Wow, just read this Op-Ed piece -
No teeth in 'tough' pollution law
Sunday, October 07, 2007
BY BILL WOLFE
To much public fanfare and praise by environmentalists -- including former Vice President Al Gore, who was in the Meadowlands -- Gov. Jon Corzine signed the "Global Warming Response Act" last July. The act established a 20 percent greenhouse gas emission reduction goal by the year 2020, and a steeper 80 percent reduction by 2050, purportedly the toughest goals in the nation.
So far, so good.
But problems emerge after actually reading the law and gaining an understanding of its legislative history. Contrary to media coverage and political spin, simply put, the law amounts to little more than aspirational goals and a misleading sham. Here's why.
Looks like the law was based on California's program, but the lobbyists had their way with it and gutted the bill.
The introduced version of the bill was modeled on California law. When the New Jersey Senate's Environment Committee held the first round of hearings in May, the panel invited and heard testimony from representatives of the California Air Resources Board on the California program. CARB's testimony stressed critical aspects of the program:
* Delegation of strong regulatory authority to implement the law.
* A budgeted staff of 125 professionals and resources to administer the law.
* Political independence and scientific expertise to design and implement a program to meet emission reduction goals.
As the committee heard this CARB testimony, one could almost feel the exploding heads of the dozens of business and energy industry lobbyists in the room, as they envi sioned such powers being exercised by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Apparently, the NJ law just sets goals without the means to implement them. The author claism that NJ's "mandatory" law isn't any different than the Bush Adminsistration's voluntary approach:
The [NJ] law -- contrary to widespread media coverage -- does not legally cap greenhouse gas emissions or mandate emissions reductions on any major pollution sources. As a result, the law's theoretically "mandatory" goals are unenforceable and therefore a fiction. They amount to the same voluntary approach backed by the Bush administration.
The NJ law lacks a cap on GHG emissions or a ban on new coal plants or restrictions on importation of more coal power from midwestern states.
Industry pollutant emissions fees, which were designed to provide economic incentives to reduce emissions and to fund necessary programs to achieve the goals, were eliminated. A cap and trade program for major emission sources, like coal power plants, was deleted from the law.
The NJ Global Warming Act was touted by Al Gore and has been portrayed in the media as the nation's strongest state law. But this author has rattled the PR cage and set out a warning:
Yet New Jersey officials remain largely mired in the status quo that has been disguised with window dressing. The first step in reversing this dynamic is a clear public understanding of the problems we face. This starts with exposing the myth of the Global Warming Response Act and identifying the need to enact and fund a real emission cap and reduction program.