January 8, 2020

Contact: Ed Potosnak
O: (609) 331-9922
C: (732) 991-7574

Leading Environmental Group Awards ‘A’ to Murphy on Second Year Achievements

TRENTON, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy earned positive ratings from the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters for the second year running in 2019, owing to a strong series of pro-environment policies that strengthened renewables and the offshore wind industry, protected sensitive environmental areas by curbing dangerous fossil fuel pipelines, preserved precious open spaces, and held polluters accountable.

“We are proud to give Governor Murphy and his administration an ‘A’ for his second year in office, improving his grade from the ‘B+’ he earned last year,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “The Governor’s second year has built off of the momentum of his first, continuing with pro-environmental actions and commitments to conservation, including the issuing a strong Energy Master Plan, committing New Jersey to 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy, protecting clean drinking water and critical open spaces and nominating pro-environment appointees to the Highlands Council and the Pinelands Commission.”

“With a dangerous and irresponsible deregulatory agenda underway in Washington,” Potosnak added, “Governor Murphy quickly demonstrated and earned the title of the ‘Greenest Governor in America’ through his staunch advocacy for protecting New Jersey’s natural resources, catalyzing good local jobs in the clean energy economy and prioritizing and improve the wellbeing of all New Jerseyans.”

Governor Murphy has changed the direction of Trenton after eight years of policies under Chris Christie that favored big polluters over the safety of our communities and the preservation of our natural resources.

In the past year, Governor Murphy worked with legislators to enact sweeping new policies to combat climate change by decarbonizing our state’s economy, including new requirements that the state derive half its electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030. At the same time, his administration issued a new Energy Master Plan that sets us on a course to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 and took actions to strengthen New Jersey’s offshore wind sector.

He also began the revitalization of important agencies dedicated to preservation and protection of drinking water, including the Highlands Council and the Pinelands commission, by nominating new members focused on environmental protection and rescinding harmful Christie-era policies.

At the same time, Governor Murphy held polluters accountable. His administration filed lawsuits against companies that released toxic chemicals in low-income communities, and he took the Trump administration to court multiple times to block plans to roll back federal environmental regulations, as well as a proposal to open up the Jersey coastline to off-shore oil drilling.

“Looking ahead to the next two years of Governor Murphy’s first term, we are eager to see him continue his leadership in making New Jersey the greenest state in America,” said Julia Somers, Board Chair of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. 

New Jersey LCV will be tracking the administration’s progress on the following issues in 2020: 

  • Ending diversions to the Clean Energy Program and prioritizing clean energy investments in low-income, communities of color and environmental justice communities;
  • Increasing funding to the Department of Environmental Protection, specifically for Green Acres Staff and fully fund the Delaware River Basin Commission;
  • Committing NJ Transit to a strong electrification timeline following over 100 other transit agencies from across the country and continue to push for federal funding for the Gateway Access Tunnel;
  • Implementing the Clean Renewable Energy Bill, Energy Master Plan, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the updated Global Warming Response Act;
  • Spurring economic development by investing in our ports to handle offshore wind turbine manufacturing;
  • Implementing the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) to lower carbon emissions from the transportation sector, and;
  • Prioritizing clean drinking water by monitoring emerging contaminants in clean drinking water and providing infrastructure to address the lead issues found in the water of communities in New Jersey.

A full list of accomplishments for Governor Murphy’s first two years in office can be found below:

Fighting Climate Change

  • Signed an updated Global Warming Response Act (S3207) into law, which requires the DEP to promulgate regulations on economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions and short-lived climate pollutants to reach our decarbonization goals by 2050;
  • Moving forward on joining the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our state’s largest emitting sector;
  • Signed an executive order to reenter New Jersey into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and agree to terms for reentry, which is poised over the next decade to reduce the carbon emission equivalent of 139,000 cars or the planting of 4.6 million trees, while investing in cumulative impact reductions and are set to re-enter in 2020;
  • Signed the Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as a first step to address the emissions from the transportation sector and adopted goals to reach 330,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2025.
  • Signed Executive Order 89, which established Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy that will develop short and long-term action plans that will promote the mitigation, adaptation and resilience for our economy, communities, infrastructure and natural resources, and;
  • Joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, demonstrating New Jersey’s commitment to meeting Paris Climate Accord goals.

