Who Killed The Senate Resolution Urging Gov. Murphy To Impose a Moratorium On Fossil Infrastructure?

December 4th, 2019 No comments

Resolution posted on Environment Committee Agenda and Withdrawn 24 Hours Later

It sure didn’t take long for political power to be exercised.

On Monday morning, I received an email from the OLS staff aide to the Senate Environment Committee announcing the Committee’s agenda for Monday December 9, 2019.

As I scrolled down the list of bills to be heard, I was surprised to read the final item listed, Senate Resolution #151, sponsored by Senator Weinberg, which “Urges Governor to impose moratorium on fossil fuel projects.” (emphases mine):

[…]

WHEREAS, Governor Murphy’s draft Energy Master Plan sets a goal to provide 100 percent clean energy in the State of New Jersey by 2050, however, the plan does not address the existing and proposed numerous fossil fuel infrastructure projects, such as pipelines and power plants in the State; and

WHEREAS, In order to meet the State’s clean energy goal by 2050 an immediate moratorium on all fossil fuel infrastructure projects should be imposed until the State adopts a plan to meet this goal; now, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the State of New Jersey:

1. This House urges the Governor to impose an immediate moratorium on fossil fuel infrastructure projects until the State adopts rules regulating CO2 and other climate pollutants adequate to achieve the 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 levels by 2050 as required under the Global Warming Response Act.

I read the Resolution, immediately Tweeted it and emailed it to activists, and urged people to attend the hearing to support it.

I was planning on suggesting to the sponsor and Chairman Smith an important amendment to note the existence of a “climate emergency” and to urge the Gov. to invoke his “emergency powers” under the NJ Constitution. The failure to note an emergency and to include emergency powers is a significant flaw in the Resolution. I planned to write a post about that before the hearing as well.

But before I could do so, just 24 hours later, on Tuesday, I got an email from OLS noting a “revised” agenda for December 9, 2019.

The “revision” was the withdrawal of SR 151.

Who killed that Resolution? Where did the pushback come from? Let’s explore those questions.

The Committee Chair, Senator Smith in this case, controls the Committee’s agenda, within limits set by the Senate President, in this case Senator Sweeney. Sometimes the Senate President directs the Chair to post and move a specific bill, sometimes the Senate President directs the Chair to block a bill.

But for the most part, the decisions on which bills to post for Committee hearing is under the control and discretion of the Committee Chair. The Chair makes these decisions frequently in consultation with his Senate colleagues and leadership, the sponsor(s) of the bill, external “stakeholders”, and sometimes with the “front office” (i.e. the Governor’s Office).

It is unusual, but not unprecedented, for a Committee agenda to be revised after it is announced.

Most of these unusual revisions to the agenda are to add bills – rarely is a bill or Resolution withdrawn.

Highly controversial bills, around which there is no consensus, or that are not “ripe”, are typically posted for “consideration only” (not vote), so the “stakeholders” can present testimony and legislators can debate the merits more fully and make necessary amendments to the proposed bill.

In this case, SR 151 was not “downgraded” to “for consideration only” status, it was completely withdrawn. 

There are several possible logical explanations, most of them deeply disturbing. Here are some that I can think of:

1. Perhaps Gov. Murphy’s Office requested that the Resolution be withdrawn, to avoid pre-empting his own upcoming announcement of a moratorium or inclusion of a moratorium in the final BPU Energy Master Plan.

In that case, obviously the Gov. would want the Resolution withdrawn to avoid stealing his thunder and creating the impression that he was responding to the political pressure of the legislature, not his own initiative.

This is the best possible interpretation. It is possible, but not very likely, as Gov. Murphy has had many opportunities to impose a moratorium or even talk about the issue and he has signed major legislation that ignores climate and his DEP has issued numerous approvals of permits to major GHG polluters with no GHG emission restrictions whatsoever.

2. Perhaps Senate President Sweeney directed Chairman Smith to withdraw the Resolution or otherwise twisted Smith’s arm (e.g. threatening him with blocking bills that Smith supports, like the electric vehicle bill).

