Former Governors Stress Importance of Electing Green Governor

Posted February 1, 2017

NJ Governor Clean EnergyThe energy and environmental news coming out of Washington has been jarring to say the least. The Trump administration moved quickly to remove all references to climate change on the White House website, replacing them with an America First Energy Plan that emphasizes further investments in fossil fuels. A long-planned CDC conference on climate change was abruptly canceled. And the President issued an executive order to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, and to facilitate expedited review of “priority” infrastructure projects, including pipelines.

That’s why it was so heartening to see two former New Jersey governors cast aside political differences and highlight the importance of ensuring that New Jersey elects a green Governor this November.

The fact that Republican Christie Whitman and Democrat Jim Florio joined together to speak up for protecting New Jersey’s environment made their remarks even more poignant.

The two former rivals (Whitman eked out a win over Florio in the 1993 election) appeared at a press conference held by New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund recently to announce its Green in ’17 campaign. 

If ever an issue should cut across political parties, it’s the need to preserve New Jersey’s air, water, and open space. 

Both former Governors highlighted action to address climate change and advance clean energy as among the most critical issues for the next Governor to address. Governor Florio lamented that nothing has happened in the five years since a state law was passed to promote offshore wind energy,. He also flagged the lack of any real planning to determine whether additional pipelines are needed.

Despite what is going on at the federal level, New Jersey can set an example, as we are ” often looked on as a role model for other states,” said Governor Whitman.

Meanwhile, numerous controversial pipelines are proposed through environmentally sensitive areas of the state to carry natural gas — a dirty fossil fuel. Instead of moving as quickly as possible to clean, homegrown energy like wind and solar, our nation and state are in danger of moving backwards. Supporters call those pipelines a bridge to the clean energy future, but they’re really a detour. Pipelines delay the clean energy future that is closer than you might think — if we simply make the commitment.

This is, of course, a crucial year for New Jersey’s environment. With the governorship and the Legislature up for election, we have a great opportunity — an obligation — to make sure a clean energy future and a safe environment are on the campaign agenda.

That doesn’t just happen magically. It is up to voters to raise issues so candidates have no choice but to respond.

The early actions of the Trump administration highlight the critical importance of voters speaking out for a clean energy future. The role of the states will be more important than ever, and that’s where all of us come in.

Governors Florio and Whitman, thanks for being role models. Now, let’s all dedicate ourselves to speaking out as they did, and making sure the candidates are listening. What’s at stake is the kind of state we leave for our children and grandchildren.

-Tom Gilbert, Campaign Director, ReThink Energy NJ

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