According to a coalition of environmentalists, New Jersey is in danger of missing Gov.'s objectives to combat climate change if the governor's administration does not stop fossil fuel projects approved and act more quickly to implement regulations.
Murphy, a Democrat, has set a goal of establishing a coastal state in New Jersey that has been battered by massive storms in recent years. He also signed a legislation in 2020 to protect vulnerable communities from pollution.
According to EmpowerNJ, which has to campaign for more action on climate change, the Garden State's emissions have increased by 19% from six fossil fuel projects approved in the last four years.
Emissions might increase another 38% if approved and completed before Murphy's second term is up in January 2026, according to the group.
The state's efforts to achieve Murphy's promise of 100% clean energy by the middle of the century have been "painfully slow," with "many missed deadlines and regulatory proposals that put that vision in jeopardy."
Although the persistent proliferation of fossil fuels in New Jersey will result in health problems that thwart hundreds of thousands of people each year, and it will inadvertently affect minority communities of color, said EmpowerNJ.
Kim Dolsky of the Don't Gas the Meadowlands Coalition said the report demonstrates "the enormous difference between the governor's stated policies of reducing greenhouse gases and the reality that we are moving in the opposite direction."
The seven pending projects include a new natural gas pipeline and a natural gas export terminal in South Jersey, a new power facility in Newark, and expansions of the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.
EmpowerNJ said that if all programs were approved, it would generate 37 million additional greenhouse gases into the air. Statewide emissions were estimated to be around 97.7 million in 2019, according to reports. This is based on the fact that all facilities are maintained at full capacity.
Food & Water Watch, a joint venture director for New Jersey, said: "Communities across the country are facing fresh pollution pipelines, power plants, and other dirty energy initiatives that threaten to drive New Jersey right off the coast.."
The coalition, which includes over 135 environmental, civic, faith, and progressive organizations, has issued a warning that five of the initiatives might harm people of color.
According to the group, Murphy's administration is urging to prevent the seven pending projects from being constructed, and directs all state agencies to "elaboration written plans and guidelines" this year in order to reach the objective of cutting emission in the state by 2030.
Alyana Alfaro, a spokesperson for Murphy's office, told NJ Advance Media in a statement that the governor "remains committed to addressing the critical and urgent issue of climate change."
"Over the last four years, the governor has transformed New Jersey into a leader in renewable energy, thanks to the ongoing development of the New Jersey Wind Port, the prioritization of New Jersey's first utility-scale offshore wind farms, and excellent solar incentive programs," said Alfaro.
Murphy's recent state budget includes $30 million for electrifying the state's vehicle fleet by 2035, as well as "millions in funding for the nation's first climate change education standards."
The state Department of Environmental Protection has declined to comment on the report, but it has pointed to its response to an EmpowerNJ lawsuit filed in January.
The coalition filed an appeal in the state Superior Court to obligate the state to adopt specific standards to fulfill Murphy's emissions goal, claiming that the DEP has not established enforceable measures to achieve it.
At the time, the state has "taken and continue to take significant measures to reduce emissions of climate pollutants, in order to limit the effects of climate change."
Besides, the agency said that meeting gas emission targets "requires deliberate and coordinated action from all levels of government, economic sectors, communities, and individuals to transform the State's building sector, transportation sector, and electricity generation systems and the associated infrastructure."
Murphy has promised to keep pace with climate change in New Jersey. In early 2020, he was unveiled to sanity the state "off its centuries-old abolition to fossil fuels."
He is a member of the state, but also in the country.
Murphy said in November that the time for wakeup calls is long gone. "And while we can't turn back the clock, we also cannot keep hitting snooze."
Republicans have warned Murphy's energy master plan would increase expenditure on the state's residents, and they have complained that he hasn't provided a clear price tag.
Last month, the BPU reported a possibility cost, more than two years after Murphy proposed the plan.
State Senator Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, said: "I think anyone is against New Jersey using renewable energy sources."
"The problem is that the Governor wants to implement an aggressive energy strategy that excludes the impact of seniors, low-income families, and the middle-class, reducing the need to pay retirement, a required car repair, or college savings for their kids."
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