Home > Uncategorized > Murphy DEP Adopts Weak Climate Rule For CO2 Power Plant Emissions

Murphy DEP Adopts Weak Climate Rule For CO2 Power Plant Emissions

Public Comments Blasted DEP’s Failure To Seriously Tackle The Climate Emergency

DEP Blames PJM For DEP’s Lax Carbon Standards And No Methane Requirements

DEP Revives Debate About a NJ Exit from PJM Grid

After caving to big oil & business community opposition and abandoning proposed boiler upgrade requirements – a positive but very small first step in a necessary building electrification program – on Monday, the Murphy DEP quietly adopted proposed new rules on carbon dioxide emissions from a small set of large power plants.

There was no spun press release touting the DEP’s “historic” achievement on this one.

From what I can tell, the NJ press corps – and especially the self described leading energy and climate policy journalistic outfit NJ Spotlight  – have not reported the story. I guess it’s not allowed to criticize DEP over at NJ Spotlight (they did a second! puff piece on invasives today) – so I guess we must bring you the bad news.

You see, this story can not be written without exposing the total sham of Gov. Murphy’s climate commitments and Executive Orders, repeated DEP press spin, and the toothless Global Warming Response Act.

We explained why the proposed rule was weak in this post last December 2021:

We won’t repeat that criticism here today, other than to warn of one serious mistake a small NJ media outfit already made regarding the carbon emission standards DEP adopted.

The DEP’s 860 pound emission standard is exactly like Joe Biden’s marijuana pardon – it applies to no one and will have no impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

For today, we’ only post the “highlights” from the DEP’s response to a storm of criticism in the public comments.

Basically, DEP claimed that the PJM grid made them do it – that PJM has a gun to NJ’s head and will not allow NJ to adopt real carbon restrictions on the power sector.

If that claim is true, then it is a strong argument for NJ to leave the PJM grid and establish its own State grid, an issue that was discussed a few years back and abandoned, see:

Here are the critical public comments and DEP’s response that blames PJM – the business community comments also blasted the DEP proposal for having very little impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

(Note: the number after the comment identifies the commenter – see the list of names and numbers at the outset of the document. Read the complete DEP adoption document and response to all public comments. Boldface mine.)

EGU Emission Reductions

133. COMMENT: The rules will achieve only a small percentage of the emission reductions needed to meet the 80×50 and 50×30 goals. (31, 40, 43, 63, 86, 88, 108, 125, 138, 140, 144, 155, 163, 181, and 196)

134. COMMENT: Not only will the rules fail to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals set by the GWRA and the Governor’s 50×30 goal, but the rules are counter-productive to those goals. (7 and 65)

135. COMMENT: The rules will not achieve an 80 percent reduction in the State’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (80×50 goal). (3, 5, 8, 32, 44, 66, 68, 73, 81, 91, 93, 94, 99, 105, 108, 113, 120, 141, 142, 158, 182, and 192)

136. COMMENT: The rules only achieve three percent of the reductions needed to reach the 80×50 goal, and the bulk of those reductions would take place after 2030. (9 and 130)

137. COMMENT: The rules will not achieve a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2006 levels by 2030 (50×30 goal) established by EO 274. (5, 8, 43, 52, 67, 68, 69, 74, 76, 79, 104, 120, 126, 133, 138, 143, 152, 172, 173, and 196)

138. COMMENT: The rules only get three percent of the reductions needed to achieve the 50×30 goal and are mostly backloaded for 2035 and beyond. (3, 32, 34, 64, 66, 73, 91, 94, 99, 104, 105, 142, 147, 174, 182, 191, and 192)

139. COMMENT: The rules will be nowhere near effective enough to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030. (115, 133, 154, and 191)

140. COMMENT: The Department must propose a better rule in order to meet the 50×30 goal set forth in Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders. (52, 62, 64, 74, 100, 121, 125, 130, 162, 164, 172, 174, 183, 188, and 191)

141. COMMENT: The rules do not even mention the 50×30 goal. (3, 32, 34, 66, 68, 73, 91, 94, 99, 105, 108, 112, 113, 125, 142, 147, 182, 184, 192, and 196)

142. COMMENT: The rules will achieve only four percent of the needed emission reductions. (75 and 143)

143. COMMENT: The rules will not achieve the high level of greenhouse gas emission reductions that science indicates is necessary to address the climate change. (5, 10, 65, 66, 67, 74, 86, 107, 138, 167, 172, and 196)

144. COMMENT: The existing New Jersey mandates, per the 2019 New Jersey Energy Master Plan (EMP) Figure 1 Reference 2 curve, do not bring New Jersey anywhere near the target of 100 percent clean electric and 80 percent greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2050. (51 and 119)

145. COMMENT: The rules do not meet or beat the Federal greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. (58, 93, 108, and 135)

146. COMMENT: The Department must strengthen these rules to achieve greater reductions sooner. (9, 40, 93, 98, and 140)

147. COMMENT: The Department should develop rules that will result in net zero emissions from the electric sector by 2035. (81 and 135)

148. COMMENT: The State needs a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to real zero, not net zero, by 2030 or 2035. These rules fail to meet the needed reductions. (37)


… as the Department and other State agencies work together to implement comprehensive policies and rules to transition the State’s electric generation sector to net zero, variables, such as the availability of renewable electric generation in New Jersey and the PJM region, storage capacity, and increased or decreased electricity demand must be considered. Ibid. Reducing emissions from the electric generating sector is a complex process, in part because New Jersey is part of a regional grid. For example, even if the Department implemented an emission limit that 90 percent of the State’s EGUs could not meet, demand for electricity in New Jersey would not change. Consequently, PJM, the regional grid, would be required to supply that demand to avoid compromising the reliability of the grid. Demand would likely be met with either a request from PJM that an in-State EGU(s) continue operating beyond its announced retirement date (“Reliability Must Run” or “RMR”) to maintain reliable operation, or with electricity from out-of-State generation that is likely to have a higher rate of CO2 emissions; either outcome would result in greater carbon emissions. The latter is known as leakage. For this reason, the Department has pursued a measured approach to the emission limits. This approach included consideration of an estimated projection of the PJM CO2 marginal rate (as compared to the proposed emission limits), as well as the proposed timing of new renewable energy sources, such as offshore wind. 53 N.J.R. at 1947. A measured approach is necessary to avoid simply shifting electricity supply from in-State to out-of-State EGUs.

That means that PJM has a gun to our heads and that PJM – not the NJ Legislature, Gov. Murphy, or the BPU and DEP – sets energy and climate policy in NJ.

That means that public comments are meaningless.

And in addition to dictating NJ’s carbon and energy policies, PJM’s “capacity based location” rules impose over $1 billion surcharge annually on NJ consumers, which is far more than the cost of RGGI carbon allowances and more than the allegedly huge subsidies NJ provides to solar you read about constantly in NJ Spotlight coverage – combined! Worse, that billion dollar surcharge goes to corporate profits and stockholder dividends, not investments in the grid or renewable energy, see:

That is not democracy, it’s corporate fascism, folks (few people realize that PJM is a private corporation not a public entity, see:

The whole NJ DEP climate program is a sham, as this rule response to comments document itself proves.

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