June 22, 2022
Doug O’Malley, Environment NJ, domalley@environmentnewjersey.
Debra Coyle, NJ Work Environment Council, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-707-1320
Jersey Renews Thanks Legislators Calling for an End of the Clean Energy Fund Budget Raids in the FY23 Budget
10 Leading Legislators Call for End to $83 Million in Raids
Trenton – The Jersey Renews coalition, representing 37 labor, environmental, community and faith organizations supporting this campaign, thanked the 10 legislators who are supporting Senator Andrew Zwicker’s Budget Resolution S373 to end the raids to the Clean Energy Fund in the FY23 Budget. The raids in the current proposed FY23 budget from the Murphy Administration total more than $83.6 million, which totals more than 23% of the Clean Energy Fund’s total budget. Diverting these legislatively dedicated funds will stymie New Jersey’s ability to meet climate policy goals, generate good well-paying jobs, and protect vulnerable communities.
“It is time to end the Clean Energy Fund raids. Now is the time to commit the full $344 million contributed by ratepayers into the Clean Energy Fund. Doing so will invest in the health of the State’s residents, and promote a more affordable, reliable and cleaner energy future,” said Senator Andrew Zwicker, (D-16).
Sen. Zwicker’s resolution is co-primed by Sen. Vin Gopal (D-11) and is co-sponsored by Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-14), Sen. Shirley Turner (D-15), Sen. Bob Smith (D-17), Sen. Gordon Johnson (D-38), Asm. John McKeon (D-27), Asm. Dan Benson (D-14), Asm. James Kennedy (D-22) and Asm. Clinton Calabrese (D-36). Other legislators have also expressed support for the resolution.
“It’s imperative that we restore funding to the Clean Energy Program in the FY2023 budget,” said Senator Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth. “Not only is the Clean Energy Program a vital tool in fighting air pollution and addressing the challenges of climate change, it is an essential component of developing clean and renewable sources of energy, maintaining lower rates, and creating good-paying jobs.”
The Clean Energy Fund should receive $344 million per year, which is paid by ratepayers. It is imperative that the money goes back to ratepayers in the form of cleaner electricity, lower electricity rates, and air pollution improvements. Protecting the Clean Energy Fund in the FY23 budget is critical to expand a wide range of programs to reduce air pollution, develop clean and renewable sources of energy, lower rates and create good, family sustaining jobs.
“Raiding the Clean Energy Fund exacerbates public health and social inequities. Residents exposed to greater levels of air pollution, which consistently fall along race and class lines, are disproportionately burdened with detrimental health impacts that Clean Energy Fund investments are meant to address. Simply put, the continued raids to the Clean Energy Fund aggravate conditions in New Jersey’s most overburdened communities,” said Senator Linda Greenstein, Vice Chair of the Senate Environment Committee.
“It is time to end the Clean Energy Fund raids. We need to ensure the money goes back to the ratepayers. Doing so, will invest in the health of the State’s residents, and promote a more affordable, reliable, and cleaner energy future,” said Assemblyman James Kennedy (D-16).
The Jersey Renews coalition represents 37 labor, faith, community, environmental justice, business, and environmental organizations across the State that are asking for an end to these raids in the FY23 Budget. The Clean Energy Program, which is supported by the Fund, is a vital tool to support the transition to renewable energy. Unfortunately, over the past 15 years, Governors of both parties diverted more than $2 billion away from supporting clean energy.
This is especially crucial in the wake of the continued COVID-19 pandemic that further exposed inequities in our society. Additionally, these raids exacerbate public health and social inequities. Residents exposed to greater levels of air pollution, which consistently fall along race and class lines, are disproportionately burdened with detrimental health impacts that Clean Energy Fund investments are meant to address. Simply put, the continued raids to the Clean Energy Fund aggravate conditions in New Jersey’s most overburdened communities.
The proposed FY23 Budget will raid $83.6 million from the Clean Energy Fund apparently to support New Jersey Transit’s operating budget, and the Department of Corrections. However, the State’s budgetary surplus is projected to exceed $6.75 billion.
“Protecting the Clean Energy Fund in the FY23 budget is critical to expand a wide range of programs to reduce air pollution, develop clean and renewable sources of energy, lower rates and create good, family sustaining jobs. This is especially crucial in the wake of the continued COVID-19 pandemic that further exposed inequities in our society,” said Asm. John McKeon (D-27).
Supportive Quotes from Members of the Jersey Renews Coalition & Supportive Organizations
“It is time to end the raids on the Clean Energy Fund. New Jersey weathered the pandemic’s financial storm and now is the time for the Legislature and Gov. Murphy to fully fund the Clean Energy Fund by ending these ongoing raids of more than $80 million. It’s time to fight climate change without holding one hand behind our backs and this is the year to end these raids,” said Doug O’Malley, Director, Environment New Jersey. “We thank Sen. Zwicker and Sen. Gopal for prime sponsoring and co-priming this resolution and all the legislators in the Senate and Assembly who are supporting this budget resolution to end the raids, and we urge legislative leadership to restore these funds.”
