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More Hot Air Instead of Clean Air

Date : Wed, 11 Apr 2012 14:47:32 -0400

For Immediate Release
April 11, 2012 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

*More Hot Air Instead of Clean Air*

/Sierra Club Statement on Clean Air Council Hearing / Today the New Jersey Clean Air Council will hold their annual public hearing on our state's air quality.While New Jersey continues to suffer from some of the worst air quality in the nation, this year's hearing will focus on transportation and reduction of small emission sources.Governor Christie has undercut public and green transportation efforts and programs to promote transit-orientated growth.He has raised fares on NJ Transit and promotes biofuels and natural gas over renewable energy sources.Improving our air quality would not only help protect our health, but it will save lives because every year people die from asthma and heart attacks from air pollution.We need to work to protect our environment and our health by reducing air pollution in our state.Instead of limiting recommendations to transportation, the Council should be looking at getting New Jersey back into RGGI and promoting renewable energy.

"New Jersey has some of the worst air pollution in the nation and New Jersey's record on clearing the air is hazy at best.We are concerned that some of the advances we have made in cleaning the air will end up in smoke," *said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club*.

*NJ Transit Cuts* Governor Christie's transit policies have caused hikes in NJ Transit fares, while cutting service and maintenance.Transit customers are dissatisfied with the type of service they are getting.The Christie administration has also seen pulled back capital programs to improve services.People have seen major delays and the breakdown of trains and this is a direct result of those policies.We have seen a drop in ridership at a time when energy prices are high and transit is most needed and this comes from Christie's failed policies.Having more dissatisfied transit riders means more people will drive, adding to traffic, pollution, and sprawl.New Jersey has one of the best transit systems in the country and Christie's policies of cutting back transit services and increasing fares are hurting that.

"Every time you raise transit fares and cut transit services you increase air pollution," *said Jeff Tittel*.

*Electric Vehicles* New Jersey needs more policies to promote the use of electric vehicles (EVs).New Jersey has received federal money to plan for electric vehicle charging stations, however the Christie Administration is blocking legislation and programs that would make electric vehicles a reality. Christie's Energy Master Plan does not even deal with transportation let alone electric vehicles. Meanwhile there are about 12 different EVs and plug ins that are entering the market andNew Jersey is completely unprepared for this change in transportation.This hurts not only our air quality but New Jersey's consumers and costs us jobs from building the stations to selling the new vehicles. A package of bills to promote EVs and provide tax credits for electric charging stations in New Jersey is being pushed through, but the Christie Administration and Republican legislators have been actively opposing these bills.This multiple bills address many pieces of updating our infrastructure from requiring owners of newly developed shopping centers to provide electric charging stations to requiring charging stations at service areas on the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway.There is also legislation to provide corporate business tax credits and gross income tax deductions for the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charging stations and to businesses or individuals who purchase electric or plug in hybrid vehicles. The administration should be working with the legislature to pass this package of bills to clean up New Jersey's air from toxic vehicle emissions.

*Alternative Fuel Vehicles* A report released last year ranked four New Jersey communities in the top 20 for worse air quality due to smog.Smog is a pollutant that comes from vehicle emissions, but by promoting alternative fueled or electric vehicles we can help reduce smog to improve our air quality. However, Sierra Club strongly opposes the use of ethanol and ethanol fueled vehicles.Ethanol adds to air pollution especially during warm months since the evaporation of ethanol creates ground level ozone and smog.Ethanol only gets three quarters of the same amount of mileage and as you do from gasoline. Even worse is that it takes 8 times more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than a gallon of gasoline. Sierra Club is also opposed to the use of palm oil as it encourages the destruction of rainforest for its production.Some biofuels have potential if they are not from agriculture sources, but rather come from sources such as waste, algae or restaurant cooking oil.

"Ethanol is a giant scam that increases pollution and costs us more money. We are better off investing in mass transit and other programs than in ethanol," *said Jeff Tittel.* Instead the State should be looking into compressed natural gas and propane. The Sierra Club feels these alternatives have potential for fleets and fuel cells. Natural gas and propane can be used to power fuel cells by getting hydrogen from the gas to produce electricity for vehicles. Alternative fueled vehicles are an important part of transitioning to a cleaner, more technological advanced transportation future.

