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Frankenstorm Coming Towards New Jersey, Christie’s Policies Make Impacts Worse

Date : Fri, 26 Oct 2012 15:06:03 -0400

Policies Make Impacts Worse

For Immediate Release
October 26, 2012 Contact:Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

*Frankenstorm Coming Towards New Jersey, Christie’s Policies Make Impacts Worse* New Jersey is currently preparing for Hurricane Sandy to hit this weekend.This will be the ninth such storm to hit the Garden State in the last three years.Climate disruption will cause severe weather, making storms and other extreme weather events worse. Yet our Governor is rolling back policies that reduce climate change pollution and promote clean energy alternatives.We need to protect our families here in New Jersey from the impacts of climate disruption and sea level rise.Families that will feel the impacts of this weekend’s storm deserve strong action by our leaders to help them recover and to reduce the likelihood and severity of future disasters. Instead Governor Christie is moving New Jersey in the wrong direction when it comes to climate change by pulling us out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and cutting clean energy funding.The Governor’s policies also make flooding worse after events such as the Frankenstorm.Sprawl development and increased impervious cover increase flood impacts downstream and allows for more pollution to enter our waterways following storms, yet DEP and State Strategic Plan policies would allow for more growth in these sensitive areas.The DEP is rolling back regulations on stormwater and flood hazard areas.

"There have been 9 major storms since Christie has been Governor.We have had hurricanes and Halloween snow storms.There have been too many coincidences.You cannot deny that climate disruption is a factor and it is impacting New Jersey," said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club. Climate disruption worsens extreme weather, threatening our families and communities.Scientists agree that climate change can cause rain and snowstorms, drought periods, and wildfires to become more severe.Governor Christie has eliminated the Office of Climate Change in DEP to study these impacts and help develop plans to combat the impacts.

"New Jersey is a coastal state and sees the most severe impacts of these storms.Instead of reducing greenhouse gases and pollution and protecting low lying areas from flooding we are doing the opposite and weakening the protections we currently have in place, otherwise you have to be a conspiracy theorist and blame the Governor," said Jeff Tittel. As we burn dirty fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, large amounts of greenhouse gas pollution such as carbon dioxide and methane are released into the air, increasing average temperatures across the world.Governor Christie has supported and heavily subsidized the construction of three new natural gas plants in New Jersey as well as allowing a number of new major pipeline expansion projects to be approved through environmentally sensitive and densely populated areas.He has also backed the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line which will bring in more coal-fired power from Pennsylvania.Governor Christie refused to join seven other Northeast states and the District of Columbia in supporting the EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule, which would reduce the amount of toxic pollution coal plants to our west can emit. We need clean energy solutions to combat climate disruption and ease the severe consequences of these extreme storms.Instead of moving us toward a clean energy economy, the Governor has pulled us out of RGGI, jeopardizing clean energy funding and green jobs.Governor Christie has taken over $600 million in clean energy funds, and last year he took $63 million dollars of funding from RGGI to balance his budget.The Governor’s revised Energy Master Plan reduces our renewable energy goals from 30% to 22.5% in favor of more fossil fuels, contributing to climate change pollution. The Governor is also not addressing the flood impacts that result from these storms.We are now out of money for the Blue Acres program, which helps move families out of harm’s way. New Jersey continues to promote development in flood prone and wetland areas, which makes the consequences of weather events more extreme and places more people in harm’s way.As a result of Hurricane Irene oil leaks, chromium pollution, toxic waste from chemical plants along rivers, raw sewage, and polluted stormwater runoff entered our waterways.We need to not only limit development but we need development with less pavement and impervious cover and not allow hazardous facilities in flood prone areas. Christie weakened land use tools within the DEP that prevent sprawl in flood prone and wetland areas.His administration has rolled back the stormwater and flood hazard rules, removing key protections like zero net fill and stream buffers, increasing erosion and sedimentation in our waterways.The DEP has proposed a waiver rule that is so vague that virtually any development project can skirt the rules of critical environmental programs.

"Nature may bring the rains but government actions can make floods worse. Instead of weakening protection we should be strengthening them to help protect the people and property of the state of New Jersey" said Jeff Tittel. "In the past storms use to come and go but now they happen all the time.We need to be prepared which means protecting our environment and moving people out of harm’s way."

-- 
Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
609-656-7612
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Received on 2012-10-26 12:06:03

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