Empower NJ Coalition has some serious questions about NJ’s draft Energy Master Plan

Empower NJ coalition members will preview their critiques of Governor Murphy’s draft Energy Master Plan (EMP) in advance of Wednesday’s (July 17, 2019) Board of Public Utilities hearing.  While noting that this document has the potential to present a holistic road map for the transition to a green economy, the current version lacks crucial details, does not halt new fracked gas projects, and will utterly fail to achieve the Governor’s 100% clean energy goals and Global Warming Response Act mandates.  Members will testify at the BPU hearing to raise a number of specific issues that must be addressed before the coalition members, and the tens of thousands of concerned New Jersey residents they represent, can feel satisfied that our state is truly on a path to a clean, renewable energy future.

“Governor Murphy has long promised a plan to fight climate change in NJ through a rapid and fair transition to 100% renewable energy.  But his highly anticipated draft energy master plan is full of dirty energy loopholes, and lacks the aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals necessary to avoid runaway climate catastrophe,” said Matthew Smith, Senior Organizer, Food and Water Watch.

“The public must have abundant opportunities to participate in the development of the New Jersey Energy Master Plan. With only three days of hearings in three locations, people will have very limited opportunity for verbal comment. Furthermore, crucial details are missing from the draft, such as the annual milestones for each strategy, the fate of dirty energy projects that work counter to the Plan’s stated goals, and modeling of the expected results of the Integrated Energy Plan. When will the public be able to weigh in on these and other key aspects if they are not available now for public input? This plan will directly impact more than 8.9 million New Jerseyans, and, therefore, we require a robust public participation process,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

“If the Administration is serious about meeting its clean energy goals and addressing our climate crisis, there must be an immediate moratorium on new fossil fuel projects — none of which New Jersey actually needs. We have to stop increasing GHG emissions and begin immediately transitioning to a clean energy economy. Increasing our use of natural gas is a bargain with the devil. It would create  long term economic, financial and societal costs that are greater than any short term savings, suppress the development of clean, renewable energy, and lead to stranded assets,” said John Reichman, Environmental Chair, BlueWaveNJ.

“Gov. Murphy broke his commitment to the people of New Jersey when it comes to Clean Energy. He called for 100% Clean Energy by 2050, and now he is redefining this to include dirty options like natural gas fossil fuel plants with carbon sequestration, nuclear power plants, incinerators, biomass, carbon credits and offsets. He’s now defining dirty energy as clean energy in an almost Trumpian way. Calling fossil fuels Clean Energy is like Ben & Jerry’s calling their ice cream vegan,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The EMP is EMP-T-Y when it comes to investing in renewable energy. Its current goal is 50% by 2030 and does not increase renewable energy beyond that. This suggests we will somehow reach “100% Clean Energy by 2050,” with potentially half of our energy from dirty fuels and nuclear. The definition of Clean Energy also does not include the impacts from natural gas pipelines and compressor stations, and the Administration includes nuclear subsidies that could go on indefinitely. When it comes to reaching our climate and renewable energy goals, our Governor is full of hot air.”

“The Energy Master Plan and companion policies mention equity, but offer few specific remedies to climate injustice. The State of NJ must establish immediate mandatory reductions of climate changing substances and their co-pollutants within Environmental Justice communities, as well as designate a significant portion of future climate mitigation benefits, funds, and programs to the communities who have long suffered the harms of polluting facilities,” said Amy Goldsmith, Clean Water Action, State Director, Clean Water Action.

“Methane emissions are the Achilles’ heel of the bridge fuel philosophy. The Energy Master Plan fails to take into account the full impact of methane pollution from fossil fuels and this glaring oversight needs to be corrected,” said Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey. “Methane is the loaded gun of carbon pollution, and we need to fully reckon with its impacts – and significantly reduce methane pollution via a fossil fuel moratorium – if we are to truly reach a clean, renewable energy future.”

Governor Murphy has repeatedly promised that guidance and rules for constructing new gas power plants and pipelines/compressor stations would be addressed in the EMP and has used this anticipated plan to deflect criticism and defer action. The EMP completely ignores this critical issue and is thus effectively allowing these projects to proceed. With each passing day it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve the Administration’s stated goal of 100% clean energy by 2050. The time to fulfill these promises is now.

See a downloadable copy of this press release here.

See Empower NJ’s detailed comments on the energy master plan here.

For further information contact:

  • Matt Smith, Food & Water Watch, 732 839-0866
  • Tracy Carluccio, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, 215.369.1188 x104
  • John Reichman, Blue Wave NJ, 917-626-8025
  • Doug O’Malley, Environment New Jersey, 917-449-6812
  • Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100
  • Amy Goldsmith, Clean Water Action, 732-895-2502