*Land Use Planning and Transportation *

** Last year the Governor eliminated funding for the Transit Village program under Transit Capital Plan.Transit Villages, developments around train and transit stops, encourage people to use mass transit by living or working near transit hubs.Money has also been cut from the Smart Fit Program which helps pay for transportation improvements around transit villages. Instead the administration has doubled the amount of money available for road widening projects in the New Jersey DOT Capital Plan, which will increase vehicle emissions impacting our air. The Governor has also canceled the ARC tunnel which would have helped promote more development around train stations.Instead he used that money to fix bridges and roads. The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has proposed a rule allowing builders to pay less to run sewer, water, and electrical lines out to developments in rural areas.Ratepayers will be left to foot the bill while encouraging more sprawl and greater use of vehicles.Growth in these rural areas also creates demand on the grid as many of these rural areas do not have generation capacity and the longer transmission lines are a drain on the grid. have.

"Sprawl increases air pollution.The further you travel to work, the more energy you waste and more pollution you create," *said Jeff Tittel*.

*Trip Reduction Programs * New Jersey has failed to implement any real trip reduction programs, even though we were supposed to do so over 20 years ago.These programs help workers reduce drive-alone commutes, alleviating traffic and air pollution and saving commuters money.Programs have been successful in other states.Companies can charge a small fee for parking to subsidize carpooling and vanpooling for employees.There are programs like "cash out parking" where office park developers get additional building densities in exchange for paying for trip reduction programs.An additional benefit is not having to spend money on widening roads. Off peak commuting programs can also be implemented where employers allow employees to work outside the 9-5 timeframe.Governor Christie has eliminated off peak pricing as part of the NJ Transit cuts.

*Healthy Ports and Clean Diesel Transportation*

** The Christie Administration has not moved forward with an Executive Order requiring diesel engines on state projects to be retrofitted to clean diesel. This Administration has exempted diesel engines for off road vehicles and construction sites from having to meet new standards.The DEP should be requiring clean diesel trucks and clean diesel ships to promote healthy ports. Also the Administration has failed to reroute buses and trucks from traveling in the middle of communities especially through schools. Old diesel buses need to be replaced with new technology like compressed natural gas, hybrid electric or fully electric buses as seen in Oregon, Washington State, Chicago, and other places around the country.

*Other Transportation Solutions* There are also other things we can be doing to save energy in the transportation sector including more fuel efficient tires on automobiles and low carbon fuel standards requirements that lower pollution and increase mileage. We are at the beginning of a transportation revolution and need policies that moves us toward this future.**


"Forty percent of our air pollution comes from the transportation sector.Without addressing pollution from transportation we will not be able to clean up our air,"*said Jeff Tittel.*


** More and more information is coming out on how harvesting biomass increases climate change pollution, challenging reliance on this energy in the future.A recent study at the Harvard Forest found that in older growth forests, counter to previous projections, the amount of carbon stored over time increases significantly with age, helping to slow climate change impacts.Carbon capture increases over time as dominant, longer living trees become established.The researchers also projected that carbon storage at sites could be more than doubled if protected from logging activities.When burned for biomass, the wood releases carbon back into the atmosphere.When left to rot in the forest and contribute back to the forest, that carbon is recycled in the ecosystem.

"Studies show that maintaining forests and allowing them to remain in their natural state does a better job at capturing carbon and reducing greenhouse gases.When we remove older trees, especially for biomass, it could take more than 100 years to make up for the additional losses," *said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club*.

** While focusing on transportation and small sources the Council is overlooking some of the most troubling threats to New Jersey's air quality.

*Reducing Waste* Incinerators and landfills are a top air polluter in New Jersey.We need to do more in regards to recycling and waste.We need to pass legislation like the Bottle Bill, which would alleviate the amount of plastic that enters our landfill.The bill places a small deposit on bottles, encouraging individuals to recycle them and get their money refunded. Since 1990 recycling has dropped dramatically in New Jersey. In the early 1990's we recycled over 50% of municipal and household waste and now we are only recycling 37.1%. The less we recycle the more greenhouse gases and air pollution we have from emissions from landfills and emissions from manufacturing new products each time. **

"New Jersey's failure to do more about landfills and recycling like the Bottle Bill will hurt our environment and economy. It costs us more the more we put into landfills and incinerators.By recycling we save money and our planet," *Jeff Tittel said.***

*Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Large Facilities* Ninety eight facilities in New Jersey topped the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s first greenhouse gas emissions inventory listfor large facilities.The biggest culprit was Bergen Electric Generation Facility, followed by ConocoPhillips Bayway Refinery and the Linden Cogeneration Facility.All of New Jersey's large facilities emitted 26,271,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. The biggest polluters were power plants, refineries, incinerators, and landfills. This data emphasizes the need for New Jersey to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants not only for the environment, but for our public health.

"With this information we can now understand how much pollution is coming from incinerators, power plants, refineries, and landfills in New Jersey. This data should be eye opening for the people of New Jersey showing how much pollution is being spewed each year. This also clearly shows why we need comprehensive laws and regulations on greenhouse gases*," said Jeff Tittel. *

*Governor Christie's Policies Hurt Air Quality*

** The policies of the Christie administration are making our air quality problems worse.Governor Christie is undermining our air quality by pulling New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, taking away funding for clean energy programs, and promoting the use of more fossil fuels in his revised Energy Master Plan.Last year, Governor Christie delayed the important clean air Sulfur Rule, which would lower sulfur in heating and fueling oils protecting our environment and the people of New Jersey.Governor Christie however would rather appease the right wing and the polluters instead of looking out for the best interest of New Jersey and our future.

*Pulling Out of RGGI* Governor Christie pulled New Jersey out of RGGI, which is an agreement signed by ten northeast states to cut carbon emissions from electrical generation power plants. The emissions would be cut through a surcharge on carbon pollution from the electrical generation plants as well as mandating a 10% cut in carbon pollution from the plants. If New Jersey stays in RGGI this agreement would help to curb the emissions from the polluting power plants from the EPA list.The first 12 projects in New Jersey funded by RGGI proceeds helped New Jersey businesses generate over 167,000 megawatt hours of clean energy per year -- equal to the amount of energy consumed by 19,600 households per year -- and reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 84,000 metric tons. Also the states involved in RGGI this year are working to do further reduction from electrical generation plants and also expand the program to include incinerators and other polluting plants.

"When the Governor pulled out of RGGI he took side of the Tea Party and polluters instead of New Jersey's environment. RGGI was working by creating jobs and reducing pollution, but instead the Governor gave out more hot air," *Tittel said.*

*Cuts to Clean Energy Programs* Governor Christie has cut clean energy programs that promote the use of renewable energy. He has diverted money from the Clean Energy Fund and has attacked rebates for weatherization and solar programs in our state. Governor Christie has eliminated the Office of Climate Change, took over $400 million in energy funds, and last year he took $63 million dollars of funding from RGGI to balance his budget.

"Diverting the Clean Energy Money to balance the budget not only hurt our environment but our economy as well.The Governor put thousands of jobs at risk in New Jersey since we have 25,000 clean energy and 5,000 jobs in solar alone.What he did was bad for our air and economy, all to please the right wing and polluters at the expense of New Jersey," *Tittel said.*

*Revised Energy Master Plan* The Governor's revised Energy Master Plan gutted New Jersey's renewable energy goals and shifted the focus to increasing our dependence on fossil fuels.The Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard in the 2008 Energy Master Plan was 30% and Governor Christie cut that goal down to 22.5%, jeopardizing funding for renewable energy projects for homeowners and small businesses.The Governor's plan called for more natural gas plants and more pipelines to carry gas produced in the Marcellus Shale to New Jersey.Cornell University has found that gas produced through fracking has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than coal or oil over a 20 year time span.Last year the Governor signed legislation calling for more natural gas plants by establishing rate payer subsidies for the construction of these plants.

"Governor Christie took the side of the fossil fuel industry over renewable energy with his Energy Master Plan. He lowered our renewable energy goals and is trying to move us to the polluting fossil foolishness of the past," *said Jeff Tittel.*

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2012-04-11 11:47:32

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