Gov. Phil Murphy has a new energy plan that’s intended to fight climate change, but critics say it may have a big impact on your wallet.
Murphy unveiled the state’s “Energy Master Plan” on Monday, outlining key strategies to reach the administration’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
Murphy also signed an executive order directing the state Department of Environmental Protection to make sweeping regulatory reforms to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.
With this executive action, New Jersey is the first state in the nation to pursue a comprehensive and aggressive sweep of climate change regulations, Murphy said.
“New Jersey faces an imminent threat from climate change, from rising seas that threaten our coastline to high asthma rates in some of our most vulnerable communities due to fossil fuel pollution,” said Murphy.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that, under the governor’s proposal, the state would begin to phase out the use of natural gas, lawmakers and business leaders say.
Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement today emphasizing the role of natural gas in meeting the state’s energy needs and making the transition to clean fuels:
“As we make the transition to clean fuels and renewable sources of energy, it is important that we recognize the role of natural gas in meeting the state’s energy needs. Natural gas is an important component of the electric grid, making vital contributions to the reliability and affordability of energy for residents and businesses in New Jersey.
“Right now, 50 percent of electric generation in New Jersey is powered by natural gas, which has displaced coal and other dirtier and more costly fuels, and 75 percent of our homes are heated by natural gas. On average, households that use natural gas for heating, cooking, and clothes drying save $875 annually.
“The Energy Master Plan, which has the laudable goal of working towards a new era of clean energy, will impose a reduction in the availability of natural gas that is inconsistent with consumer preference, will increase costs and jeopardize the resiliency and reliability of our current energy systems. That is a price we should not be forced to pay.
The bottom line is, New Jersey residents want to be cooking with gas — according to the results of a poll that were issued recently by the Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative 825. And the organization made it clear it supports voters’ stance.
With anticipation growing for the state’s finalized Energy Master Plan, ELEC825 this week released the results of a statewide poll conducted recently and based on the draft plan issued by the Board of Public Utilities in June.
The biggest issue appears to be state mandates included in the draft EMP, including a potential blocking of the use of natural gas in homes and businesses. A vast majority of respondents, 67%, disapproved of such a requirement.
“Our polling shows one clear and undeniable fact — New Jersey residents want clean, affordable and reliable natural gas,” Greg Lalevee, the business manager for IUOE Local 825 and chairman of ELEC825, said in a prepared statement. “If next week’s Energy Master Plan includes a moratorium or complete phase-out of natural gas, it will be at complete odds with the voters of New Jersey.”
When asked if they could support a ban on natural gas if it were coupled with an “environmentally friendly” electric power requirement, the gap narrowed a bit, but a majority — 55% — continued to oppose such a ban.
More than 80% of respondents, in fact, had a favorable view of natural gas as a power source, with 82% saying they had a favorable opinion of gas, and 85% saying they support its use in energy generation.