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Christie Full of Wind

Date : Thu, 15 Nov 2012 16:05:56 -0500

For Immediate Release

November 13, 2012

Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100

Christie Full of Wind

Today Governor Christie did not stand with other Governors in support of offshore wind.The national bipartisan group Governors' Wind Energy Coalition called for the extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) that supports wind energy projects.Governor Christie and New Jersey were not on that letter to Congressional leaders.The Coalition has bipartisan support from some of the most conservative Republican Governors in the country including Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, Terry Branstad form Iowa, and Sam Brownback from Kansas.Governor Christie has been dragging his feet and delaying offshore wind in New Jersey, costing our state a share of the 75,000 jobs created in the US in the wind industry. Governor Christie is opposed to the extension of the PTC for wind, even though it has bipartisan support.We are concerned the Governor is opposing the PTC and delaying action on offshore wind to boost his national political profile with big polluters.

"If the Governor really cared about offshore wind and all the jobs it would create in New Jersey he would be part of this Coalition of 28 states with our neighboring states and other Republican Governors.He would have signed this letter and come out in support of the Production Tax Credit.The PTC is important to make wind a reality off our coast and without it, it will be harder for New Jersey to jumpstart these projects," said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.

Jeff continued, "The Governor says he supports wind while he does everything to undermine making wind off our coast a reality.He tries to play it both ways, telling New Jerseyans he supports wind while telling the Koch Brothers and Tea Party types he is doing everything he can to stop wind."

Wind energy is renewable and creates jobs.It is not just jobs in installing wind but also rebuilding the port, building the factories, the jobs in assembling and maintaining the windmills, building the substations and electric connections to serve the windmills, and the American steel that would be used in making the windmills. We are losing jobs in the financial sector and venture capitalism for funding and investing in wind. New Jersey is in the top ten in the nation for venture capital, research and development, and job growth in renewable and clean energy and the Governor's policies could jeopardize that.

"One of the lessons from Hurricane Sandy is that we need power sources along our coast and we need clean renewable energy to deal with sea level rise and climate change. Off shore wind is the most reliable and cost effective form of off shore power and New Jersey needs to pursue policies to facilitate the construction of wind turbines off our coast," said Jeff Tittel."We have the Saudi Arabia of wind off our coast.We can grow our economy and create jobs while protecting our environment."

The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) still has not adopted regulations to make wind off our coast a reality, 15 months after they were required.The Offshore Renewable Energy Credit (OREC) program regulations have still not been released even in draft form.BPU is readopting the current wind rules which are very weak without changes or strengthening them to make it easier to do wind projects.

The Governor has taken monies from the Clean Energy Fund and stopped our participation in RGGI, costing us millions of dollars that could have supported wind projects off our coast.Christie has diverted $63 million of the money New Jersey has received from RGGI for the budget.He diverted $279 million from the Clean Energy Fund this year and $650 million from various clean energy funding mechanisms for the budget while in office.

The Attorney General's office is dragging its feet on the wind rules, delaying needed language to ensure money that should go to wind projects could not be diverted to close budget gaps.

The Governor's inaction is stopping projects that have federal approvals from moving forward.Fisherman's Energy has received federal approval but no state support or approval from the BPU for their small project off the coast of Atlantic City.The Governor claimed the federal government was holding up offshore wind but now we see that is not the case.Projects and the jobs they create will move to other states that are doing more to advance their offshore wind programs.

It took nine years for Cape Wind to get approvals and although they have proposed fast tracking it has not been implemented yet.New Jersey should be proposing similar incentives to move our state towards a clean energy economy to create jobs and keep energy money within New Jersey.

"The Governor says he supports wind while doing nothing to advance wind.It seems to have become part of his overall plan to go after clean energy along with pulling out of RGGI, lowering our renewable goals in the Energy Master Plan and diverting clean energy monies while subsidizing fossil fuel power lines and power plants," said Jeff Tittel.

Last year BOEMRE received proposals for close to 12,500 MW of wind off our coasts, three times the goal in the original Energy Master Plan (EMP).If half of these projects happen, that would be 40% of New Jersey's energy produced by off-shore wind.That does not include solar, geothermal or any other renewables.

"We need to make wind a reality off our coast.We only have two choices for our future: more coal and offshore oil or offshore wind. Wind is the right choice for more job growth, a healthy environment, and less dependence on polluting fossil fuels," said Jeff Tittel.

Governors' Wind Energy Coalition Release: http://www.governorswindenergycoalition.org/?p=3888

-- 
Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
609-656-7612
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Received on 2012-11-15 13:05:56

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