Democratic Lawmakers Want NJ Back in Regional Clean Air Initiatives

Proposed constitutional amendments would let voters decide if state should participate in multi-state antipollution programs.

Assembly Republican leader Jon Bramnick. Photo by Fl4277, via Wikimedia Commons
Assembly Republican leader Jon Bramnick. Photo by Fl4277, via Wikimedia Commons
Written by Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight

The Christie administration is shying away from multistate agreements to curb air pollution, but not Democratic legislators.

In bills up for a vote tomorrow, the Senate Environment and Energy Committee will consider legislation to require the state to rejoin a regional effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global climate change, as well as a measure that would make it more difficult for the state to pull out of another multistate plan to promote the development of electric cars and zero-emission vehicles.

The move by the panel comes at a time when the Christie administration has declined to join efforts by a combination of states to reduce pollution on several fronts. But in a state long burdened with some of the worst air pollution problems in the nation, the administration’s strategy is causing increasing concern among environmentalists, health advocates, and legislators.

The coordinated efforts by the states include forcing power plants to belch out fewer emissions that contribute to climate change; requiring vehicles -- one of the largest sources of pollution causing both smog and global warming -- to run cleaner; and petitioning the federal government to curb pollution from power plants located to the south and west of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

Gov. Chris Christie, widely viewed as a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2016, has either pulled New Jersey out of the programs, or has failed to join them or endorse their cause.

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NJ Spotlight is an issue-driven news website that provides critical insight to New Jersey’s communities and businesses. It is non-partisan, independent, policy-centered and community-minded.


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