New Jersey Commits to Greatly Reducing its Greenhouse Gas Emissions
New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed legislation on July 6th that commits the state to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a reduction of roughly 20%. The legislation also commits to an 80% reduction in the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. New Jersey is already a participant in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which will cap emissions from power plants in the region at current levels through 2015, followed by a 10% reduction by 2019. The new legislation sets more aggressive goals and is not limited to the state's power plant emissions.
The devil is in the details, of course, and the job of working out those details rests with the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which will work with other state agencies and stakeholders to develop specific recommendations for meeting the greenhouse gas reduction goals. That evaluation will be done in conjunction with the state's pending Energy Master Plan, which will also incorporate the greenhouse gas reduction goals. The DEP is also tasked with developing an inventory of the state's greenhouse gas emissions for both 1990 and 2006 and creating a system for monitoring the state's current greenhouse gas emissions. And while most of the bill is not specifically focused on utilities, it does allow the Board of Public Utilities to set limits on greenhouse gas emissions and to require energy efficiency measures that reduce the use of natural gas and electricity by 20% by 2020. See the governor's press release and the text of the bill, A3301.