The state’s largest environmental advocacy group, which last fall endorsed Governor Christopher Christie over former Gov. Jon Corzine and former Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Christopher Daggett, has misgivings about Christie’s plans to reduce the current fiscal year’s deficit.
New Jersey Environmental Federation (NJEF) Campaign Director David Pringle said that his group is “very concerned” over Christie’s plans to “dilute clean energy funds and mass transit efforts” in order to shore up the budget.
“We recognize the state’s budget problems but hitting clean energy and mass transit will make things worse,” said Pringle. “We understand that Governor Corzine left this fiscal and environmental mess for Governor Christie to clean up. Our new governor has made strong commitments on the environment and about getting our fiscal house in order, and today’s developments demonstrate there’s much that needs to be done better and fast.”
Pringle’s criticism, however, was far less biting than Sierra Club New Jersey Director Jeff Tittel’s, who decried Christie’s plans to slash $158 million from the Clean Energy Fund, $128 million to the Retail Margin Fund, $38 million for New Jersey Transit subsidies and $9 million from the DEP, among other cuts.
Tittel, whose group endorsed Daggett for governor, called Christie’s the cuts an “anti-environmental snow job” that is “bad for the economy and bad for the environment.”
Pringle said he did not have buyer’s remorse.
“Overall, it’s a cause for concern,” he said. “But it’s also occuring on the same day when a Corzine administration [Board of Public Utlities] decided to spend hundreds so that PSE&G can sell our clean power to New York and replace it with dirty power from Pennsylvania.”