Menendez Implores Christie to Reconsider Stance on Pollution Rule

Menendez Implores Christie to Reconsider Stance on Pollution Rule

Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today called on Governor Chris Christie to reconsider his position regarding an EPA measure that would protect New Jersey from toxic winds generated by polluting power plants located in other states. Yesterday, press reports indicated Christie was not sure he would join colleagues from other Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states in defending the measure which is being challenged in federal court.

"I hope you will ultimately decide to support the EPA's rule so as not to put the interests of out-of-state polluters or the economic interests of neighboring states ahead of the public health or economic interests of New Jerseyans," Menendez said in a letter sent to the Governor today.

FULL TEXT OF LETTER FOLLOWS:

Dear Governor Christie:

I am writing today to seek a clarification on your position regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the first major regulation designed specifically to protect eastern states like New Jersey from polluting power plants to our west.

Yesterday, according to press accounts, you indicated you were not sure if you would join your Mid Atlantic and Northeast colleagues in defending this rule. If this is indeed your position, I would strongly urge you to reconsider since the Cross State Air Pollution Rule will:

· save over 1,200 lives per year in New Jersey starting in 2014

· save up to 34,000 lives, prevent 400,000 asthma attacks, and avoid 1.8 million lost work or sick days per year nationally;

· create economic benefits that are estimated to be between $120 billion and $280 billion each year.

As you know, New Jersey is one of the states most directly impacted from polluters to our west. As a matter of fact, on Monday, you praised the EPA for forcing the Portland Generating Station in Pennsylvania to reduce air pollution emissions by over 80%. You stated in your press release on Monday that it is a priority of your Administration "to achieve improved air quality for all residents of New Jersey." That's exactly why we need the EPA's pollution rule.

It is also why the New Jersey business community supports the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the state's largest utility, PSE&G, understand that once states to our west are forced to clean up their power generation sector (the way New Jersey already has), our businesses will finally be able to compete on a level playing ground.

I hope you will ultimately decide to support the EPA's rule so as not to put the interests of out-of-state polluters or the economic interests of neighboring states ahead of the public health or economic interests of New Jerseyans.

I urge you to publicly clarify this matter immediately because, as soon as Tuesday, the Senate may vote on a proposal by Senator Rand Paul to overturn this rule that is so vital to New Jersey. Any indication that a northeastern Governor like yourself supports Senator Paul Rand's efforts could put the EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the public health of our state at risk.

Thank you,

Robert Menendez

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