This is very likely, as Sweeney has championed gas power plants and pipelines.

3. Perhaps gas industry and PSE&G lobbyists intervened directly with Chairman Smith and flexed their huge political muscles, or did so indirectly through Sweeney or Gov. Murphy’s Office or BPU.

This also is very likely, because Smith is known to listen very closely to PSE&G (e.g. Smith met with PSE&G CEO Izzo to cut the deal on the nuke bailout legislation – and remarkably, Smith even acknowledged this publicly. NJ Spotlight:

Yesterday, Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), who helped draft the law, told the Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran he decided to set the incentive at $300 million because PSEG CEO Ralph Izzo told him it was the right number.

4. Perhaps Chairman Smith, upon pressure from the usual suspects (see #1 – #3 above), got cold feet.

Perhaps Smith didn’t want a repeat of the controversial “Troopergate”, where activists were given a platform to protest and were forcibly removed from a legislative hearing by NJ State Police.

This too is likely, as Smith had to know that many climate activists would attend the hearing to support the Resolution.

5. Perhaps, upon reflection, someone realized that the lame duck session was not the proper forum to ram through such a controversial Resolution.

I made that argument in opposition to the pending electric vehicle bill. But that argument would not apply in this case, due to the emergency nature of the climate catastrophe and the pending regulatory approvals of fossil infrastructure.

This is very unlikely, as principled consideration of things like “democracy” and legitimacy are far from the minds of transactional Trenton policymakers.

6. Perhaps the sponsor, Senator Weinberg requested that the Resolution be withdrawn. Obviously, she would be subject to the same political pressures as Chairman Smith is.

This is possible but unlikely.

I also must note that, once again, as in electric vehicles, there appears to be major political malpractice in posting the Resolution during lame duck – thereby giving fossil industry opponents process arguments. There also are legitimate process arguments about the legislature injecting itself so forcefully on a major policy issue during the ongoing BPU energy planning process.

So, given the significance of the climate and fossil moratorium issues, the unusual and embarrassing withdrawal of the Resolution, and the various possible explanations – most of them corrupt – will the NJ press corps make calls to the suspects and demand answers?

NJ Spotlight, where are you?

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From The Age Of Aquarius And A Bridge Over Troubled Water To Trumpism – Let Me Out Of This Madhouse

December 1st, 2019 No comments

I was a science nerd, but here’s the culture and politics I grew up in, that I took seriously, and formed my expectations for the future. We actually sang this song in our 6th grade chorus concert:

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Aquarius
Aquarius
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation
Aquarius. ~~~ The Fifth Dimension (1969)

It was a time of compassion and caring:

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you (ooo)
I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down. ~~~ Simon & Garfunkel (1970)

The social studies curriculum included civics and an entire semester of critical thinking, where we were encouraged to question authority, participate in government, engage in protest, and challenge the conventional wisdom printed in the NY Times.

We can change the world
Re-arrange the world
It’s dying … if you believe in justice
It’s dying … and if you believe in freedom
It’s dying … let a man live his own life
It’s dying … rules and regulations, who needs them
Open up the door. Chicago, CSNY (1971)

We were confronted with questions:

What’s it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, Alfie
Then I guess it is wise to be cruel
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie
What will you lend on an old golden rule? ~~~ Dionne Warwick, 1966

Dr. King led the way – in a letter from a Birmingham jail (1963)

“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

So how the hell did we get to the current Neoliberal nightmare?

Funny how this all comes back upon my mind –

My “Pandora Channel” is Gregorian Chants.

I listen to them at night. They comfort me and remind of the Pre-Vatican II Catholic Church I grew up in.

Yesterday, I learned of a 30 day offer to get other channels with no commercials and no financial commitment.

So, tonight, I searched for “1960’s folk”.

And, in an amazing and ironic technological feat, here we are.

But how can I even begin to convey what that music meant to me as a young boy?

