Letter Sierra Club Speaks Out Against Nuclear Bail Out

At today’s press conference in Trenton, the Sierra Club is joining other environmental, labor, and social justice groups against the Nuclear Bail Out. Groups such as Clean Water Action, Environment New Jersey, New Jersey Main Street Alliance, and Chemical Counsel will be attending. This Nuclear Bail Out bill, supports Chris Christie’s negotiations to give PSEG subsidies for their nuclear plants in New Jersey. Under this bill, PSEG could start receiving subsidies within a year, despite being profitable enough to have bid into auction. It also includes subsidies to fix up their plants. The bill will be up in the Senate Environment and Energy Committee and the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 10:00 AM. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club has released the following statement:

“Just like what’s happening in Washington; in Trenton they’re trying to push through a bill that costs the middle-class money while giving rich corporations massive subsidies. Governor Christie is attempting one last robbery of the people and environment of New Jersey before he leaves office in January with S3560 (Sweeney/Smith). The bill would give PSEG subsidies for their nuclear plants in New Jersey and simultaneously tie Governor-Elect Murphy’s hands when it comes to promoting renewable energy. Christie is trying to dictate New Jersey’s energy policy for the next 40 years, despite the fact that the people want renewable energy, and this bill undermines that.

“The Legislature is going along with the biggest energy tax and corporate subsidy in state history by rushing through this bill. In a reverse-Robin Hood move, they want to take billions of NJ ratepayer money and give it to PSEG to subsidize nuclear power plants that are already making money. What’s worse is that they’re rushing it through in lame duck without proper scrutiny and oversight. Christie only has a few more weeks in office but the Legislature is once again allowing him to push through legislation that undermines Phil Murphy’s renewable energy agenda.

“Giving all this authority to the BPU who just rubberstamps whatever the utilities want, will cost us billions. The BPU has already mismanaged nuclear power in New Jersey. They continued to give these nuclear plants subsidies at the expense of the ratepayers even when they were making money. They could have implementing energy efficiency programs, or decoupling, and instead they haven’t. They should be called the ‘Board of Promoting Utilities’ since they work for the companies they’re supposed to regulate.

“This bill is a direct subsidy from the ratepayers hidden in gobbledygook. Estimates put the subsidies at $320 million a year, which would cost each NJ household almost $41 a year. There are plans currently from the Trump Administration for nuclear subsidies at three different agencies. This means PSEG could double or even triple dip. PSEG wanted deregulation to allow their plants to compete in the marketplace. Now they that got it, they want more subsidies. They’ve already received billions in subsidies under the Stranded Assest program, despite the plants being profitable.

“New Jersey used to be a leader in clean energy until Governor Christie was elected and now he’s trying to make it worse with his nuclear subsidy bill. The New Jersey Legislature is allowing him to use the bill not only for billions of dollars for nuclear power, but to block renewable energy. Our main goal is to make New Jersey 100% renewable by 2050.  We want to make sure we’re not subsidizing nuclear plants, but more importantly that when the plants close, they need to be replaced by renewable energy. The people overwhelming want clean energy, not more money for nuclear but as usual, Governor Christie is siding with the utilities over New Jersey. This is a great Christmas giveaway to PSEG.”