TRENTON,NJ--The following bills are on the Senate board list for a full floor vote on Monday, December 16, 2019.
S611 (Sweeney) / A1212 (McKeon): Clarifies the intent of P.S.2007, c.340 regarding New Jersey’s required participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The RGGI implementing law partially implements the policies of the GWRA by creating an emissions auction and trading mechanism to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions, namely carbon dioxide.
“This legislation is an important step towards dealing with climate change. The bill fixes some of the deficiencies in the RGGI rules and updates the law from 2005. Rejoining RGGI will help New Jersey reduce pollution while funding energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. It is important for us to be working regionally with nine other states to reduce air emissions,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The money collected from RGGI will go out to help environmental programs, expand renewable energy, create jobs, reduce greenhouse gases, and help middle class families save money on their electric bills. In order to get to 100% renewable, we must make sure that carbon pays its true cost to the environment and society.”
RGGI is made up of Mid-Atlantic and New England states that uses a cap-and-trade auction process to encourage more market efficiencies, investments in renewable energy, and improvements in power-plant technology to reduce power plant emissions. New Jersey was a charter member of this effort but left in 2012, during the administration of Governor Chris Christie.
“New money is coming from RGGI and we need to make sure the Murphy Administration change the rules to that it goes to the right places, and not for things like natural gas facilities or carbon sequestration. Climate change is getting worse and we need to make sure RGGI is fixed and get real reductions,” said Jeff Tittel. “We lost 8 years of benefits from the program and New Jersey’s GHGs have gone up. Now that we are moving towards getting back in, we have to work ten times as hard to reduce our greenhouse gases.”
S3985 (Smith): expands the definition of “qualified offshore wind project” to include “open access offshore wind transmission facility.”
“We need to figure out the most cost-effective and environmentally beneficial ways to bring offshore wind power onto land. This is an issue that we need to take a careful look at as we are moving forward with these different offshore wind projects. Offshore wind can be the engine that drives our state to reach Governor Murphy’s 100% clean energy goals. Climate change impacts are happening now, and it is critical for New Jersey to transition to renewable energy sources to reduce those impacts. Offshore wind could feasibly power 1.2 million homes with clean energy,” said Tittel. “As we continue to rebuild our coast in the wake of multiple storm events, we need to invest in clean, renewable energy sources that do not contribute to climate change.”
SCR180 (Sacco/Stack): Urges NJ Sports and Exposition Authority and DEP to take immediate action to close and cap Keegan Landfill.
“It is shameful that state agencies that are supposed to protect public health are trying to reopen a toxic nightmare in Kearny. The courts were right in permanently shutting down the Keegan Landfill but now the NJSEA, DEP, and Attorney General are trying to reopen the case. These state agencies should be working with Kearny to clean up the landfill. People could barely breathe in their own homes because of the hydrogen sulfide coming from the sewage sludge NJSEA illegally dumped there. Instead NJSEA want to prolong this hazardous mess and use taxpayer money to do it,” said Jeff Tittel. “NJSEA need to be held accountable for illegally dumping waste and causing serious health impacts to the people of Kearny. This legislation will force the NJSEA and DEP to be accountable for this toxic nightmare in Kearny.”
S4162 (Smith): Appropriates $500,000 to establish a climate change resource center at Rutgers University. The resource center would carry out interdisciplinary research activities to help New Jersey adapt and prepare for climate change.
“Establishing a Climate Change Resource Center is a good step forward when it comes to being prepared and stronger than the next storm, but $500,000 is not enough money to get the job done. Rutgers is spending $4 million a year on a new football coach, but we can only spend $500,000 for climate change research. They need to get their priorities straight. This is a fumble when it comes to climate change. A recent study found that much of New Jersey, including inland counties, are more vulnerable to climate impacts now than before Sandy. We must start taking real actions to fight climate change now. We are in a climate crisis, and New Jersey is the only state on the east coast that does not have any kind of sea level rise climate adaptation plan,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This Resource Center will help use the latest science to put climate and sea level rise in DEP rules and state legislation, but more money needs to go toward this center for it to be effective.”