One of the first acts our new governor should take is to put New Jersey back on a plan toward clean energy. NJ has fallen behind other states when it comes to clean energy and clean energy jobs. A few years ago, we were second in the nation for solar installations, now we are seventh. We have dropped from 11,000 jobs in solar down to 6,000 under the Christie administration. Transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2050 would create 86,000 construction jobs and 58,000 operations jobs just for the renewable energy facilities. These jobs are enough to re-train workers in the 54,000 jobs in the conventional energy sector and still have more than 90,000 new jobs.
My district is one of the largest and most rural areas in New Jersey. We take pride in preserving our open space, clean water, and clean air. It is our responsibility. With substantial cuts to the federal EPA, NJ’s state legislators are the last line of defense to ensure NJ’s energy needs are met while protecting our environment.
Energy at the expense of pollution has already hurt NJ families in Warren and Hunterdon counties where low birth-weight babies (under 3.3 pounds) were 17% more likely to be born even as far as 20-30 miles downwind of the Portland Generating Station. As an evidence-based decision maker, I will not allow short-term gains to compromise our clean air, clean water, and open space. I support energy conservation and renewable energy projects including:
- Expanding solar energy programs to set NJ up to be a leader in solar production and job creation.
- Investing in clean energy storage.
- Increasing funding and providing market incentives for energy efficiency.