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Environmentalists Urge Bolder, Cleaner Energy Plan

Date : Wed, 09 Jul 2008 13:47:01 -0400

For Immediate Release: Contact: Matt Elliott,
Environment NJ (908) 217-2496 July 9, 2008 Jeff Tittel, Sierra Club (609) 656-7612 David Pringle, NJEF (732) 996-4288; Kim Gaddy, No. Jersey Envl. Justice Alliance, 973-704-4312

PRESS RELEASE

Environmentalists Urge Bolder, Cleaner Energy Plan Public can weigh in on Gov’s Plan Tomorrow at 1st of 3 Public Hearings

Trenton, NJ – New Jersey’s largest environmental and environmental justice groups today called on Governor Corzine to improve his draft Energy Master Plan (EMP) by including more ambitious goals for renewable energy and energy efficiency. They also urged the public to promote clean energy and combat global warming the day before the EMP’s first public hearing.

“This is a New Jersey’s chance to lead the nation toward a clean energy future,” stated Matt Elliott, Global Warming and Clean Energy Advocate at Environment New Jersey. “The decisions we make today will impact our ability to tackle global warming for decades to come.”

The groups called on the governor to place greater emphasis on promoting renewable energy in the state, and supported a goal of generating enough renewable electricity to power roughly 1.8 million NJ households by 2020. In addition, they encouraged the governor to set a goal of generating 40% of the state’s electricity needs from renewable sources by 2025.

“New Jersey has tremendous renewable energy resources,” said Jeff Tittel of Sierra Club – NJ Chapter. “We have the technologies at our fingertips, and need a bold plan from the Governor to maximize our potential. Without that, the Global Warming Response Act is just more hot air.”

Corzine released the draft EMP in April. While it included plans for clean energy, a coalition of environmental groups and businesses criticized the plan for falling short on clean energy and endorsing new power plant construction. Today the groups released (details attached) a platform of changes to the plan to promote clean energy and combat global warming.

“This is our last, best chance to break our dependence on foreign oil and dirty, dangerous domestic energy sources,” added David Pringle of the NJ Environmental Federation. “By curbing our energy demand below today’s levels, and rapidly expanding clean renewables, we can improve public health, combat global warming, and improve national security.”

In addition to expanding the state’s clean energy goals, the groups called on the governor to

* reduce emissions from cars and trucks and commercial and residential water and space heaters.

* meet the state’s energy needs without building new coal or nuclear power plants,

* clean up or phase out the its existing coal and nuclear fleet, e.g., the Oyster Creek, the nation’s oldest nuclear power plant, should retire on schedule in 2009;

* increase energy efficiency standards for appliances, new construction, and major renovations.

“As the mother of 3 asthmatic children in Newark, I know how important air quality is to our future,” concluded Kim Gaddy of the North Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance. “If Governor Corzine believes in environmental justice, he will strengthen his energy plan.”

The public comment period on the EMP closes July 25th. Corzine will hold 3 public hearings before the plan is finalized: in Newark on July 10th at 9:30am, in Trenton on July 15th at 9:30am, and at Rowan Univ. on July 17th at 2pm and into the evening. For details go to www.nj.gov/emp.

-- end --

Environment New Jersey * NJ Sierra Club * NJ Environmental Federation North Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance South Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance

The Draft Energy Master Plan needs to be strengthened in the following ways:

1. Greater emphasis on reducing energy demand below today’s levels through energy efficiency. The state’s first priority must be to promote energy efficiency as aggressively as possible to reduce overall state-wide energy demand. Energy efficiency is the cheapest and fastest strategy available to meet the state’s global warming reduction goals. At minimum, we should exceed the state’s goal of a 20% reduction of projected demand by 2020. To that end, the state should:

* Adopt aggressive efficiency standards for appliances that promote state of the art technologies to cut energy use, and should update standards as technologies improve. * Adopt strong green building construction codes for new construction, redevelopment and major renovations. * Continue and expand the energy efficiency rebate program within the Board of Public Utilities and should target the most cost effective efficiency strategies to promote efficiency among businesses and residents. * Set a strong standard for utilities to work with customers to achieve additional reductions in energy demand, and require that such programs are fair and cost-effective for ratepayers. * Require that government at all levels set a strong example by achieving greater energy reductions than the state as a whole. * Expand combined heat and power.

2. Greater emphasis on building a sustainable electricity supply by maximizing the state’s renewable energy potential. In addition to curbing demand, the state should maximize renewable energy potential by setting strong and visionary goals for renewable energy adopting renewable technologies as swiftly as possible.

To expand the state’s renewable energy generation, the state should:

* Meet the state’s original goal of generating 22,500GWh of electricity from clean, renewable energy by 2020. * Set a 2025 renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires that 40% of the state’s electricity demand be generated by renewable technologies, including wind, solar, wave, micro-hydro, and geothermal. * Use funds generated by the existing societal benefits charge to actively promote research and development of new renewable technologies. * Provide incentives to grow the in-state renewable industry and create thousands of green collar jobs. * Support national proposals to transition to large-scale renewable energy projects, such as concentrated solar arrays and wind farms, to reduce the state's importation of dirty coal-generated electricity.

3. Address energy use and emissions from the transportation sector. Transportation emissions account for roughly half of New Jersey’s greenhouse gas emissions. While the energy master plan does not address transportation, significant advances in this sector must be made by 2020 to meet the state’s long-term global warming goals.

The state should:

* Set goals to electrify transportation. * Promote low carbon fuels that are efficient to process and do not interfere with food supplies. * Employ strategies to reduce vehicle miles traveled. * Reduce plans for highway expansions. * Support an expansion of public transportation. * Transition the state’s fleet of vehicles to more efficient alternatives. * Champion stronger, more comprehensive CAFE standards by being an advocate at the federal level.

4. Begin a transition toward sustainable space and water heating. Heating accounts for a significant portion of New Jersey’s greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce emissions from, and increase the sustainability of this sector, the state should begin to adopt programs to:

* Promote sustainable biofuels to replace fossil heating fuels. * Promote passive solar, water pumps, and other renewables for both space and water heating. * Electrify heating where possible.

5. Clean up or retire the state’s oldest, dirtiest, and most dangerous power plants and commit to building no new traditional power plants. Strong programs and policies to significantly reduce energy demand while expanding clean generation will eliminate the need to build new traditional power plants. Resources can be diverted to assessing the state’s existing fleet and minimizing plants’ environmental and public health and safety impacts.

The state should:

* Ban any new diesel or coal-fired power plants. Such plants are the dirtiest in the state, and will hamper the state’s ability to meet the mandated greenhouse gas reduction levels.

* Retire Oyster Creek nuclear power plant.

* Oppose construction of new nuclear power plants in New Jersey.

6. Ensure long-term success. To meet the state’s ambitious 2050 global warming reduction goals, the energy master plan must be as bold and as visionary as possible. The progress that the state realizes over the next decade will influence the ability to meet the 2050 goals. The state should set strong benchmarks, ensure frequent review and updates, and demonstrate measurable yearly progress toward the goals outlined in the energy master plan.

Becca Glenn, Program Assistant New Jersey Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618

609-656-7612: phone

609-656-7618: fax

Received on 2008-07-09 13:53:14

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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