Prepared by Advocacy & Management Group (AMG)
Legislation Action Items February 2017 – March 2017:
ACR-151/SCR-108 (Diegnan/Eustace/Wimberly) – Urges construction of microgrids at municipal facilities in New Jersey. Supported by the USGBC-NJ in the Assembly in January, with recommendation that all new microgrids consider certification under the PEER rating system for resiliency.
A-2081 (Mukherji) – Provides for priority consideration, by DCA, DEP, DOT, and municipalities, of permit applications for green building projects. The USGBC-NJ has been supportive of this bill in the past but we have reached out to the sponsor, Assemblyman Mukherji, to work with us on improving the definition of “green building project” in the bill.
A-1069 (Bramnick/Burzichelli/Munoz) – Requires DEP to establish “private wildlife habitat certification program”; creates affirmative defense against municipal nuisance ordinances for properties certified under the program.
Synopsis: Legislative Articles of Interest – Smith Energy Bills
Politico New Jersey reported on New Jersey Senator Bob Smith, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, and his introduction of a constitutional amendment and two major energy bills. The constitutional amendment would protect money in the Clean Energy Fund ensuring that dedicated money would be used for clean energy. Both former Governor Corzine and Governor Christie have raided the Clean Energy Fund using its money for other things, often not having anything to do with clean energy or the environment. The practice continues this year with money being diverted for New Jersey Transit among other things. A constitutional amendment would have to be passed by both houses of the Legislature and then approved by voters. The governor does not have the authority to approve or veto a constitutional amendment proposal.
Senator Smith’s clean energy bills would double net-metering in the state and the other would encourage utilities to spend a lot more money on energy efficiency. Smith acknowledged that the bills may be controversial and would likely not be approved by Governor Christie this year. However, he is pushing this legislation in the hopes that they will be fully vetted and digested in preparation for a Democratic governor next year who would likely approve both measures.