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Gov. Murphy Admits That His Climate Executive Orders Are Toothless

Murphy Climate Policy Relies On “Market Mechanisms” – Subsidies And Incentives

Another Round Of Aspirational Goals

“No one is going to be forced to do anything, in any way.” ~~~ NJ Gov. Murphy on his climate goals and policies (Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/15/23)

Gov. Murphy just said the quiet part out loud. Political leaders are not supposed to admit that they are just engaging in symbolic gestures and empty platitudes instead of governing. He sounded like Joe Biden, pledging to Wall Street that “nothing would fundamentally change”.

(I should probably change the headline, which was written based on the text of the EO and before I read the Philadelphia Inquirer story quote. Gov. Murphy not only admitted his EO was toothless, he bragged about it! Murphy is terrified of the right wing “meme machine” – I suspect that the same cowardice is what led to him approve the Black Bear Hunt and withdraw DEP’s proposed boiler replacement rule proposal.)

Gov. Murphy again issued another round of highly spun Executive Orders on climate today.

The Governor keeps moving the goalposts – but he lacks a kicker, a holder, a snapper, and an offensive line to block, so there is no way he makes the last minute field goal to win the game.

The Gov. again used the same zero credibility environmental cheerleaders in another self congratulatory over the top press release.

My first reaction was: “I can’t believe he did it again!”

[Update – again exposing the fraudulent faux green cheerleaders, my friend Jeff Tittel nails it: (Philly Inquirer story

And Jeff Tittel, a longtime environmental activist, said the governor did not appear to have “any new program or funding mechanisms to get it done.”

“Executive orders without implementation are hallucinations,” Tittel said. ~~~ end update]

This time around, I won’t waste any effort reminding readers that a Governor’s Executive Order is toothless.

The Gov.’s Executive Order #315 did that for me – read it and weep: (emphasis mine):

3. Nothing in this Order shall be construed to confer any legal rights or additional limitations upon entities whose activities are regulated by State entities; nothing shall be construed to create a private right of action on behalf of any such regulated entities or other persons; and nothing shall be used as a basis for legal challenges to rules, approvals, permits, licenses, or other action or inaction by a State entity. Nothing in this Order shall be construed to supersede any federal, State, or local law.

4. Nothing in this Order shall be construed to limit the operation of any lawfully existing electric generating unit, or the construction or operation of any proposed electric generating unit, consistent with applicable laws and regulations. Nothing in this Order shall be construed to create any additional limitations on entities whose activities are regulated by State entities.

I stand by my claim last week that Gov. Murphy’s environmental and climate agenda is “flaccid” – and I’ll add another descriptor: “impotent”.

The Gov. also exposed his Neoliberal Wall Street corporate ideology.

The Gov.’s climate policies are “market based”, meaning: lots of corporate subsidies (incentives), but little or no regulatory mandates:

1. It is the policy of the State to advance clean energy market mechanisms and other programs in order to provide for 100 percent of the electricity sold in the State to be derived from clean sources of electricity by January 1, 2035.

Tomorrow morning the electric utilities in NJ could enter into purchase contracts for renewable energy credits from Canadian hydropower and midwestern wind generation.

That would meet the 100% clean energy standard the Gov. set, but it would not reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one pound.

[Update: David Cruz’ story gets it right:shout out to FWW and other real activists:

But outside, members of local and statewide organizations criticized Murphy for a lack of progress on environmental issues. “The governor continues to issue executive orders and make proclamations. He takes to Twitter to tweet about his green credentials but the communities who are facing these fossil fuel projects, they’re not buying the hype. They want real concrete action from this governor to deny these fossil fuel projects,” said Matt Smith, New Jersey state director of Food & Water Watch.

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