News Article

Christie Budget Raids Clean Energy Funds

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. February 28, 2013

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Senate Environment and Energy Committee chairman Bob Smith (photo by Phil Gregory)

Environmental advocates are disappointed that Governor Christie’s budget plan takes  $152 million from the state’s clean energy programs for other uses.

Doug O’Malley, the interim director of Environment New Jersey, says it will be the fourth straight year the fund is raided to balance the budget and will bring the total amount diverted to nearly $700 million.

 “In a year when we’re obviously responding to Superstorm Sandy when we need to be reacting to climate change the governor is sticking his head in the sand by not moving aggressively to support clean energy.”

Senate Environment and Energy Committee chairman Bob Smith says there won’t be much money left to give residents incentives to buy more energy-efficient appliances and weatherize their homes.

 “The whole point of this was to reduce our energy footprint but also to stimulate the economy. I mean when work is being done on a home to make it more energy-efficient you’re putting people to work. When you’re selling or buying appliances that’s stimulating that sector of the economy.”

Smith says the only way to ensure the money is not taken for other uses is to pass a constitutional amendment dedicating it to clean energy. He says that’s not going to happen because Republicans in the legislature aren’t likely to support it.

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