For Immediate Release
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ -- At its August 1 meeting, the New Brunswick City Council will read a proposed ordinance to create a community renewable energy program, the result of a residents’ petition drive spearheaded by the New Jersey office of Food & Water Watch.
If the Council votes to approve the ordinance later this month, it would become one of the most aggressive clean energy programs in the country, and would reach the crucial 100 percent renewable threshold in 2035, 15 years ahead of the timeline proposed by Governor Phil Murphy.
The petition effort was spearheaded by Food & Water Watch organizers and volunteers, who spent weeks collecting petition signatures supporting an ordinance to create a community energy aggregation program in accordance with state law. The New Brunswick Community Energy Aggregation (NBCEA) program calls for electricity from clean, renewable sources that would begin at 30% in 2020, reaching 50% in 2024 to 100% in 2035.
Organizers delivered the signatures early this month, and on July 23 the City Clerk verified that the petitions were valid. This means the ordinance will be introduced at the August 1 City Council meeting, and will likely be up for a vote at the August 15 meeting. If the Council votes down the proposal, the decision would shift to the voters in the November election.
“Residents of New Brunswick are ready to take action on clean energy and climate change. They know the Trump administration is serving the interests of fossil fuel corporations, so we need to take bold action at the local level,” said Junior Romero, Central Jersey organizer with Food & Water Watch. “The City Council should respect the wishes of their constituents by passing a binding ordinance that gets us off fossil fuels and onto clean renewable electricity by the year 2035. New Brunswick would not only be a model for the rest of the state, it could be a blueprint for the rest of the country.”
The NBCEA program would enable the city to purchase energy at discounted bulk rates, and set guidelines about the sources of that electricity. Cities can do this thanks to the Government Energy Aggregation Act, a state law enabling municipalities to set up their own bulk purchasing arrangements. Legal assistance from the New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center was essential for making this campaign work.
The city has indicated support for the initiative, posting an announcement on its website saying that it “intends to move forward with the planned ordinance to implement more renewable energy sources to help keep New Brunswick green, clean and sustainable.”