The time has come for closing books and long last looks must end
And as I leave I know that I am leaving my best friend
A friend who taught me right from wrong and weak from strong
That’s a lot to learn, but what can I give you in return? ~~~ To Sir With Love (Lulu, 1967) 

And how disgusted I am with the current culture and politics and their Neoliberal intellectual foundations?:

Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men. ~~~ Ayn Rand

We must face the fact that the preservation of individual freedom is incompatible with a full satisfaction of our views of distributive justice. ~~~ Friedrich Hayek

The error was a legacy of New Deal thinking, which glorified elected officials and career bureaucrats as disinterested servants of the public good, despite the obvious coercive effects of the programs they put into place. Why not instead see politicians and government administrators as self-interested players in the marketplace, trying to “maximize their utility”—that is, win the next election or enlarge their department’s budget? ~~~ The Architect of the Radical Right – How the Nobel Prize–winning economist James M. Buchanan shaped today’s antigovernment politics

“They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. ~~~ Margaret Thatcher (1987)

“Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” ~~~ Ronald Reagan, 1981

“The Era of Big government is over.” ~~~ Bill Clinton, 1996

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer … From this moment on, it’s going to be America First. ~~~ Donald Trump, 2017

Please stop the nightmare, I want off.

Horror grips us as we watch you die
All we can do is echo your anguished cries
Stare as all human feelings die
We are leaving, you don’t need us

Go take your sister then by the hand
Lead her away from this foreign land
Far away where we might laugh again
We are leaving, you don’t need us. ~~~ Wooden Ships, CSNY (1969)

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The Cap Is Full Of Crap – And So Are Gov. Murphy’s Trenton Cheerleaders

November 29th, 2019 No comments

Wall Street Wind Exempted From Cap

Once Again, Trenton Cheerleaders Exposed

Follow The Wall Street & PSE&G Money

Why was a costly, capital intensive, centralized, large scale off shore wind energy source with little market competition exempted from the cost cap, while the cheaper, labor intensive, decentralized, small scale, and far more competitive solar technology was not?

You won’t find it mentioned anywhere in NJ Gov. Murphy’s self congratulatory press release on signing the bill into law- or in the stenography that masquerades as journalism – but the Gov.’s highly touted renewable law included  a Trojan Horse cap on costs of renewable energy.

Even the solar industry ignored the cap issue in their rush to issue sycophantic praise of Gov. Murphy:

“This new law is nothing less than a fundamental overhaul of the way our state will generate, distribute, and use energy”, stated Jim Spano, MSEIA’s Vice President for New Jersey. “It will launch New Jersey, the birthplace of solar power technology, into the forefront of the drive to combat global warming and create a sustainable energy future”.

Just listen to these lapdogs trip over each other to praise Gov. Murphy: (in Gov. Murphy’s own press release)

“The clean energy bill is a great down payment on Governor Murphy’s commitment to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. I couldn’t be more thrilled the Governor took this initiative one step further today by signing an executive order to update the energy supply plan toward the 100 percent clean energy goal.” ~~~ Ed Potosnak, executive director, NJ League of Conservation Voters

“This landmark legislation and executive order show that New Jersey is serious about rapidly adopting clean, renewable energy. From far-reaching environmental benefits, to tens of thousands of jobs that strengthen our economy, to lower emissions that fend off climate change and improve our health, the advantages of clean energy are undeniable. With these actions, Gov. Murphy is making New Jersey a national leader in the transition away from fossil fuels toward a healthier and more prosperous clean energy future.” ~~~ Tom Gilbert, campaign director, ReThink Energy NJ and New Jersey Conservation Foundation

But, at the time the bill was moving through the legislature, we warned about the disastrous impacts of the cap and harshly criticized the environmental groups who supported it, see:

The current version of the bill contains a cap that would kill the necessary expansion of renewable energy, Section 6.d.(2) provides::

Those caps … would function very much like the “cost test” in the Offshore Wind Act, which was to provide a basis and political cover for BPU to block wind. That cost test was a scheme of Sweeney and former Gov. Christie.)

