Energy master plan foes seek to rally public opposition

TRENTON – Environmental groups are encouraging the public to attend three upcoming hearings in hopes of preventing Gov. Chris Christie’s energy master plan from being implemented, a plan which they said relies more on coal, incineration, and nuclear sources than renewable energy.

The sessions will all take place from 1 to 5 p.m. at the following locations:

New Jersey Institute of Technology, 105 Bleeker St., Newark, on July 26;

The Statehouse Annex, Room 11, 125 W. State St., Trenton, on Aug. 3;

Richard Stockton College Campus Center, Vera King Farris Drive, Pomona, on Aug. 11.

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said today that the proposed energy master plan is “poised to go backwards to fossil foolish ways of the past.” He took particular issue with the proposed plan’s goal of reducing solar energy dependence from 30 percent to 22.5 percent.

He described New Jersey, and its present energy master plan, as “progressive,” saying that the 30 percent goal is attainable.

To prevent Christie’s version of the master plan from going through, Tittel, along with Assemblyman John McKeon, (D-27), of West Orange, Matt Elliott of Environment New Jersey and Dennis Wilson of Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association encouraged residents to attend the sessions.

“We are concerned it will be pushed through, undoing 20 years of progress and thousands and thousands of green jobs,” Tittel said.

McKeon, whom Tittel dubbed an “environmental hero,” said the state can ill-afford to turn back the progress. He cited a Brookings Institution report that said New Jersey created 26,000 “green” jobs over an eight-year period.

Based on such data, McKeon called Christie’s energy master plan short-sighted.

In addition to downplaying alternative-energy goals, the master plan has been criticized by environmentalists because it leaves the door open for a new nuclear power plant in the state.

Energy master plan foes seek to rally public opposition