Bipartisan cadre of legislators urge Governor, Legislature to take CLIMATE ACTION NOW!!

Trenton, NJ -- A bipartisan cadres of New Jersey legislative leaders joined the Empower NJ: No Fossil Fuel Projects Coalition today to urge the Legislature and Governor Murphy to take stronger action sooner to combat climate change and promote a green economy.  They noted New Jersey is being hit hard by the climate crisis already, it’s getting worse, and proposed fossil-fuel infrastructure projects will deepen climate impacts. The legislators pushed a package of bills and called for the Governor’s new Energy Master Plan to aggressively confront this new reality.

“The choices we make today—to continue to guzzle fossil fuels, or to build a sustainable society powered by renewable energy—will affect not just our lives, but our children’s and grandchildren’s lives. With a federal administration denying the science of climate change and aggressively rolling back essential laws and regulations, it's imperative that our legislature and Governor step up and lead New Jersey to a healthy and resilient future.  There is no excuse for inaction, and no reason to build new fossil fuel projects,” said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), a leading opponent of the Meadowlands gas plant.

An Empower NJ’s analysis, acknowledged as “in the ballpark” by NJDEP, in February found 8 proposed pipelines and 5 power plants if built would increase greenhouse gas emissions by 32% and block Governor Murphy’s 100% renewable energy goals. That’s why the legislators are pushing:

S1405/A1823 (Diegnan, Weinberg, Huttle, Benson, et al.): Requires, by energy year 2035, all electric power sold in NJ be from Class I renewable energy sources;

S2252/A4819 (Smith, Greenstein, Bateman, Benson, Pinkin, et al.): Advances plug in and electric vehicle;

S1883/A3783 (Weinberg, Lagana, Pinkin, Calabrese, Huttle, Tully, et al.): Requires increased emergency response and safety procedures for frack oil “bomb” rail cars; and

S2776/A4330 (Smith, Greenstein, Gill, Pinkin, Kennedy, McKeon, et al.): Prohibit and reduce use of single use disposables (plastic bags, plastic straws, and polystyrene).

“As the most densely populated state, we have to be a leader in combating the climate crisis,” Senator Bateman (R-16) said. “Climate change is real and unless we take action now, our kids and our grand kids won’t have access to clean water and air in the future. Dangerous projects like the PennEast and NESE pipelines must be stopped and we must permanently ban all aspects of fracking in the Delaware River Basin. I am proud to be a part of this fight. We have made a lot of progress, but there is so much more to do and we need a moratorium to get there.”

Empower NJ has made a lot of progress since its formation just 6 months ago. A growing coalition of more than 80 citizen, environmental, faith and progressive groups, it has helped secure setbacks on several proposed fossil fuel projects including NESE and South Jersey Gas Pipeline and has placed a fossil fuel moratorium in the center of the debate on the looming Energy Master Plan. The moratorium is becoming increasingly urgent with new projects being proposed all the time including a dangerous Liquid Natural Gas port in Greenwich Twp., South Jersey.

“Climate change’s impacts are clearly hitting home across the country and here in New Jersey. We need to be a leader in the clean energy economy, and build towards a 100% clean, renewable energy future as quickly as possible. To be a state leader on clean energy, we need to clearly move off fossil fuel infrastructure and reject expansion of future fossil fuel pipelines and power plants. The time to take true action on climate is now,” said Asm. John McKeon (D-27).

“Our environment and our economy demand we move to 100% clean energy as fast as possible. That’s why I’m sponsoring legislation to do just that by 2035. When you’re in the middle of a crisis, we must take decisive action and I’m proud to be working with my legislative groups and Empower New Jersey to again do just that,” said Senator Patrick Diegnan (D-18).

Legislators and Empower NJ are also circulating a letter urging Governor Murphy to support for a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects.

“I was glad to hear that Governor Murphy’s administration denied three key permits for the Transco NESE pipeline from New Jersey to New York earlier this week. I am hopeful that this is merely the Governor’s first step towards putting a halt to the pending proposed natural gas power plants that would further threaten our state’s environment and the health of our residents who, according to the American Lung Association, are already living in an area with the 10th worst air quality in the nation. I urge the Governor and his administration to take the next step and declare a moratorium on fossil fuel projects in New Jersey and focus on moving the state to clean, renewable energy as quickly as possible,” said Assemblyman Clintion Calabrese (D-36).

Amy Goldsmith