There is a dangerous movement in New Jersey to stifle the buildout of reliable energy infrastructure, particularly natural gas pipelines and power plants. And it’s had considerable success. Already, it has stopped construction of a new nat-gas power plant in Hillsborough. In South Jersey, opposition to a nat-gas pipeline has caused the owners of a coal-fired power plant to abandon plans to convert it to natural gas.
Now, a coalition of environmental groups has called on Governor Phil Murphy to “halt a dozen proposed natural gas power plants and pipelines in New Jersey.” Empower NJ, as this group calls itself, wants Murphy to “focus entirely on developing green energy.” Brazenly belying its own title, Empower NJ calls only for unreliable, expensive wind and solar, not nuclear, the obvious choice for those truly committed to “green”--non-fossil fuel--energy.
I don’t know if Murphy even has the power to halt these projects. As of this writing, he has not done so. I submitted the following as yet unpublished letter to the NJ Star-Ledger:
To the editors,
Recent calls by the Environmentalist coalition Empower NJ for a “moratorium . . . on natural gas power plants and pipelines in New Jersey” is a dangerous gamble that ignores the risk to human well-being (If Murphy wants to be N.J.'s Captain Planet, he’ll need to overcome Christie’s legacy first). We in NJ enjoy plentiful reliable energy because years ago farsighted energy producers foresaw the need for today’s energy, and put the infrastructure in place to meet it. The same foresight drives this new infrastructure. Technological breakthroughs may or may not somehow make “green” energy a viable replacement. But wishing won’t make it so. Neither will halting these energy projects. Hope is not foresight.
Whatever the effects of fossil fuel use on climate, the value of reliable energy to our lives is indisputable. Weather can be bad, as always. But energy deprivation would be catastrophic. When “green” energy companies demonstrate their products’ superiority, consumers will buy it without subsidies, mandates, or fossil fuel bans. Until then we should be thankful for the builders of nat-gas pipelines and power plants. It is they, not Environmentalists, who have our future energy security in mind.
Michael A. LaFerrara
The Real Reason They Hate Nuclear Is Because It Means We Don't Need Renewables--Michael Shellenberger for Forbes