Energy Conference: Decarbonization - A Business Perspective REGISTER

Last week, NJBIA was pleased to have three high-level officials from the Murphy administration at our Energy and Environmental Quality Policy Committee meeting to discuss Gov. Phil Murphy’s clean energy and redevelopment goals. 

Jane Cohen spoke on her new role as Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy and on the creation of the New Jersey Council on the Green Economy.  Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette spoke on the Department of Environmental Protection‘s upcoming rule proposals, both in carbon mitigation and land use.  Finally, Tim Sullivan, the CEO of the Economic Development Authority, informed the crowd on his Authority’s redevelopment efforts and their brownfields grant program. 

Cohen emphasized the need for the state to take action against climate threats and the necessary shift that must be made in the economy as a result.  She stressed the Gov. Murphy’s two key pillars toward a green economy – economic development together with environmental justice and equity.   

As part of the shift to a green economy, Cohen discussed the creation of new, green jobs and the need for workforce development and training.  One of the major initiatives will be the construction of 7500 MW of offshore wind energy supported by two enhanced port facilities in Gloucester and Salem counties.  Cohen offered to work closely with the business community. 

Acting Commissioner LaTourette also emphasized the need for action in order to halt warming, to the extent we can, before we suffer a climate crisis.  He spoke more specifically about the DEP’s upcoming Protection Against Climate Threats (PACT) regulations., .  These regulations will contain both land use and carbon reduction elements. 

The land use regulations will seek to protect property by assuming there will a five-foot sea level rise by the year 2100.  Because infrastructure and buildings may still be in use by that time, the DEP would be imposing flood hazard regulations and requirements on all properties being built or reconstructed today that would be potentially impacted by that projected sea level rise.  While the DEP was not going to outright ban development that may be impacted, LaTourette said, it would require elevations and deed notices as well as other building requirements. 

On the carbon mitigation side, LaTourette said the DEP would be banning carbon fueled small boilers, as well as the use of #4 and #6 fuel oil.  Natural gas electric generation facilities would also be banned over time in order to meet the goals of the State’s Energy Master Plan.  There would be safeguards put in place in case that renewables cannot meet our electrical needs.  Finally, the DEP would be adopting the California Advanced Clean Truck Rule which would require mid- and heavy-duty trucks to be substantially electrified by 2035 and fully by 2045.   

Sullivan discussed the need to ensure that what is built today, especially if tax incentive dollars are used, is around tomorrow given the threats of climate change.  He discussed the new brownfields grant program which is intended to help spur brownfield cleanups and developments in our urban areas. 

With 145 members registered for this meeting, the question period proved lively with numerous questions on sea level rise, the need for flexibility, the practicality of some of the proposals, and the impacts of urban redevelopment.   

NJBIA will continue to closely monitor the PACT rule development as well the green economy initiatives.  Anyone with questions or comments can contact Ray Cantor at rcantor@njbia.org.