They [caps] would be the death knell for renewable energy in NJ and make it impossible to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals of the Global Warming Response Act, which will require major investment and larger ratepayer increases to pay for them. …

We got confirmation that the assholes from NJ LCV signed off on the poison pill provision.

These people are dangerously incompetent and corrupt too.

Our warnings went unheeded – with the exception of wind as discussed below – and the cap was signed into law by Gov. Murphy.

Throughout the debate on the legislation, some of the so called “green groups” contradicted our analysis and just flat out lied to the public about costs. Here is a perfect example of that:(NJ Spotlight)

But others argued there is a pathway to move to a cleaner energy economy – one that would not cost consumers or businesses any more than they are now paying, if the state continued to rely on conventional power sources for electricity.

Not only is it achievable, but it is affordable, according to Barb Blumenthal, research director for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “We see many pathways forward that don’t cost any more money and some that cost less than business as usual for New Jersey,” she said, citing a study by her group.

But now, months after the Trojan Horse is out of the barn, the cap – just as we predicted – finally is being openly discussed as a major threat to the solar industry – even forcing the industry to leave the State – and the solar industry is seeking legislative relied from the cap.

Two days ago, NJ Spotlight reported:

The challenge was to arrive at a proper balance between those conflicting goals, which are complicated by the law’s inclusion of a cost cap that eventually limits increases in incentives for solar projects. Without some relief from the cap, solar developers say investment likely will dry up in the state, even with the modest increase in incentives offered by the BPU’s draft proposal.

“I think we’re heading in the right direction,’’ said Fred DeSanti, a lobbyist who represents the New Jersey Solar Energy Coalition. ‘’These moves were very helpful, but we need statutory relief from the cap.’’

What kind of idiots are these people?

Just months after lavish, over the top praise of the Gov. and the renewable energy law, they now seek legislative relief from it?

But in addition to exposing these cheerleaders as the frauds that they are, there is an important set of policy issues and flawed premises being ignored in the discussion of the cap.

The capital intensive and Wall Street supported off shore wind industry was exempted from the cap. Why?

Here is the language from the law Gov. Murphy signed (P.L. 2018, c. 17) (emphases mine)

Notwithstanding the requirements of this subsection, the board shall ensure that the cost to customers of the Class I renewable energy requirement imposed pursuant to this subsection shall not exceed nine percent of the total paid for electricity by all customers in the State for energy year 2019, energy year 2020, and energy year 2021, respectively, and shall not exceed seven percent of the total paid for electricity by all customers in the State in any energy year thereafter. In calculating the cost to customers of the Class I renewable energy requirement imposed pursuant to this subsection, the board shall not include the costs of the offshore wind energy certificate program established pursuant to paragraph (4) of this subsection. The board shall take any steps necessary to prevent the exceedance of the cap on the cost to customers including, but not limited to, adjusting the Class I renewable energy requirement.

While I oppose any caps (there are several, not just on rate increases), I must ask: Why was the costly and capital intensive, centralized, large scale off shore wind energy technology – a renewable energy with little market competition – exempted from the cost cap, while the labor intensive, decentralized, small scale, and far more competitive solar technology was not?

Could it be that the Wall Street greedsters and corporate wind developers had a leg up with former Wall Streeter Gov. Murphy?

Could it be that wind industry and the gas industry have teamed up and are stealth financing and locking us into a centralized and fossil reliant energy infrastrucure (as I wrote recently)? (a suspicion reinforced by recent talk of PSEG forming corporate partnerships and investments with wind developer Orsted).

These are just some of the issues that need to be investigated and hard questions asked about.

But don’t expect any of that from the Trenton Cheerleaders, lapdogs and stenographers.

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How Not To Defend Scientific Integrity

November 26th, 2019 No comments

Brennan Center Co-Chair Christie Whitman Makes A Mockery Of Scientific Integrity

Christie Whitman testifies before the House Judiciary Committee to defend her post 9/11 EPA actions and remarks.

Christie Whitman testifies before the House Judiciary Committee to defend her post 9/11 EPA actions and remarks.

