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Debate Sharpens Over Fast-Tracking Climate Effort

Updated: Jun 26

August 12, 2022 |

The state is debating whether to accelerate New Jersey’s transition to clean energy, a step advocates say is necessary due to a worsening climate crisis, but some fear it could boost already high energy bills for consumers.

A bill to speed that transition (S-2978), is one of two controversial measures discussed during a rare joint meeting of the two environmental committees at a hearing in Toms River on Thursday. It will probably be the primary focus of committee members during the final 17 months of this legislative term.

The other bill (S-416), which has been kicked around by lawmakers since 2018, aims to force the state pension fund to divest from fossil fuels, an issue long pushed by environmentalists and others, but so far resisted by the Murphy administration. Thursday’s hearing on the bill was its first despite 44 co-sponsors.

NJ SEED: Accelerating the change to “clean energy” without concern for the costs is easy for those who do not have to pay it. Those who must bear heaviest burden of the costs will proceed with caution. With regard to pensions, it has long been the guiding principle for those charged with managing the state’s pension funds to be guided by fiduciary responsibility, and avoid other issues of policy.

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