BORDENTOWN – Lee Solomon, whose departure as head of the Board of Public Utilities was reported this morning, said he welcomes a return to the bench.
He said when he left the bench to direct BPU, he did so with some reluctance at that time because he enjoyed the judicial work so much.
That was 22 months ago, when he took the helm of BPU, and he will leave it during a vastly changed environmental and regulatory landscape that has seen the administration issue a new Energy Master Plan, while dealing with issues over the fate of hydraulic fracturing, future gas exploration, and the falling costs of subsidized solar energy production.
“Most of the issues have been policy issues’’ introduced by Christie, Solomon said, and many are now far along the track. “I believe Bob Hanna is fully qualified to push them across the finish line,” Solomon said.
Hanna, director of the Division of Law, is reportedly to be named Solomon’s successor.
Solomon said that when he left the bench in Camden for the world of emissions, SRECS, fracturing, and battles with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, he did not realize he would actually grow to enjoy and understand this world as much as he did.
In fact, the news of his departure broke while Solomon was chairing a hearing into aspects of the governor’s Energy Master Plan.
“I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it,’’ he said. “I leave it with some sadness,” but the lure of the bench never lost its pull, he said.
“I love Chris,’’ he said in reference to the governor, “and I would never have done this for anyone other than him.’’
Solomon said that “I told the governor, I made no bones about it, I wanted to return to the bench someday.”