Preserving Open Space and Protecting Our Drinking Water

  • Signed S2920, the Preserve NJ Act, into law, a bipartisan bill that helps protect constitutionally dedicated funds to preserve open space, farmland and historic structures;
  • Denied the Penn East Pipeline and NESE Project and publicly Opposed the North Bergen Power Plant;
  • Unveiled a $100 million bond initiative to fund lead service line replacements in New Jersey;
  • Purchased the 1,400-acre Holly Farms Property resulting in a victory for open space preservation;
  • Nominated pro-conservation appointees Jennifer Coffey, Jessica Sanchez, and Commissioner Ed Lloyd for the Pineland Commission and Wynnie-Fred Victor Hinds, Bill Kibler, and Dan Van Abs to the Highlands Council;
  • Rescinded Christie-Era septic density rules in the Highlands – protecting water quality and drinking water for over 70 percent of New Jersey residents;
  • Protected our shoreline economy and communities by opposing fossil fuel exploration off our coasts by signing the STOP Act into law;
  • Issued a letter joining New Jersey with several other states to prevent fracking in the Delaware River Basin;
  • Signed the bipartisan Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act, S1073, into law allowing municipalities to create stormwater utilities to help manage their stormwater infrastructure.
  • Proposed groundwater standards and maximum contaminant levels for PFNA, PFOA, PFOS all lower than the current EPA health advisory levels and added this family of chemicals to a List of Hazardous Substances, and;
  • Increased standards for 749 miles of waterways to the highest level (C1) of protection in New Jersey and published new Surface Water Quality Standards.

Holding Polluters Accountable and Protecting All Communities

  • Office of the Attorney General and Department of Environmental Protection has announced dozens of environmental enforcement actions, including 14 environmental justice lawsuits and twelve Natural Resource Damage cases that seek to restore communities and ecosystems after decades of lost services due to pollution;
  • New Jersey filed a variety of suits against the federal government, seeking to prevent the U.S. government from allowing harmful drilling off the New Jersey coast, challenging the federal government’s rollback of rules addressing climate change, clean air, car efficiency standards, ozone pollution and clean water;
  • Moving forward on a plan to close the Keegan Landfill in Kearny;
  • Rescinded Christie’s toxic Executive Order 2, which helped big polluters move past our state’s strong environmental policies that protect our land, water and air in the name of economic development and used federal standards as a ceiling, rather than a floor, and;
  • Affirmed the administration’s commitment to Environmental Justice principles and protection of vulnerable communities through Executive Order 23.

Promoting the Growth of Renewable Energy

  • Signed the nation-leading Clean Renewable Energy Bill into law, which updated New Jersey’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to reach 50 percent clean renewable energy by 2030, established aggressive annual energy efficiency goals, created a community solar pilot program, and ignited our offshore wind program;
  • BPU approved the first community solar projects as part of the pilot program totally 77.61 MW of solar capacity serving predominantly low-moderate income communities;
  • Established a nation-leading commitment to offshore wind in the United States by more than doubling our goal of 7,500MW by 2035 in Executive Order 93, and solicited the largest single-state bid for offshore wind at 1,100 MW;
  • Issued Executive Order 28 which called for an updated Energy Master Plan to put the state on a path to realize 100 percent clean energy by 2050 and released a strong draft, and;
  • Established an Offshore Wind Registry to pair investors with New Jersey companies seeking investment, helping catalyze the offshore wind industry in our state.

New Jersey League of Conservation Voters is a non-partisan organization whose mission is to
elect environmental champions, hold public officials accountable, and support laws which
protect our environment and improve the quality of people’s lives.