“SEIU 32BJ thanks the sponsor and cosponsors of S373. In a year of a record surplus, we should make sure Clean Energy Fund programs that help low and moderate income New Jerseyans like Comfort Partners and Energy Assistance are fully funded. We can only do this by ending the raids of the Clean Energy Fund,” said Kevin Brown, Executive Vice President and NJ State Directors, SEIU 32BJ.
“This is the moment to fully fund the Clean Energy Fund so we can continue to make progress on our climate goals and create jobs in New Jersey. Thank you to Senator Zwicker and to all the co-sponsors for sponsoring a resolution to end the raids,” said Debra Coyle, executive director, NJ Work Environment Council.
“The road to energy justice was to be funded in part by the Clean Energy Fund, yet hardly a dime ever reached the very people and communities that most needed warmth in the winter and relief from the summer heat,” said Amy Goldsmith, NJ State Director, Clean Water Action. “With a state budget out of crisis and climate emergency advancing at lightning speed, no more excuses, no more raids. 100% of the Clean Energy Fund must be directly invested in the communities, and families it was intended to lift up in the first place. Anything less in a ratepayer and energy injustice.”
“We need to end the continuous raids to the Clean Energy Fund. The Fund is meant to support projects that make our homes more resilient and energy efficient, along with promoting green jobs. Energy efficiency and weatherization are some of the most cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gasses and air pollution. This is especially important since emissions from residential homes and buildings are the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey,” said Anjuli Ramos- Busot, New Jersey Director of the Sierra Club.
“There is simply no way that the state can meet its climate change goals while continuing to raid the Clean Energy Fund. The raids need to stop this year, and funds need to be invested in good paying green jobs for the state’s black and brown communities,” said Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of Green Faith.
“Clean Energy Fund diversions undercut the confidence that companies require to commit to the long-term investments needed to help create a more equitable clean energy economy,” said Richard Lawton, executive director, NJ Sustainable Business Council. “If we are to actualize the potential economic benefits of the clean energy transition, policy makers must follow through on their commitments.”
“Residents of the state pay the Societal Benefits Charge on their utility bills and expect their dollars to be used to increase energy efficiency, spur growth in clean, renewable energy, and be invested back in our communities,” said Drew Tompkins, coordinator, Jersey Renews. “Thank you Senator Zwicker and co-sponsors for Resolution S373 which calls for an end to the raid on the Clean Energy Fund in this budget so we can put the dollars where they were intended to be used.”
Supportive Organizations To End the Clean Energy Fund Budget Raids
- Action Together New Jersey, Winn Khuong, Executive Director
- AFT New Jersey, Jennifer Higgins, Treasurer
- 32BJ SEIU, Kevin Brown, Executive VP & NJ State Director
- Black Issues Convention, Rev. Ronald Tuff
- Clean Water Action NJ, Amy Goldsmith, Executive Director
- Core Metrics, Franklin Neubauer, Principal,
- El Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas (CATA), Jessica Culley, Director
- Energy Efficiency Alliance of New Jersey, Jeannine Zappa, Executive Director
- Environmental Defense Fund, Mary Barber, NJ State Affairs Director
- Environment New Jersey, Doug O’Malley, Director
- GreenFaith, Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director
- Green Muslims, Saffet A. Catovic, Imam & Chair
- Health Care Without Harm, Dan Quinlan, Senior Advisor
- HPAE, Debbie White, President
- Indivisible Highland Park, Kevin Dougherty, Steering Committee
- Isles Inc., Ben Haygood, Director, Environmental Health Policy
- Jobs To Move America, Berenice Tompkins, NJ Senior Campaign Organizer
- Make the Road NJ, Sara Cullinane, State Director
- NAACP State Chapter, Keith Voos, Environmental & Climate Justice Committee
- Natural Resources Defense Council, Eric Miller, NJ Program Director
- New Jersey Audubon, Eileen Murphy, Ph.D, Vice President
- New Jersey LCV, Ed Potosnak, Executive Director
- New Jersey PIRG, Emma Horst-Martz, Energy Advocate
- New Jersey Policy Perspective, Nicole Rodriguez, President
- New Jersey Sustainable Business Council, Richard Lawton, Executive Director
- New Jersey State Nurse Association, Judy Schmidt, CEO
- New Jersey Work Environment Council, Deb Coyle, Executive Director
- New Labor, Lou Kimmel, Executive Director
- Rethink Energy NJ/ NJ Conservation Foundation, Tom Gilbert, Co-Executive Director
- Sanctuary Foundation for Veterans, LaShaunda Carter, CEO
- Sierra Club – NJ Chapter, Anjuli Ramos-Burcot, Executive Director
- SolaVida.org, Dan Quinlan, Executive Director
- Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Renae Reynolds, Executive Director
- Unitarian Universalist FaithAction NJ, Charles Loflin, Executive Director
- United Steelworkers District 4, Del Vitale, Director
- Vote Solar, Elena Weismann, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director
- Wind of the Spirit, Immigrant Resource Center, Diana Meija, Co-Director