Yesterday, Senator Menendez against the energy bill in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The Senator said the bill doesn’t go far enough and pointed to specific issues he has:
Setting a weak renewable energy standard of only 15 percent by the year 2021 ? a number that in reality could be closer to nine percent according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, because one quarter can be met with efficiency, many utilities are exempt, and the definitions of “renewable” have been stretched. That would amount to less than business as usual on renewable energy generation. President Obama had called for a standard of 25 percent by 2025. This standard represents the percentage of energy generated by utilities that must come from renewable sources. Allowing expanded coastline drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and setting a short buffer zone of only 45 miles from the coast. Oil companies already control 68 million acres that they are not using. In addition, the short buffer zone could set a risky precedent for states like New Jersey, which could be affected by coastline drilling off of nearby states. Electricity transmission provisions that encourage the continued production of coal-generated power and threaten to cite power lines on personal property in New Jersey. These provisions failed to require that a substantial portion of the electricity transmitted on new lines come from renewable sources.
The Senator had this to say about the measure:
“I also have strong concerns about this bill’s potential effects on families in New Jersey. It lays the groundwork for unwanted power lines running through personal property in our state and it sets a precedent that could bring oil rigs close to the Jersey Shore. I am standing up in strong opposition to those provisions.”
Environment New Jersey criticized the energy bill and applauded the Senator for his opposition:
The proposal risks sensitive coastal ecosystems to pollution and spills from off-shore drilling, while worsening global warming by opening the door to high-carbon fuels such as liquid coal, tar sands and oil shale, according to Environment New Jersey.
“The Senate energy bill misses an unprecedented opportunity to repower America with clean energy and reduce global warming pollution while putting millions of Americans back to work,” said Doug O’Malley, field director for Environment New Jersey. “We oppose the bill in its current form because it threatens Florida’s white sandy beaches and encourages dirty fuels while doing little to realize the promise of a clean energy future,” he concluded.
“Sen. Menendez has been a tremendous advocate for clean energy and our coastlines time and again,” O?Malley said. “His vote opposing this bill reaffirms that he is willing to stand up for the environment and New Jersey.”
The Senator said he looks forward to working closely with chairman to improve the bill on the Senate floor, so we will have to see how the bill is modified as it moves forward.