Environmental champion releases Earth Day plan for fossil fuel freedom

Senator Raymond J. Lesniak

Senator Raymond Lesniak, whose groundbreaking environmental legislation established the principle of making polluters pay for toxic cleanups and then held industrial property owners to account for spills on their land, has proposed a plan for fossil fuel freedom in New Jersey as part of his campaign for governor.

“New Jersey has the 10th highest energy costs in the nation and is the 16th highest emitter of carbon,” said Lesniak. “Our reliance on fossil fuels is 98.2% costing every homeowner an average of $3000 a year which will continue to grow as fossil fuel plants age and require more investment.”

“NJ’s cost of energy, health care costs from pollution, maintaining a distribution system often disrupted and needing increased expense from storm damage will continue to increase,” said Lesniak.

Lesniak would make NJ Fossil Fuel Free by 2050 with these initiatives:

  • Stop The Pinelands, PennEast and Pilgrim Pipelines. (“Not only will they threaten to contaminate our water supply and disrupt pristine private and public lands, they will commit New Jersey to a future of reliance on fossil fuels and consume billions of investment that should go to solar, wind and energy efficiency,” the senator said.)
  • Create jobs: Engineers, technology developers, solar and wind construction jobs and maintenance and energy efficiency installers.
  • Air Quality and Health: Replacing aging fossil fuel plants with clean solar and wind and lowering demand with energy efficiency will enhance our quality of life and improve productivity with lower sick days and time off from work.
  • Invest in Mass Transit and Require Clean Cars and Clean Trucks: Governor Christie has taken funds away from mass transit. Cars and Trucks produce 41% of greenhouse gases in NJ.

Widely acknowledged as the sponsor of some of America’s most important environmental laws, Lesniak is competing for the Democratic nomination for governor against Wall Street billionaire Philip D. Murphy, whose financial disclosure reports show owns stock in some of the world’s biggest corporate polluters.

Among the companies that paid Murphy stock dividends were Halliburton, the oil giant and government contractor once helmed by former Vice President Dick Cheney, and Monsanto, the maker of deadly chemical pesticides that has resisted biotechnology regulations.

Critics say Murphy’s willingness to profit from polluters makes him unfit to lead the Democratic Party in New Jersey but he has used his wealth to buy up support from most political insiders.  Murphy has offered little more than platitudes describing his vision for the environment.

By contrast, Lesniak said the state should:

  • Prioritize Transportation Funds on mass transit projects.
  • Adopt California Low Emissions Vehicle Standards for cars and trucks.
  • Revise NJ’s Energy Master Plan to promote renewable energy. Governor Christie revised it to promote natural gas usage.
  • Rejoin RGGI the multi-state compact that climate change denier Governor Christie pulled out of costing NJ nearly $200 mil. in cap and trade funds for investment in energy efficiency and increasing fossil fuel emissions.

Lesniak noted that Germany, one of the world’s most productive economies, has already achieved fossil fuel freedom and he says, “New Jersey can lead America in the right direction.”

Murphy was the first American diplomat thrown out of Germany since World War II, due to a number of problems he encountered with Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is now known as leader of the free world as a result of President Donald Trump’s lack of qualifications for the role normally assigned to US presidents,


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