N.J. seeks to avoid development in flood-prone areas as part of climate change reform

(Chuck Snyder for WHYY)

(Chuck Snyder for WHYY)

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has unveiled a sweeping energy plan that sets goals for shifting the state to 100% clean energy by 2050.

The first-term Democratic governor announced the plan Monday at Stockton University alongside Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe and Board of Public Utilities President Joe Fiordaliso, two cabinet officials that will be carrying out the plan.

The plan calls for reducing the use of fossil fuels while increasing renewable sources of energy, specifically by encouraging electric vehicles, electrifying transport, and developing offshore wind and solar energy.

“Successfully implementing the strategies outlined in the Energy Master Plan will drastically reduce New Jersey’s demand for fossil fuels, reduce our carbon emissions, greatly improve local air quality, and related health impacts,” Murphy said.

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New Jersey currently gets most of its electricity from natural gas and nuclear plants.

The plan directs the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt regulatory reforms within two years, including in part land use regulations that avoid development in flood-prone areas.

Amy Goldsmith, director at Clean Water Action NJ, said Murphy is “spot on calling for decarbonizing the state’s economy.”

But Consumer Energy Alliance’s Mike Butler, director of the organization’s Mid-Atlantic region, said he’s concerned about the impact it would have on families, businesses, and the economically disadvantaged.

“While we support greater inclusion of renewable energy sources in New Jersey’s energy mix, it is highly worrisome that the state was unwilling to make the cost of this plan on ratepayers public,” he said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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