Democrat Phil Murphy picked up another major environmental endorsement as the New Jersey Sierra Club yesterday backed the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany for governor.
Murphy, who earlier won support from the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, vowed to fight attempts by the Trump administration to roll back environmental laws and press ahead with efforts to advance clean-energy initiatives in New Jersey.
The former Goldman Sachs executive said he would try to bolster the economy by reviving the state’s lagging efforts to develop offshore wind farms along the Jersey coast, as well as have New Jersey rejoin a multistate program in the Northeast to curb global warming pollution from power plants.
“We are confident that he will fight to protect our environment and our resources while fighting climate change,’’ said Jeff Tittel, director of the club, the nation’s oldest and largest environmental organization.
At a press conference at the organization’s headquarters in Trenton, Murphy offered few detailed initiatives, but spoke more broadly about promoting innovation and investing in infrastructure — both of which could advance the state’s goal to grow its green economy.
“I believe we have an enormous opportunity to get us back as stewards of the environment,’’ Murphy said, who noted New Jersey’s former leadership position in environmental matters has lagged in the past seven years.
When asked about specific issues, he mostly offered generalities. For instance, questioned about efforts by Public Service Enterprise Group to obtain financial incentives to help prop up its nuclear power plants, he talked about the importance of the three units in South Jersey as a source of jobs.
Murphy noted Illinois and New York both had adopted incentives for plants in their states. “We’re looking at both of those models,’’ he said. “We’re trying to figure out whether they make sense or not.’’
In New Jersey, no specific legislation dealing with the issue has been introduced yet, but most energy lobbyists expect the matter could come up in the lame-duck session after the November gubernatorial election. The issue is significant for consumers because it could impact electric bills. In New York, ratepayers are on the hook for about a half-billion dollars a year to keep nuclear plants there operating.