Daggett Unveils Energy Policy, Opposes Linden “Clean Coal” Project

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TRENTON— Chris Daggett, independent candidate for Governor, said last week the state should oppose efforts to build offshore liquefied natural gas terminals off the Jersey coast, saying the projects would increase greenhouse gas emissions and foster more dependence on foreign fossil fuels.

“If New Jersey is going to get serious about dealing with global warming, we need to shift our focus away from reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change and focus our energy on developing cleaner forms of energy and ways to reduce energy consumption,’’ Daggett said. “I see no compelling reason why any of these projects should move forward.’’

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Daggett, a former environmental commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, also announced opposition to a proposed new clean coal power plant to be built in densely populated Linden. The $5 billion, 750-megawatt power plant proposes to capture and bury millions of tons of carbon dioxide beneath the Atlantic Ocean floor over 100 miles offshore. His stance drew praise from energy advocates.

“We need real, 21st century energy solutions like wind and solar. We don’t need more dirty coal plants in NJ,” said Matt Elliott, Environment New Jersey’s global warming and clean energy advocate.  “In this day and age, opposing new coal plants should be a no-brainer. We applaud Chris Daggett for siding with science and the environment and taking a firm stance against this new coal plant for New Jersey.  I’m baffled as to why the other two candidates for governor haven’t made up their minds on dirty coal.”

Gov. Jon Corzine supports offshore LNG projects that meet state environmental standards, spokesman Robert Corrales said. He said the administration hasn’t received an application for the Linden project and would need more information to assess it. Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie has not taken a public position on either proposal

In releasing his energy policy, Daggett noted the state has reached an unusual consensus among policymakers, environmental advocates and industry officials about the urgency of moving energy policy in New Jersey in a new direction—one that emphasizes energy conservation and the use of cleaner and renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind power.

“The challenge for New Jersey now is to implement the Energy Master Plan in a timely manner. Too often in the past, state officials have ignored directives in past plans, failing to target limited state resources to where they best can achieve their goals,’’ he said.

Daggett’s energy policy places the highest priority on reducing energy consumption and developing a coordinated approach to promoting alternative energy sources which will help the state achieve aggressive targets for greenhouse gas reductions. His plan calls for New Jersey to take a leadership role in cooperation with other states in developing the technology and infrastructure to expand the use of electric cars.

More than 85 percent of New Jersey’s greenhouse gas emissions are due to combustion of fossil fuels for energy. New Jersey has established very aggressive goals to reduce greenhouse gas emission levels, including setting a target of 80 percent reduction by 2050.

There are three major LNG projects proposed in the waters off New Jersey and New York, all of which involve tapping natural gas resources from overseas, requiring supplies to be shipped long distances to the proposed offshore sites. Daggett noted there is a glut of natural gas supplies in storage domestically, which raises serious doubts about the economic viability of the offshore projects.

“With extraction effort and overseas transport, these projects would add significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, there are no assurances that these terminals will not end up being used to export our abundant supplies rather than import unneeded natural gas,” Daggett said.

New Jersey also must begin increasing its investment in higher education and the new green economy to ensure we have the workforce needed to compete and lure green businesses to New Jersey to grow the economy, Daggett said. He also said the state should focus its investments on developing the storage technology necessary to make renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power as reliable as conventional energy power supplies.

Daggett’s energy policy follows on the heels of other issue papers he has released, spelling out to voters where the independent stands on the key issues facing voters this fall: education, the environment and the economy.


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