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Murphy Continues Dismantling Christie Environmental Legacy

Governor and attorney general announce New Jersey will withdraw from lawsuit opposing Obama Clean Power Plan

Gurbir Grewal
Credit: NJTV News Online
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal

For the second consecutive day, Gov. Phil Murphy has reversed an energy policy of his predecessor that deals with climate change.

In a joint announcement, the governor and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said New Jersey would withdraw from a lawsuit it joined with a couple dozen other states opposing former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

The lawsuit, joined by the Christie administration in 2015, challenged the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to curb greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, a cornerstone of Obama’s efforts to fight climate change.

An uncertain fate

The plan’s fate is uncertain because the current EPA is looking to review and overhaul its regulations following an executive order signed by President Donald Trump this past August. The plan has never been enacted because of a stay issued by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Christie administration opposed the plan, saying it would boost electricity costs and infringe on its ability to oversee its energy future.

“Gov. Christie and his administration supported this lawsuit despite a wealth of evidence that tougher limits on carbon emissions are necessary to ensure a healthier future for our state,’’ Murphy said in a statement from his press office.

The attorney general said the Clean Power Plan is a comprehensive effort to slow down global warming and protect human health. “We believe that New Jersey should and can comply with the proposed requirements to submit a plan to reduce the production of carbon dioxide,’’ he said.

Nationwide, the plan sought to reduce carbon pollution by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. On Monday, Murphy reversed another Christie decision by rejoining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate alliance in the Northeast to curb emissions from power plants.

“President Trump continues to deny the reality of climate change, but New Jersey will continue to address the issue at a state level,’’ Murphy said.

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