Another Example of Gov. Christie’s National Political Ambitions
Despite horrible record, Christie DEP had the audacity to take credit for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Tom Johnson has a great story running today on NJ Spotlight about the Christie DEP’s comments on the Obama EPA’s proposed rule on greenhouse gas emissions reduction from existing power plants, see:
The state Department of Environmental Protection is opposing the Obama administration’s proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, calling the draft rule fundamentally flawed.
In a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, the state described the draft rules as “incomplete, needlessly complex, and impossible to implement,’’ according to a letter from DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. The state agency said the proposal could not be redeemed through mere revisions and ought to be scrapped.
Ironically, the story comes just one day after news reports of EPA’s $500,000 grant to NJ for climate change research, see:
My guess is that EPA Region 2 Administrator Enck and Bergen Record reporter Jim O’Neill are both feeling pretty embarrassed right now – Gov. Christie’s DEP just told EPA to pound sand the day after they were on a very different page.
But thankfully, Tom Johnson did not buy the Christie DEP spin and held them accountable to a terrible record on climate:
Nevertheless, the state still has a long way to go to achieve an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, a target set by a law passed by the Legislature under the Corzine administration. To reach that goal, the state identified three primary programs for reducing emissions: the state’s new Energy Master Plan; a program to promote cleaner-running vehicles in New Jersey; and participation in a regional initiative to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants.
The Christie administration pulled out of the regional initiative, and efforts to promote cleaner and zero-emission vehicles have been spotty at best. As for the Energy Master Plan, some of its initiatives to produce cleaner electricity are stuck in neutral, particularly a plan to promote offshore wind along the coast of New Jersey.
Tom could have mentioned a lot more, like diverting over $1 billion in Clean Energy Fund to pay for corporate tax cuts and using the Energy Master Plan to reduce efficiency and renewable energy goals, and promote new fossil plants and pipeline infrastructure.
Despite this horrible record, the Christie DEP had the audacity to take credit for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33%:
In New Jersey, the Christie administration argues it is ahead of the proposed reductions the EPA is calling for, saying it has cut carbon dioxide emissions — a primary component of global warming — by 33 percent, more than the 30 percent target the federal agency has set as the 2030 goal for the entire nation.
The Christie administration has done NOTHING to reduce GHG emissions.
The alleged 33% reduction is as result of economic recession; fuel switching to natural gas (with questionable assumptions about lifecycle GHG emissions from gas); and efficiency and renewable energy plans and programs put in place BEFORE the Christie Administration started dismantling all climate initiatives and promoting fossil energy in the new Energy Master Plan.
If anything, the Obama EPA rule sets the bar far to low on emissions reductions and it gives states far too much power and control in the design and implementation of the emissions reduction program.
The 40+ year history of the Clean Air Act SIP process demonstrates that State’s rarely if ever make timely and sincere efforts.
As I’ve written, the SIP process is technocratic, captured by polluters, and actively hostile to the activism required to make real deep emissions cuts and accelerate the change to a low carbon economy.
And politically, Jeff Tittel gets it right – this is another example in a growing list, where Gov. Christie is appeasing corporate campaign funders and putting his national political ambitions above good public policy and the best interests of NJ.