Governor Christie Signs Dirty Energy Bill

Governor Chris Christie signed a new law that blocks all existing hydroelectric power from coming into New Jersey as renewable energy from facilities over 30 megawatts, leaving dirty power like incineration to take its place, according to Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

“The Governor today, sided with incinerator companies and dirty electric power,” said Tittel. “The purpose of this law is to block hydroelectric power from existing projects that are already in place in Pennsylvania from coming on the market in New Jersey. We strongly oppose this legislation because by blocking the hydropower, it will be replaced with dirtier power like incineration.”

The legislation (S2282/A3455) changes the definition of Class II Renewable Energy to include hydropower facility with a greater than three megawatts, but less than 30 megawatts capacity.

“By not allowing this hydropower to come to New Jersey, it means dirtier forms of energy will take its place,” said Tittel. “The companies that would benefit from this bill are the companies that run New Jersey’s four incinerators.”

“The power from hydroelectric in Pennsylvania is cheaper than the power from incinerators. Therefore New Jersey is buying more of the cleaner, cheaper hydroelectric power than the dirtier power from the incinerators,” said Tittel. “We don’t normally support hydroelectric except these dams are already in existence and it’s not like they are damming up a valley.”

“This bill subsidizes incinerators at the expense of our lungs,” said Tittel. “Incinerators give off all different types of toxic chemicals from mercury to lead. Smoke stacks also give off foul smells and pollute the air we breathe. Many incinerators cause health problems are in already overburdened environmental justice areas like Newark, Rahway, Camden, Westville, and Oxford in Warren County.”

“The purpose of this bill is to subsidize incinerators to keep them polluting and prevent cleaner forms of power from coming into the state,” said Tittel. “This bill uses ratepayer money to subsidize Wheelabrator and Covanta at the expense of public health and the environment.”

The measure was sponsored by Upendra Chivukula, a former Democratic assemblyman who Christie appointed as a Commissioner on the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, and by Democratic Senator Bob Smith, chairman of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

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