Governor Murphy’s abrupt decision to delay a series of public hearings linked to the state’s Energy Master Plan update is another sign that the administration is not making sufficient progress in addressing the climate crisis.
The relevant statute requires that the master plan be “revised and updated at least once every three years.” The current plan was published in January 2020.
What’s more, the state is already failing to meet targets established in the current plan. A report from the energy research firm RMI detailed the areas where New Jersey is falling short of the goals set forth in the Global Warming Response Act, the strategies outlined in the EMP, and Governor’s Murphy’s own executive orders on climate. The report projects that the state will not meet the interim 2030 targets in every area.
At the bare minimum, the administration’s self-imposed delay should require a pause on new fossil fuel permits. While the Murphy administration delayed the EMP hearings, it decided to move forward with final public hearings on a plan to build a massive new gas-fired power plant in Woodbridge.
Food & Water Watch New Jersey State Director Matt Smith released the following statement:
“Governor Murphy’s climate actions have never matched his rhetoric, so it is not surprising to see his administration suddenly decide to delay the required updates to the Energy Master Plan. It speaks to a total lack of urgency on the part of the Murphy administration in dealing with the most pressing threat to our state, and to the planet itself. New Jersey is already far behind on meeting our climate and clean energy goals, and moving slower is not going to get us any closer.
“While the state delays its Energy Master Plan update, it is absolutely essential that the Murphy administration refrain from permitting any new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, including a new methane gas power plant proposed in Woodbridge, and two major methane gas pipeline expansions, the Williams REAE and Tennessee Gas E300 projects. The administration’s own analysis shows that New Jersey doesn’t need any more pipelines, and the Woodbridge power plant would sell its electricity to New York. These dirty, dangerous and unnecessary fossil fuel projects would only put the state’s climate goals further out of reach. If the Murphy administration approves these new sources of pollution, then it would be clear that this delay was nothing more than a cover for continuing business as usual.”