Commends Senate for Listening to the 93% of New Jerseyans Who Believe Renewable Energy Important to State’s Overall Health
FAR HILLS, NJ (December 17, 2015) – The ReThink Energy NJ campaign applauded the New Jersey Senate on its passage today with broad bipartisan support of a landmark renewable energy bill that will propel New Jersey as a leader in the transition to renewable energy and a sustainable future.
ReThink Energy NJ, launched in October, is a campaign to inform and empower New Jersey citizens on the need for reduced reliance on fossil fuels and pipelines and a swift transition to efficient, clean and renewable energy.
The bipartisan legislation, (S-2444), sponsored by Senators Bob Smith and Christopher “Kip” Bateman would require an increase every five years in the percentage of the state’s energy coming from renewables, such as solar and wind, eventually reaching 80 percent by 2050. Currently, New Jersey has a target of 22.5 percent of energy from renewables by 2020.
Recent polling shows that voters overwhelmingly support the goals of the legislation. A survey of 709 registered voters conducted by FDU Public Mind for New Jersey Conservation Foundation in September found that 78% support the goal of having 80% renewable energy by 2050, including 89% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans.
“The Senate’s passage today of S-2444 is a strong first step for New Jersey in making the shift away from our state’s reliance on polluting fossil fuels like natural gas and echoes the world’s unanimous vote in Paris that it’s time to adopt forward-thinking clean energy policies,” said Tom Gilbert, campaign director for the New Jersey Conversation Foundation and ReThink Energy NJ. “It’s encouraging that the Senate has chosen to hear the 93% of New Jerseyans who believe that investing in clear/renewable energy is important to the state’s overall health. Senators Bateman and Smith are to be commended for their leadership.”
According to a Union of Concerned Scientists study, investing in renewable sources of energy, like solar and wind, will create three times as many jobs as investing the same amount in fossil fuels.
“Our reliance on natural gas in New Jersey presents a serious challenge from an economic and environment standpoint,” added Gilbert. “Our state’s Energy Master Plan (EMP) is moving us in the wrong direction, as it relies too heavily on natural gas and requires costly and damaging long-lived infrastructure projects, such as the numerous new pipelines proposed throughout the state. When state leaders adopt policies, like S2444, we take one step closer to putting New Jersey into a leadership role in clean energy, which will bring cleaner air, more jobs, safer and healthier communities, and a healthy environment to New Jersey.”
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, carbon emissions from New Jersey increased by 14% in 2014, due largely to a 17% increase in emissions from natural gas-fired power plants. In addition, a 2015 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists identified New Jersey as one of 16 states at high risk of over-reliance on natural gas, which is a fossil fuel that emits dangerous greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, which is 84 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon over the first twenty years in the atmosphere.
About ReThink Energy NJ
The ReThink Energy NJ campaign is led by New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association and Pinelands Preservation Alliance. For more information, visit rethinkenergynj.org and find ReThink Energy NJ on Facebook and Twitter @rethinkenergynj.
Campaign Director, NJCF and ReThink Energy NJ