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Public Calls on Governor in Camden for More Action on Clean Energy Sooner

September 12, 2019, 1:12 pm 

Camden City, NJ -Today before and at the final hearing on the Murphy Administration’s 2019 Draft Energy Master Plan (EMP), a broad range of faith-based, progressive, environmental justice, student, citizen, and environmental groups joined together to push for renewable and truly clean, fossil fuel-free energy. The advocates noted the EMP lacks the urgency needed to adhere to scientists’ call for a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to avoid the worst aspects of the climate crisis.

“New Jersey’s Master Plan is not a real Master plan if it does not first save lives and second enhance our lives,” said Reverend Jesse Brown, PastorChristus Lutheran Church of Camden, NJ.

“Clean energy isn’t just about stopping the melting of the polar ice caps. Clean, renewable energy solutions means a transition off dirty fossil fuels which have burdened communities like Camden,” said Sue Altman, director of NJ Working Families Alliance. “We need an Energy Master Plant that is not carbon neutral and not neutral to the impact of incinerators on cities like Camden. We need an Energy Master Plan that listens to the climate science of reducing carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 — not listening to South Jersey Gas lobbyists. A clean, renewable energy future isn’t just about reducing carbon — it’s about creating a more equitable climate future for all of our residents.”

“It took 6 years of people-power to stop the South Jersey Gas pipeline through the Pinelands! Governor Murphy, with the stroke of a pen you can put a moratorium on all fossil fuel projects in the state until there is a comprehensive plan in place to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035 or sooner. And he can’t stop there or wait until then. Scientists say we need a 45% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to avoid the worst aspects of the climate crisis. The human, economic and environmental toll of the dirty energy industry is shocking to the conscience,” said Georgina Shanley, organizer with Citizens United For Renewable Energy.

 “We no longer have decades to spend on small, slow incremental steps. We need bold action and we need it now! Carbon neutral goals need to be replaced with clean, renewable energy goals. We cannot continue to indulge in greenwashing and in ideas that are pure conscience-appeasement. Carbon offsets will not stem the tide of climate change. Investing in carbon capture and sequestration keeps us locked into investments with the fossil fuel industry,” said Kate Delany, Collingswood Democratic Chair. “We must move towards renewable energy, towards energy that is not dirty and dangerous. We need to get out of the cycle of pipelines, nuclear power plants and garbage incinerators as these projects often result in environmental classism and racism.”

“As a resident of the Delaware River communities for over 45 years, I remember the impact of several oil spills and even an explosion of an oil tanker on the river almost 45 years ago. More recently, the derailment of a Conrail train that fouled the air and water and sickened many residents and even more recently the explosion on the Schuylkill River. We don’t need to add any more risk to life along the river,” said Gina Carola, life-long South Jersey resident.

“If Governor Murphy is serious about stopping the greenhouse gas pollution that’s driving us towards irreversible climate catastrophe, the choice is clear.  We are well beyond the point where we can let the greed of the fossil fuel industry negotiate the terms of our transition to 100% clean renewable energy.  The Governor and his NJDEP must reject the pending permits for the NESE pipeline and compressor station project by September 25, and he must enact an immediate moratorium on all fossil fuel expansion in NJ,” said Linda Powell, organizer with the Central Jersey Environmental Defenders.

In New Jersey, 10 counties, including Camden County, received failing grades for ozone air pollution from the American Lung Association. Things are getting worse because of climate change but we are going to make it worse if we allow more fossil fuel power plants and pipelines to be built.  These fossil fuel projects will increase greenhouse gases and emit chemicals like ammonia and nitrogen oxide and fine particulates that add to ozone. More dirty fossil fuel plants will only bring more asthma and health problems, especially into our environmental justice communities.

The Empower NJ coalition has serious concerns that Governor Phil Murphy’s Draft Energy Master Plan does not reflect a sense of urgency regarding climate change. The plan does not address natural gas or any mention of a moratorium on fossil fuel projects. It fails to mention regulating carbon dioxide (C02), natural gas power plants and pipelines. The United Nations Climate Report warns of a global tipping point by 2030 so it is urgent that we reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) as quickly as we can. The Global Warming Response Act calls for reductions of GHG emissions by 80% by 2050, but that is not enough. We need stronger targets like 100% by 2035 and 100% carbon free economy wide by 2050 like New York and other states are doing.

New Jersey needs to take bold steps to reduce harmful GHG’s and move immediately forward toward reaching 100% renewable energy. Every day that we wait, cities like Camden will continue to choke on the emissions and see more asthma and health impacts because of air pollution.  New Jersey needs a moratorium on all new fossil fuel projects so that we can move towards a greener and cleaner economy. We are in a climate crisis and we need immediate action now.

Comments are due to NJBPU by noon, September 16, email: emp.comments@bpu.nj.gov.

Empower NJ is a coalition of over 90 environmental, citizen, faith, and progressive groups leading a grassroots campaign calling on Governor Murphy to act quickly on climate change by stopping all pending fossil fuel expansion projects.

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