas. It looks like some legislators may take a page out of last week’s Trump McConnell tax package play book — make it up as you go along, don’t tell anyone about it, and see what you can get away with,” said David Pringle, Clean Water Action’s NJ Campaign Director.
Pringle concluded by noting that this bailout in not needed and undermines Governor-elect Murphy’s commitments to the Renewable Portfolio Standard, electric cars, energy storage, offshore wind, the Clean Energy Fund, RGGI, and community solar.
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