Poll: N.J. voters say state not moving fast enough on renewable energy

In this photo taken Monday

In this photo taken Monday

A majority of New Jersey voters surveyed in a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll say the state is not moving rapidly enough on renewable energy initiatives.

Poll director Krista Jenkins says 71 percent of voters believe it’s more important for the state to invest in clean energy sources than in fossil fuels like gas and oil through construction of additional pipelines.

“The concerns cited by those who felt pipelines are a threat to New Jersey include air and water quality risks, safety risks, eminent domain, harm to the natural environment, and damage to open spaces.”

Michele Byers is executive director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. She says pipeline construction threatens preserved lands.

“Rather than going through communities with lots of landowners these linear projects target big swatches of open space, and people didn’t feel that they preserved these lands to have them be available for energy production and distribution.”

Tom Gilbert, the campaign director of ReThink Energy NJ, says there’s a big gap between what voters want and where the state is headed on energy.

“We need to reform the way pipelines are reviewed in New Jersey to take a much harder look at what’s actually needed in a way that won’t harm consumers, our communities, and our environment.”

68 percent of residents surveyed say they favor legislation that would set a goal of having 80 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by the year 2050.

Sen. Kip Bateman sponsored legislation to do that.

“People say oh that goal is unachievable. If you don’t shoot high, you never get there. So I think it is achievable and from the folks I hear in my district people think it’s very important.”

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