I was just reading an important Op-Ed from the Brennan Center – a very fine organization whose work I highly respect – on the Trump administration’s most recent and most egregious attack on science, see:

The Trump administration is proposing a rule that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from relying on research when crafting regulations unless the underlying data is publicly available. This is a problem because the data in studies showing how pollution harms people’s health often includes individuals’ confidential personal information — including medical records that are protected by privacy law. Without access to such data, the EPA would not be able to use the best available science when writing rules to ensure clean air and water.

So far, so good.

But then, in reading the second paragraph, my head exploded upon reading of the highlighted involvement of Christie Whitman:

The proposal is the Trump administration’s latest assault on science-based policymaking, especially when it comes to the environment. Fortunately, a bill gaining bipartisan momentum in Congress would protect objective government research: the Scientific Integrity Act. The measure was just endorsed by the Brennan Center’s bipartisan National Task Force on Rule of Law & Democracy, a group of policy experts and former government officials led by former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman and former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Whitman is not a “policy expert” and certainly has no business leading a group of former government officials on issues regarding scientific integrity.

Whitman’s record as NJ Governor and EPA Administrator on scientific and public health issues makes a mockery of the stated objectives of the Scientific Integrity Act and contradicts the values and principles and mission of the Brennan Center, who authored the Op-Ed.

I fired off the email below to the Brennan Center, and several other people and organizations with knowledge of Whitman’s record. Unfortunately, I don’t have the email of former US EPA Ombudsman Hugh Kaufman, who Whitman directly retaliated against.

Greetings – I recently read of the work of the Brennan Center in reference to an Op-Ed on the proposed “Scientific Integrity Act”, which highlighted the role of Co-Chair Christine Whitman.

As someone with direct personal first hand detailed knowledge of her record on scientific integrity issues, I was appalled.

The role of Ms. Whitman as Co-Chair effects the credibility of your organization – Are you aware of the record of Ms. Whitman as NJ Governor and US EPA Administrator?

That record contradicts and undermines your asserted core values and principles and should effectively disqualify her from credible public service with your organization.

I’ll mention just a few – all of which have been amply documented in the public record, including by an award winning journalistic series “Open For Business” by the Bergen Record regarding Whitman’s policies as NJ Gov.

1. As NJ Governor, Whitman participated in misleading the public about and suppression of science regarding health risks of mercury in freshwater fish. I have direct knowledge of this, including sworn testimony by Assistant Commissioner Richard Sinding, – who wrote the fraudulent memo at the direction of Commission Shinn – in an administrative hearing to support these claims. As a NJ DEP official, I blew the whistle on that and was retaliated against and forced out of the Agency by Whitman’s Attorney General’s Office and DEP Commissioner. The AG initially took the radically flawed legal position that a memorandum to the Gov. from the DEP Commissioner and her hand written notes on a media clip were the Gov.’s “private property” and that my public disclosure of them constituted “theft”.

2. As NJ Gov., Whitman was photographed with NJ State Police conducting an illegal and racist stop and search “frisk” of a black man in Camden NJ. Photo here:

Whitman conducts her notorious “frisk” in Camden with State Police profiling team. Note the broad smile.

Whitman conducts her notorious “frisk” in Camden with State Police profiling team. Note the broad smile.

3. As US EPA Administrator, Whitman lied to the public about the risks of the air in southern Manhattan in the wake of the 9/11 attack. A federal Judge found that Whitman’s behavior “shocked the conscience”. Again, Whitman retaliated against EPA officials who challenged her ethics and decision-making (EPA Ombudsman Hugh Kaufman).

4. Whitman is a paid shill for the nuclear industry.

There is much, much more. For a more comprehensive critique, see the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee transcript of her confirmation hearing for EPA Administrator, specifically the testimony of NJ Chapter of Sierra Club and by Bill Neil, Conservation Director of the NJ Audubon Society.

This is not the kind of record of “public service” that reflects your organization’s values. In fact, it makes a mockery of them.

For additional details, and links to documents, see:

Christie Whitman Did The Same Things She Now Attacks Trump For
http://www.wolfenotes.com/2018/02/christie-whitman-did-the-same-things-she-now-attacks-trump-for/

My bio is here:
http://www.wolfenotes.com/about/

Please separate your organization from Ms. Whitman.

Bill Wolfe

I also should have added that in an interview with a NY Times reporter, Whitman revealed that she didn’t know the difference between the depletion of the ozone layer and global warming. When the reporter gave Whitman the opportunity to correct herself as having misspoken inadvertently, Whitman stubbornly dug in and tried to fabricate a link between ozone depletion and warming.

Her quote in NY Times 12/21/00

“But when asked to discuss her views on the science behind global warming on Tuesday, Governor Whitman responded by citing her doubts about the causes of the hole in the protective ozone layer high in the atmosphere

She was asked: ”Global warming, what is your thought on what the state of science is and what can be done to address it?”

Mrs. Whitman said: ”Still somewhat uncertain. Clearly there’s a hole in the ozone, that has been identified. But I saw a study the other day that showed that that was closing. It’s not as clear, the cause and effect, as we would like it to be.”

When some experts on the atmosphere and pollution read a transcript of Mrs. Whitman’s statements, they said the governor had clearly confused two distinct, important global environmental problems: global warming and the ozone hole.

Today, asked to clarify her views, the governor said she might have misunderstood the question, but added that she did not think the two issues were ”not interrelated.”

”In both of those instances, I’m not sure that there’s a scientific consensus on how to deal with them,” Governor Whitman said today. ”There seems to be good enough evidence that both are occurring. But I am not aware of a uniformly agreed to scientific response, on either the causes or the solutions here.”

She just makes shit up to mask her ignorance.

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Gas And Pipeline Industries Link Transition To Renewables To Increased Reliance On Fossil Gas

November 22nd, 2019 No comments

Poor Issue Framing, Corporate PR, and Narrow Focus On Renewable Capacity Plays Right Into Their Hands

Source: advertisement today in NJ Spotlight

Source: advertisement today in NJ Spotlight

The press was protected [by the Constitution] so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. ~~~ Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Concurring in New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971). (WiKi)

In a recent post, I wrote that Gov. Murphy’s energy and climate policies and 100% renewable energy transition – if actually implemented -were existential threats to the fossil gas and pipeline industries and would radically reduce the demand for gas. I accused South Jersey Gas of misleading investors, regulators, and the public, including by presenting unrealistic rosy scenarios about projected increases in demand for gas and associated corporate revenues and profits.

Not surprisingly, those industries disagree.

Check it out. These troubling claims are from a PennEast pipeline add today posted at revenue hungry NJ Spotlight:

Renewables are an important component of a diverse energy supply, but natural gas is needed to supply on-demand, clean back-up power to the electric grid when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. …

While natural gas-fired capacity increases, renewable sources also will increase. As renewable power grows, natural gas is uniquely suited to serve as its foundation fuel. As there are varying amounts of sun and wind, based on the season and time of day, solar and wind power requires natural gas and other traditional fuels on standby as part of a reliable backup system. (For every kilowatt of renewable electricity, there must be a kilowatt of back-up.)

Linking fossil to renewables – to paraphrase my grandfather – takes big balls.

If they spin like this publicly, can you imagine what their lobbyists are saying to legislators and the Governor behind closed doors?

But PennEast’s claims are not only “game over for the climate”, they are plausible and politically realistic, particularly given the corrupt influence of the energy industry on State policymakers and the parallel need for those policy makers to defend their corrupt decisions with some plausible rationale and talking points that are so clearly and simply set out by PennEast.

That makes these PennEast arguments doubly dangerous, especially because they are going virtually un-rebutted by climate and environmental activists and media.

Unfortunately, many of the environmental cheerleaders for wind are playing right into their hands by focusing almost exclusively on increases in capacity of wind and solar, without making parallel demands by linking the transition to renewable to a radical restructuring of: 1) the electric grid 2) the current regulatory framework; 3) private corporate ownership and Wall Street investor control; 4) regulatory mandates that there is a 1-1 replacement of new renewables capacity for existing fossil a phase out timetable for existing fossil; and 5) a radical downward revision in economic growth expectations and our grossly unjust economy and unhealthy consumer and materialistic lifestyles.

It is beyond the scope of this note to lay this all out, but the simple points that must be linked and made part of the transition and renewable discussion are: 1) micro-grids and local distributed energy; 2) elimination of PJM control and the current BPU market driven energy deregulatory model which defends incumbent fossil generators and puts industry profits before the planet and needs of the people; 3) public ownership and democratic control; and 4) regulatory mandates to require renewables and phase out fossil, not just the current suite of voluntary market driven measures, incentives, and subsidies.

Public ownership is not a utopian or radical idea, it’s happening right now in California, which of course is a fact – just like the California nuclear phase out – that you will never read at NJ Spotlight, see:

Blocked by an effective energy industry political veto, even mainstream modest incremental reform policy options available under current law are being totally ignored in NJ, like putting a price on carbon to reflect climate impacts (aka “social cost of carbon” – a non-regulatory market based tool I do not support – e.g. see Exxon’s version of a carbon tax) are being discussed in New York:

NYISO’s Carbon Pricing Proposal: The Essence

NYISO’s proposal would incorporate a carbon price in the NYISO- administered wholesale energy markets, in dollars per ton of CO2emissions resulting from power plant operations. The carbon price would be based on the social cost of carbon emissions, established by New York State officials. …

The carbon charge would provide incentives to suppliers of power with low or no carbon emissions, including for innovative low- carbon technologies that may not yet be developed or be commercial in wholesale markets that do not provide compensation for the value those resources provide. Imports of power into New York would have a carbon adder, thus discouraging leakage of CO2emissions into neighboring regions.

Note comparison of SCC with RGGI - Source: NYISO Carbon Price Proposal (12/7/18)

Note comparison of SCC with RGGI – Source: NYISO Carbon Price Proposal (12/7/18)

While we desperately need to reframe and broaden the discussion, we won’t get any of those arguments from corporate PR firms that the electric vehicle, wind, and anti-PennEast pipeline activists are relying on (see their private individual, voluntary, consumption reinforcing, “stronger”, pro-corporate  elite, market based, consumer “choice” framing that IGNORES THE CLIMATE CRISIS):

Screen Shot 2019-11-22 at 9.04.12 AM

Bernie Sanders’ Green New Deal Climate Crisis Plan establishes the national policy framework.

See Dave Roberts’ recent superb over-view of these issues:

And Chris Hedges lays out the activist and political strategy, see:

Have at it, but ignore the PennEast arguments and talking points at your peril.

[End Note: It is remarkable that NJ Spotlight continues to accept misleading and false by omission fossil energy advertisements.

Do they need the money that bad? Have they no journalistic standards?

As I’ve written, has no one learned from the NY State lawsuit against Exxon for lying about climate crisis?

After four years of legal sparring and finger-pointing, oil-industry giant Exxon Mobil went to court on Tuesday to face charges that the company lied to shareholders and to the public about the costs and consequences of climate change.

The case turns on the claim that Exxon kept a secret set of financial books that seriously underestimated the costs of potential climate change regulation while claiming publicly that it was taking such factors into account. It follows a sprawling investigation that included millions of pages of documents and allegations of a chief executive’s secret email account.

Did the NY Times contribute to these lies by giving the oil industry a quarter of the Op-Ed page to spew those lies?

Did the NY Times contribute to these lies by failing to report the science in a way that directly confronted and exposed the lies that they were allowing to be printed in their own paper? By printing scores of “he said/she said” stories that gave these false claims legitimacy?

Would the NY Times print these lies today?

The questions answer themselves.

So, with this context in mind, I was beyond disgusted yesterday to read “sponsored content” in NJ Spotlight by the same pack of corporate oil and gas industry liars, operating as a dark money propaganda front group purported to protect consumers and families,

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