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NJ Gov. Murphy Gives Short Shrift To The Climate Emergency In State of The State Address

Green Masks Are Off In Murphy’s Second Term

Long Delayed Regulatory Measures To Reduce Emissions Are Weak or Non-Existent

As I am a frequent and harsh critic of NJ Spotlight’s favorable coverage of Gov. Murphy’s climate and environmental record, I feel obligated to praise them when they get it right.

NJ Spotlight Editor John McAlpin got it exactly right in his coverage of Gov. Murphy’s State of the State address:

Perhaps the biggest omission was the looming climate crisis. Murphy barely mentioned one of the more difficult issues he tackled during his initial four-year term — transitioning New Jersey’s economy from one overly reliant on fossil fuels to one powered by clean energy.

Notable omission

Murphy acknowledged the state, like the rest of the nation, is “facing an existential crisis of climate change,’’ and touted those who are finding work in the burgeoning green-energy market and at two ports serving the growing offshore-wind sector.

But he failed to mention whether his administration will step up a phase-out of fossil fuels — one of the few areas of dispute with the environmental community, which largely has been a stalwart backer of Murphy’s policies.

The issue is likely to flare again in Murphy’s second term as the administration faces decisions whether to push forward fossil-fuel projects, like a new liquefied natural gas facility in Gibbstown and a new power plant at the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission in Newark. If the state continues adding new fossil-fuel projects, environmentalists warn the state will never achieve its goal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

I’m hopeful that the recent series of bad policy moves on climate – including DEP’s denial of Empower NJ rulemaking petition; DEP’s proposal of weak CO2 power sector, diesel, and port equipment emission rules; and delays on building electrification – coupled with other huge policy failures like the Pinelands Commission appointments; promotion of an economic development plan for the Highlands; abandonment of the State land use Plan; failure to respond to rapidly proliferating warehouse sprawl; and failure to enforce DEP’s new drinking water standards for “forever chemicals” – will prompt more critical media coverage and expose the Gov.’s sycophants in the environmental community for the cheerleaders that they are.

I also suspect that Bill Potter’s wonderful Op-Ed on Gov. Murphy’s record opened some eyes at NJ Spotlight and NJ media circles.

Of course, we’ll take some credit here for what looks like turning the tide as well.

It’s a lot easier politically to shovel billions of dollars of public subsidies to corporations and Wall Street to build wind power to serve growing electric demand, than to actually use State regulatory power to compel corporations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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