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Governor Murphy Moves Quickly to Strengthen Environmental Protections

In Governor Phil Murphy’s first month in office, the new administration has wasted no time addressing environmental and energy policy with an emphasis on combating climate change. Governor Murphy has already signed executive orders directing New Jersey to reenter the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and developing a plan for offshore wind, and he has joined neighboring governors in backing a ban on hydraulic fracturing. The Governor also announced that New Jersey will withdraw from the lawsuit opposing President Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Specifically:

  • The Executive Order mandating that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) begin the process of reentering the state into RGGI restores New Jersey’s place as a leader in the green economy. New Jersey will likely rejoin RGGI’s carbon budget trading program and NJDEP must now create a framework for allocating RGGI funds. The Executive Order directs the NJDEP to begin writing rules and guidelines for the state to rejoin RGGI. The public will eventually have an opportunity to comment on these NJDEP proposed rules.
  • The Executive Order on offshore wind outlines a goal of generating 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030, enough to power 1.5 million homes, and directs the NJDEP and BPU to establish a strategic offshore wind plan. Even with this Executive Order, the offshore wind projects would still require permits from federal agencies, including the Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Governor Murphy sent a letter to Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania and the Delaware River Basin Commission stating that New Jersey will join Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware in supporting the ban on hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River Basin.
  • The Governor announced that New Jersey will withdraw from West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. This case is working its way through the federal courts and aims to undo President Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulations, which aimed to curtail emissions from power plants that use fossil fuels.

If you have any questions about how the above actions may impact your business, please contact Connell Foley’s Environmental Law Group.

  • Partner

    As Chair of Connell Foley's Environmental Law practice group, Agnes Antonian draws on her engineering background to address a broad range of complex environmental litigation and land use matters. Her environmental litigation ...

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