NJ Gov. Christie Fights EPA’s Clean Power Rules

Published September 30, 2015

Calling the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) “unprecedented regulatory overreach,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) officially moved to block implementation of the rules in his state on September 2.

Christie, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, announced his opposition to the rules when President Barack Obama announced them in August. Christie’s top environmental regulator, Bob Martin, wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting a stay of implementation and a proceeding for reconsideration of the rules.

Martin’s letter states CPP “will burden the citizens of our state with unjustifiable increases in electricity costs while also complicating New Jersey’s efforts to make further reductions in carbon emissions.”

According to Martin, [The CPP] punishes states, including New Jersey, that have already achieved significant reductions in carbon emissions, by setting even stricter goals for them, even though many other states have made much less progress in reducing emissions and are given less stringent emission targets than New Jersey.”

“Gov. Christie’s request for a stay is a good start, but the most effective and honest approach would be for him to refuse to submit the state implementation plan the Obama administration is demanding,” said Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research. “That’s the best way to protect New Jersey residents.” 

Green Targets

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports New Jersey has the fifth-lowest carbon emission rate in the country. The state generates 52 percent of its power from nuclear energy, which has zero carbon dioxide emissions.

The CPP rules would require New Jersey to reduce its carbon emissions by approximately 26 percent from 2012 levels by 2030.

“The Clean Power Plan is yet another example of the Obama administration inappropriately reaching far beyond its legal authority to implement more onerous and more burdensome regulations on businesses and state governments alike,” said Christie in a statement.

 “This is a fundamentally flawed plan that threatens the progress we’ve already made in developing clean and renewable energy in New Jersey without the heavy-handed overreach of Washington.”

Upon EPA finalizing the CPP on August 3, West Virginia and 14 other states filed an emergency petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, seeking a stay of the rule. New Jersey did not join this suit. 

Higher Costs

Kish says he is glad Christie is opposing the carbon rule.

“It’s the right thing to do to protect New Jersey residents from getting steamrolled with vastly more expensive electricity prices being mandated by Washington, DC,” Kish said.

Specifically, wind energy costs at least three times as much as electricity from existing nuclear or coal plants, Kish says.

“Moreover, the government’s own analysis of different forms of electricity notes renewables be counted as regular electricity because they only work when nature cooperates, as opposed to our electrical system, which has to provide electricity as consumers demand it,” Kish said. “Renewable electricity that can’t overcome its intermittency limitations is a costly mistake.”

Alyssa Carducci ([email protected]) writes from Tampa, Florida.