The Christie Administration announced the state of New Jersey has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan on the basis of its unlawful extension of the federal agency’s authority, irreparable harm to the state if it can’t manage its own energy future, and its unequal burden on states, like New Jersey, that have already significantly reduced carbon emissions.
In its filing, New Jersey joined 23 other states opposing the Clean Power Plan, also known as the 111(d) Rule, which was published today in the Federal Register. Last month, the Christie Administration formally requested an Administrative Stay and Reconsideration of the EPA plan, which would radically restructure the way electricity is produced and consumed throughout the country.
“As we’ve said since it was first proposed, the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan is fundamentally flawed and represents an unlawful overreach of authority,” said Governor Christie. “This plan will also burden New Jersey residents with higher electricity costs and it infringes on the state’s own authority to oversee its energy future.”
In a declaration filed with the court, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said the Clean Power Plan is undermined by serious flaws, which includes an approach where New Jersey’s existing power plants are assigned more stringent limits than EPA has set for new power plants.
“Between 2001 and 2012, New Jersey had already reduced carbon dioxide emissions from its power sector by 33 percent, which is more than the 32 percent reduction goal that EPA has set for the entire nation to reach by 2030,” Commissioner Martin said. “New Jersey’s prior reductions are not given credit under the 111(d) Rule. The Clean Power Plan also fails to credit renewable energy sources and increases in nuclear power plant capacity developed before 2013.”
New Jersey has led the challenge in opposing the rule since it was first proposed in June 2014. Despite being a highly industrialized and densely populated state, New Jersey already ranks amongst the five states with the lowest carbon emission rate in the nation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
This is due in large part to the state’s aggressive efforts over the years to replace coal, the nation’s single biggest source of carbon emissions, with cleaner natural gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency. In addition, approximately half of New Jersey’s in-state power generation is from carbon-free nuclear energy.
The Clean Power Plan also rejects any credit for New Jersey’s multi-billion dollar investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as increases in nuclear power plant capacity developed before 2013.
The Christie Administration has taken significant steps to improve air quality in New Jersey, including taking legal actions to force power plants in other states to reduce pollution that crosses into New Jersey and taking actions to ensure power plants and other industries within New Jersey meet tough air-pollution control standards.
In addition, through its Energy Master Plan (EMP), the Christie Administration is committed to driving down energy costs; promoting a diverse portfolio of clean, sustainable in-state power; promoting energy efficiency and conservation; and capitalizing on new technologies.
In a declaration also filed with the court, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Richard S. Mroz, cited the major investments made by New Jersey ratepayers in renewable energy and energy efficiency in New Jersey from 2001-2012, for which the Clean Power Plan has disallowed credit.
Mroz also stated that the higher electricity prices under the Clean Power Plan will negatively impact New Jersey ratepayers and businesses. As chairperson of the State’s Energy Master Plan (EMP) Committee, Mroz noted one the EMP’s overarching goals is to drive down the cost of all energy for all New Jersey ratepayers.
“Through the State’s 2011 Energy Master Plan (EMP), the Christie Administration laid out its strategic vision for the use, management, and development of energy in New Jersey,” President Mroz said. “In doing so, Governor Christie stated that the production and distribution of clean, reliable, safe, and sufficient supply of energy is essential to New Jersey’s economy and way of life. New Jersey is committed to driving down energy costs; promoting a diverse portfolio of clean, sustainable in-state power; promoting energy efficiency and conservation; capitalizing on new technologies; and achieving a robust renewable energy portfolio standard.”