Gov. Murphy State of State: More Talk, We Need More Action
Today, Governor Phil Murphy gave his first State of the State address to New Jersey. It has been almost a year since the Murphy Administration was sworn in. The New Jersey Sierra Club is concerned that in the last 12 months, Governor Murphy has not fulfilled his commitments to the environment.
“The Governor talked about environment and climate change just like he did last year. The difference is there has been no action from last year. We need progress not just words. Most of Christie’s rules are still in place. We have moved forward on offshore wind but there are many areas like need to be done when it comes to energy. Today, Murphy spoke about the environment but has still failed to take bold action to fix it,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Governor Murphy is taking a victory lap on the environment, but he just started the lap.”
In his speech, Murphy said that New Jersey is leading the nation in fighting climate change, from promoting clean energy alternatives to rejoining RGGI. However he has remained silent on many of the fossil fuel projects in New Jersey.
“New Jersey is not leading the nation in fighting climate change because Murphy has yet to put a moratorium of fossil fuel projects. Murphy promised to rejoin RGGI which has not happened yet and set a cap that is too weak. If we allow the 5 proposed natural gas powerplants and 8 pipelines to be built, it would blow a hole in the RGGI cap. If Governor Murphy is serious about getting to 100% renewable, then he should have talked about that in his speech today,” said Tittel. “If Governor Murphy really wants to protect our environment, then he needs to put a moratorium on all fossil fuel projects and get rid of Christie’s policies and appointees. DEP also need to move forward on climate change adaptation and mitigation by reopening the Office of Climate Change and updating climate change rules.”
Governor Murphy said that we are emerging as a global leader in offshore wind energy, where each dollar of investment will return nearly double to our economy, and where we are working to create thousands of good-paying new, union jobs. The Board of Public Utilities recently closed the first solicitation for potential partners in building an 1,100-megawatt wind farm off our coast — enough energy to power half-a-million homes and businesses
“In the past year, New Jersey has moved forward on offshore wind. This is a step in the right direction however the nuclear subsidy will undermine that progress. The nuclear subsidy law places a cap on renewable energy that will limit wind and solar energy progress for the state. What’s even worse is our solar market will crash in a year,” said Tittel. “Murphy talks about renewable energy but fails to mention building our electric vehicle infrastructure for the state.”
Governor Murphy raised the issue of New Jersey’ outdated water infrastructure in his speech today. He believe that we must build modern water infrastructure network that ensures the delivery of clean water to every child, and every family. Murphy did not raise reversing Christie’s policies or adopting stricter drinking water standards and lead testing.
“Murphy talks about improving our water infrastructure but there is no money to fund fixing these water pipes. Governor Murphy also has not passed any legislation that would help fund lead testing in schools. DEP still need to adopt the stricter standards for toxic chemicals like lead in our drinking water,” said Tittel. “Murphy also failed to mention in his speech that his administration is still using weakened rules like the Flood Hazard Rules, Waiver Rules, and CAFRA rules that cause more flooding and pollution and put people more at risk.”
Murphy state that the administration is investing in NJ TRANSIT to make the system work again for the nearly one million New Jerseyans who depend upon it every day. There is still much to do, but I am committed to making NJ TRANSIT the turnaround story of New Jersey.
“NJ Transit still has problems despite that the fact that the Murphy Administration is trying to reform the agency. New Jersey would have a much better transit system if their budget wasn’t slashed by 90 percent in the past 11 years. Now there is no money for operations which will cause fares to raise and services to be cut,”said Tittel.
While Governor Murphy has kept some of his environmental and clean energy commitments such as moving us forward on offshore wind, we still need him to do more.
“We are concerned that after a year there has been inaction from Governor Murphy on the environment. There is still has time to change, but he needs to step up and take leadership in making New Jersey cleaner and greener. Instead of promoting more fossil fuel projects, NJ needs to focus on renewable energy such as solar and wind. Murphy must reverse Christie’s weakened rules that protect our environment, public health, and safety. Governor Murphy needs to show strong leadership by getting the DEP and other agencies to move on the environment, he can’t afford to wait,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “There has been a lot of talk on the environment and not a lot of action when it comes to protecting it. It’s time that Murphy moves forward.”