MURPHY REDUCES ENVIRONMENTAL DIVERSIONS IN FY20
TRENTON, NJ- Today, Governor Murphy announced his proposed budget for FY20, which included several changes to environmental priorities.
“We are excited to see the restoration the of Clean Energy Fund program to its mission and the prioritization of climate change resiliency,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “In the past, this fund was used to pay for dirty fossil fuel energy or to plug budget holes, instead of investing in a clean energy future. Governor Murphy has made it clear that the environment continues to be a top priority even after an impressive first year of pro-conservation actions. We’ll be looking at funding for the DEP to ensure the state can hold polluters accountable and expand critical conservation programs.”
The Clean Energy Fund is one of six programs financed by the societal benefits charge and is established by the Electric Discount and Energy Competition Act. Most of the money is generated by large users of energy. Intended uses include support for the Clean Energy Program, to fund clean energy investments and energy efficiency. During Governor Christie’s tenure, more than $1.5 billion in Clean Energy Funds were raided to help balance the state budget. These diversions hurt New Jersey’s efforts to switch to cleaner fuels to produce electricity and hampers efforts to be less dependent on fossil fuels.
During the Christie Administration, funds were raided and spent on parks management, NJ Transit utility costs, and state utility costs, and for several budgets were diverted into the general fund. In Governor Murphy’s first budget, FY19, the raids decreased by $5 million.
Estimated Clean Energy Fund Diversions FY 18 & FY 19
FY 18 (Christie Admin)
FY 19 (Murphy Admin)
NJ Transit Utility Costs
State Utility Costs
According to the Governor’s Budget in Brief, this budget will cut the Clean Energy Fund diversion in half, returning over $70 million to support its intended purpose.
“Governor Murphy inherited a problematic budget from the Christie Administration, so we knew the ending of the raids was not going to happen overnight,” said Potosnak. “We are thankful for this reduction, and we look forward to the day when the entirety of the Clean Energy Fund is used for its intended purpose—investing in our clean energy economy. There is no time to waste in these investments if we want to achieve the Governor’s vision of 100 percent clean energy by 2050.”
In a letter to the Governor <https://click.everyaction.com/k/5205392/44457312/-38320211?nvep=ew0KICAiVGVuYW50VXJpIjogIm5ncHZhbjovL3Zhbi9BVi9BVkxDVi8xLzY1ODk2IiwNCiAgIkRpc3RyaWJ1dGlvblVuaXF1ZUlkIjogImRiNzk5NWI4LTg1M2YtZTkxMS1iOGIzLTI4MTg3ODM5MWVmYiIsDQogICJFbWFpbEFkZHJlc3MiOiAicGV0ZUBpbnNpZGVybmouY29tIg0KfQ%3D%3D&hmac=lfG29jldV-ySgIRDQkkd_T4llmB5Zdc4j-H_g6Vj6DY=&usp=sharing> , New Jersey LCV asked for the following to be addressed in the budget:
- Increased funding for the Department of Environmental Protection
- Increased funding for Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program (PILOT)
- Reduced diversions of the Clean Energy Fund
- Full Funding for the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC)