Home > Uncategorized > NJ Senate Committee Will Hear A Weak Resolution Urging Gov. Murphy To Impose A Moratorium On Fossil Projects

NJ Senate Committee Will Hear A Weak Resolution Urging Gov. Murphy To Impose A Moratorium On Fossil Projects

Gov. Murphy, the BPU Energy Master Plan, and DEP Commissioner Oppose a Moratorium

Not Realistic For The Legislature To Rely On Executive Power, Given Gov. Murphy’s Record

We Need Legislation With Enforceable Standards Like New York State

yours truly (R) gets in Sweeney’s face in his District (Earth Day, 2005)

yours truly (right) gets in Sweeney’s face in his District (Earth Day, 2005)

Sheriff John Brown always hated me
For what I don’t know
Every time that I plant a seed
He said, “Kill it before it grows”
He said, “Kill it before it grows” ~~~ I Shot The Sheriff, Bob Marley

Just days after I urged legislators to amend NJ climate laws to mandate emissions reductions – including a direct challenge to Chairman Bob Smith –  the Senate Environment Committee today announced that they will consider a non-binding Senate Resolution #17 that would urge Gov. Murphy to impose a moratorium on fossil projects. The Resolution will be heard during the next Committee hearing on Nov. 15, 2021 in Trenton.

There are several technical flaws with the text of the Resolution as drafted.

But the real problem with the Resolution is the overall approach and reliance on Gov. Murphy’s exercise of executive authority to mandate emissions reductions, which is something that he and his administration have refused to do for 4 years and publicly have opposed.

A non-binding Resolution urging the Gov. to act may have been appropriate during Gov. Murphy’s first 100 days. But after 4 years, it is absurd.

We need legislation with enforceable goals, timetables, and standards, like New York State climate law provides.

The last thing we need during this climate emergency – and after 15 years of failed aspirational goals of the Global Warming Response Act, small bore market based programs (RGGI), voluntary programs, subsidies,”nudges”, moral appeals, and incentives – is more symbolic gestures.

The Legislature must step up and and legislate!

We need clear legislative goals, standards, and timetables, based on the most recent (“best available”) science and backed by enforceable DEP regulations. DEP’s discretion to delay and weaken any such legislative standards also must be limited, given their 15 year track record of loopholes, revolving door abuses (current DEP Commissioner LaTourette worked for the Gibbstown, NJ Fortress LNG Export plant), and foot-dragging.

(Unfortunately, I must note that way back in 2004, DEP Commissioner Brad Campbell first established regulatory control over GHG emissions as a regulated “pollutant” under the NJ Air Pollution Control Act. DEP has done nothing with this authority since then.)

I strongly urge climate activists not to fall for and support another failed symbolic gesture. Demand real actions!

So let us stop talkin’ falsely now
The hour’s getting late ~~~ “All Along The Watchtower” Bob Dylan (Hendrix version)

I fired of this letter to the sponsor, Senator Weinberg and Senate Environment Committee Chair and members:

Dear Senator Weinberg:

I just reviewed your Senate Resolution 17, which would urge the Gov. to impose a moratorium on (new? expanded?) fossil projects (just infrastructure, or all major emission sources?), pending adoption of unspecified regulations (and deadlines for adoption) designed to achieve Statewide greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals established by the Global Warming Response Act (for 2050).

The Resolution was posted for hearing by the Senate Environment Committee on 11/15/21.

While I strongly support the legislative findings and intent of this Resolution, and I have several technical concerns with how it is drafted, I can not support the resolution itself for the following reasons and instead suggest an alternative legislative approach:

Gov. Murphy has been urged to impose such a moratorium during virtually his entire first term in Office. Climate activists have launched a public campaign to pressure him to do so.

Yet, not only has the Gov. failed to support such an approach, his administration has actively opposed it multiple times.

For example, his BPU Energy Master Plan does not support such an approach. In fact the EMP justifies huge expansion in electric demand, much of the renewable power will rely on continued operation (and expansion) of fossil infrastructure and generation, some fossil power sources are redefined as renewable or net carbon zero.

His Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection has publicly not only opposed a moratorium, but has touted continued reliance on fossil fuels. DEP has also issued permits to significant capacity in new fossil infrastructure. Many new or expanded fossil infrastructure projects are pending DEP approval, as the Resolution notes, yet the DEP Commissioner has failed to aggressively propose and adopt the long delayed “Climate PACT” regulations that could block these hazardous fossil projects.

Given these unfortunate political, policy, and regulatory realities, it is unrealistic to rely on the Gov.’s executive power and discretion to follow the will of the Legislature and the policy of SR 17.

Instead, the Legislature should craft and pass amendments to the NJ Global Warming Response Act that provide enforceable standards and timetables based on the best available science (which would accelerate the goals of the NJ Global Warming Response Act). Put a bill on his desk and challenge him to veto it!

A few days ago, I urged Chairman Smith to do exactly that, based on the model climate legislation in New York. (for details and links to the NY State legislation, see:


I would be glad to work with you, Chairman Smith, and OLS to craft such legislation.

I urge your favorable consideration and timely reply.

Please consider this as my testimony and submit it into the record on the SR17 for the Senate Environment Committee hearing.


Bill Wolfe

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