The head of the Sierra Club of New Jersey Thursday described Gov. Christi's plan to take money from environmental protections efforts to cut into the state's $2.2 billion 2009-10 budget deficit as a snow job.
"This is an anti-environmental snow job by the Christie administration," Jeff Tittel said. "This is bad for the economy and bad for the environment. It will lead to the loss of green jobs and more pollution."
The reductions is environmental funding include:
- $158 million from the Clean Energy Fund, which Tittel said will affect up to 20,000 private sector jobs. "When matching funds and federal funding is taken into account, this means a $775 million cutback in public and private spending on renewable energy,'' he said.
- $128 million to the Retail Margin Fund. The Retail Margin Fund helps businesses to build cogeneration and combined heat and power sources, he said. It helps to build power plants, heat buildings, and produce electricity from natural gas.
- $38 million for NJ Transit subsidies. Tittel said this will lead to higher fares and cuts in services at a time when people are using public transportation more than ever before. "We'll still the subsidization of highways in the middle of nowhere as funding for mass transit goes down, leading to more traffic and air pollution,'' he said.
- $18 million from the Highlands. "This is the money from PSE&G to mitigate the dirty deal for dirty power - the Susquehanna Roseland Transmission line, which will cut through the Highlands,'' Tittel said. 'As we're cutting money for clean energy, we're going to spend $800 million on power lines to bring in dirty, coal fired electricity from Pennsylvania.''
- $18 million cut in clean energy funding to make government buildings cleaner. Tittel said this would have saved taxpayer money by reducing energy costs.
- $15 million from affordable housing.
- $9 million from the Department of Environmental Protection.
- $1.7 million for New Jersey's parks.
- $500,000 from the Pinelands Commission.
- Elimination of the Office of Public Advocate to save $600,000. Tittel described the agency as a watchdog for citizens that helps prevent governmental abuse.
— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM