Menendez Votes Against Energy Bill

Menendez Votes Against Energy Bill

Bill threatens NJ with coastline drilling and unwanted power lines. Does not do enough to promote clean energy.

Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today voted against the energy bill in committee, citing its failure to go far enough to go far enough in spurring the production of clean energy. Menendez cited a few issues with the legislation, including:

• Setting a renewable energy standard that amounts to less than 9% by 2021. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has found it would be below business as usual. President Obama had called for a standard of 25 percent by 2025. This standard represents the percentage of energy generated by utilities that must come from renewable sources.

• Allowing expanded coastline drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and setting a narrow buffer zone of only 45 miles from the coast. Oil companies already have access to 68 million acres that they are not using. In addition, the narrow buffer zone could set a risky precedent for states like New Jersey, which could be affected by coastline drilling off of nearby states.

• Electricity transmission provisions that would encourage new lines to be built from coal generators into New Jersey and would make it difficult for homeowners to prevent lines from being sited in their back yards.

"I appreciate Chairman Bingaman's fair and open process on this legislation, but I have strong reservations about the legislation that was produced," said Menendez. "In the last election, the prevailing message coming from both political parties and ultimately the voters was a simple one: change. But to me this bill has too much traditional thinking that will not point us in a direction that creates enough jobs, lowers energy costs enough or produces enough clean energy.

"I also have strong concerns about this bill's potential effects on families in New Jersey. It lays the groundwork for unwanted power lines running through personal property in our state and it sets a precedent that could bring oil rigs close to the Jersey Shore. I am standing up in strong opposition to those provisions.

"I certainly support important provisions in this bill to improve efficiency in buildings, appliances and throughout the Federal government, to cut energy costs to consumers and reduce some emissions. I also support important measures to make our oil markets more transparent and less vulnerable to manipulation.

"However, at the end of the day, I do not think this bill in its current form does enough yet to change our energy paradigm, to create green jobs, to make us a stronger more independent nation, or to address our climate crisis. I look forward to working closely with Chairman to improve this bill on the floor."

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