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What A Difference A State (Law) Makes

NY DEC Denies Air Permits For Proposed New Fossil Gas Plant

NY Climate Law Provides Strong Contrast To Toothless NJ Global Warming Response Act

Although it got no press coverage in NJ, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) just denied air pollution control permits for a proposed new natural gas plant in NY City,  another major victory for NY climate activists, see:

The DEC’s decision provides a model for enforceable State climate laws and State environmental regulatory leadership.

It also exposes major flaws in NJ’s toothless, unenforceable, and aspirational Global Warming Response Act and the total failure of leadership by the Murphy DEP.

You can read the powerful precedent setting NY DEC decision here. 

I strongly encourage you to read the entire decision – and then demand that NJ law be amended to provide the same enforceable standards the NY law does (see below letter as an example of how to do this). Here are 3 excerpts:

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This is how to use a big regulatory stick to implement climate goals. 

There’s lots of talk about goals and timetables. But no one is demanding that those greenhouse gas emission reduction goals be linked to enforceable regulatory authorities (i.e. State permits). If not, they are merely aspirational, or slogans not policy.

The power of State governments to drive greenhouse gas emissions reductions has become even more important, given the US Supreme Court’s intervention and very likely limitation on US EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, see:

(BTW, this is exactly what we predicted:

State laws and regulatory power are what NJ climate activists should be focused on right now, especially with DEP soon to propose climate PACT regulations – NY State again shows exactly how to do it.

Previously, NY DEC paved the way in enforcing the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certificate power to kill proposed gas pipelines. Those precedent setting NY DEC decision also got no coverage in NJ media and were ignored by NJ climate activists.

Maybe what the climate activists need is a State legislative and regulatory policy clearinghouse to provide model state laws, much like the  climate denying corporate right wing benefits from by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and The Federalist Society, among many others.

But the anarchist leaning Left, particularly climate activists, rarely thinks institutionally. They do little legislatively, especially at the State level, and do virtually nothing on regulation.

I wrote the following letter on 10/28/21 to NJ Senate Environment Committee Chairman Bob Smith, for which I’ve received not even the courtesy of a reply telling me to fuck off. Maybe that will change after Senate President Sweeney’s defeat:

Dear Chairman Smith:

The NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) yesterday denied a Title V operating permit for a proposed new natural gas plant.

The regulatory basis for this permit denial was:

“As described further below, and as initially indicated by the Department in the Notice of Complete Application, the Project would be inconsistent with or would interfere with the attainment of the Statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emission limits established in Article 75 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL).”

For the complete DEC decision, see:


I bring this decision to your attention for two reasons:

1) to illustrate major loopholes in NJ’s Global Warming Response Act, as recently amended – compared to NY’s State Climate Act (Article 75) – particularly regarding the lack of enforceable greenhouse emissions reductions requirements in NJ law, on both a Statewide and individual source basis.

I urge you to strengthen NJ’s aspirational and toothless climate law with real regulatory teeth such as those that obtain in NY State law; and

2) to prompt oversight hearings before NJ DEP proposes upcoming Climate PACT regulations, in the hopes that DEP can rely on existing authority under the NJ Air Pollution Control Act to adopt enforceable GHG emissions reduction standards.

I urge your prompt attention to this matter and am available to provide detailed statutory and/or regulatory recommendations to advance such efforts.


Bill Wolfe

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