Empower NJ Calls for Stronger EMP, Rallies for 100% Renewable Energy
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities will be holding their first public hearing on their proposed draft Energy Master Plan (EMP). Empower NJ has serious concerns with the draft plan including the failure to call for a moratorium on all fossil-fuel infrastructure projects in the state. If 15 proposed pipelines, power plants and LNG ports are built, greenhouse gases will increase 32% and block New Jersey from reaching 100% renewable energy. The coalition will join state legislators, environmental groups, citizen groups and more to call for a stronger EMP and rally for 100% renewable energy.
“The EMP fails to set out a path for accomplishing what should be the overriding goal of our energy policy: reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning as soon as possible from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The EMP irresponsibly fails to address, much less call for, the need for an immediate moratorium on the dozen of new, unneeded fracked gas projects proposed for New Jersey; inexplicably fails to call for the regulation of GHGs and sets inadequate clean energy goals. The EMP seems more concerned with offending the natural gas industry and its allies, then living up to its rhetoric about “boldly and aggressively” fighting the climate emergency we are in,” said John Reichman.
“We are in a climate crisis and things are getting worse and that is why we need a moratorium on fossil fuel projects. We will not reduce GHG’s with Governor Murphy’s new definition of clean energy. Under his definition, getting to 100% clean energy includes natural gas, fossil fuel plants with carbon sequestration, nuclear power plants, incinerators, biomass, carbon credits and offsets. He is turning clean energy into a dirty word. That’s like having a steak dinner and calling yourself a vegetarian,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The plan itself falls short on renewable energy. The only thing it mentions is setting a goal for renewable energy at 50% for 2030 but we may not even reach that. That is why Governor Murphy must put in place a moratorium on all new fossil fuel project. We need a time out to put in place programs to reduce greenhouse gases and get to 100% renewable. We need to catch up to combat climate change before it is too late.”
“Governor Murphy’s draft energy master plan fails to grasp the urgency of our climate crisis. The timeline proposed to meet New Jersey’s clean energy goals is grossly inadequate; we must go much further and much faster to reach 100 percent truly renewable energy, and do so without relying on unproven gimmicks or ineffective market schemes,” said Matt Smith, Senior Organizer for Food & Water Watch
“Black Carbon (soot) is a highly potent warming agent, worse than CO2, and recognized by the World Health Organization as a human carcinogen. When it lands in our lungs, it causes premature death from cancer, respiratory disease, asthma, heart attacks, and strokes. This is especially true in marginalized communities of color and low income neighborhoods (Environmental Justice communities) where our ports and diesel emissions are most concentrated. In order for NJ’s Energy Master Plan to achieve true environmental justice (EJ) and equity, the NJDEP must not wait to use its existing powers to immediately mandate reductions of black carbon, and other short lived climate emissions, as well as direct most funds and programs to mitigate past harm to the environment and human health in EJ communities,” said Amy Goldsmith, State Director, Clean Water Action. “The governor must conditionally veto two bills on his desk – Global Warming Response Act (S3207/A4821) to reaffirm the state’s authority to regulate black carbon et al, as well as S4039/A3726 so as to prevent the only the state in the nation from defining the incineration and landfilling of food waste as recycling. This is unconscionable when we need to produce fewer deadly and climate changing emissions not more.”
“The EMP demonstrates very limited understanding of the global warming and cooling issues caused by methane (the primary ingredient in natural gas). It uses the wrong time factor to measure methane’s global warming power, thereby understating total GHG emissions by about 27% today and reductions needed to meet the EMP’s long term goals, and fails completely to understand the short term cooling power of methane reductions. As a result, its policy on natural gas alone will cause it to fail to meet its objective,” said Ken Dolsky, Organizer, Don’t Gas The Meadowlands Coalition.
“The Energy Master Plan isn’t just an energy planning document, it should be a vision on how the entire state can reach a clean, renewable energy future. Right now, the public hearings are pro forma. There’s a lot riding on this document, and we need more than double the number of allotted hearings,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “Multiple hearings in diverse locations across the state with evening hours would allow for more residents to weigh in on the energy issues at their doorsteps. And the public deserves the opportunity to weigh in on the final plan as well.”
“It’s really very simple. We need to protect our environment by denying permits for any new fossil fuel projects as they will hasten the Climate Crisis and endanger our health and safety. We must do or part in New Jersey to protect life and the environment,” said Linda Powell Outreach Coordinator Central Jersey Environmental Defenders.
“Just when New Jersey should be taking bold strides to curb greenhouse gas emissions, new fossil fuel projects are burying us, making it difficult if not impossible to make a dent in what we contribute to atmospheric warming. The new LNG export terminal in Gloucester County would cause increased methane to be released, compounding global warming, but the state is nonetheless considering issuing state permits to allow it. We need an immediate freeze on permits for all fossil fuel projects to stop this downward spiral,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
A coalition of over 80 environmental, citizen, faith, and progressive groups are part of the Empower NJ- No Fossil Fuel Projects Campaign. The campaign is calling on Governor Murphy to put a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure until New Jersey has rules and standards in place to achieve our state’s 100% clean energy goals. Coordinating committee groups include: BlueWaveNJ, Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Environment NJ, Food & Water Watch, NJ Sierra Club, and No Meadowlands Powerplant Coalition. www.empowernewjersey.com