PARSIPPANY – Gov. Chris Christie signaled that he was unlikely to join in the defense of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to keep pollution from out-of-state power plants from blowing into New Jersey.
“I don’t like giving EPA any more power than it has already, in general, especially given this administration’s use of power at the EPA, which has been over-reaching and stifling to job growth and business development in this country,” Christie said at a media event today to announce the state’s plans to clean up and preserve the former Greystone Psychiatric Hospital.
“My inclination is not to deal with these things on a blanket basis by giving more power over to the federal government,” he added. ‘I think they have more than enough power as it is.”
Under the EPA Cross State Pollution rule being contested in federal court, 27 states including New Jersey, must install better pollution control equipment. Opponents argue that enforcing the rule could increase electricity prices, leading businesses to lay off more workers.
Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia have joined the Kansas vs. EPA case to defend the rule, which is being challenged by cities, states and power companies from the South and Midwest which rely primarily on coal-generated electricity.
“Today the Governor with his statements is taking the side of the coal industry over New Jersey,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the NJ Sierra Club. “Instead of standing with the people of New Jersey he is siding with the Koch brothers and sacrificing the environment for his national political profile.”
According to the NJ Sierra Club, clean air would mean a healthy economy, as residents of New Jersey could reduce health costs and sick days, and boost the clean energy sector and green jobs. The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and utilities Exelon and PSE&G support joining the motion.
EPA data found New Jersey is home to some of the top 20 smoggiest areas in the country.
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