Environmental Defense Fund

Coalition: Speaker Prieto Showed Progressive Leadership On Nuclear Tax Issue

Diverse coalition cites innumerable flaws and costs associated with PSEG's bill

Environmental Defense Fund — January 4, 2018

A diverse group of consumer, business and environmental organizations today praised New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) for his leadership and common sense in delaying legislation being pushed by PSEG during the lame-duck session that would increase electric bills for all electricity consumers by $300 million annually even when PSEG is making profits from the plants. The Coalition called on all legislators to oppose S3560/A5330.

Speakers included Mary Barber, Director, New Jersey Clean Energy, Environmental Defense Fund; Dale Bryk, Chief Planning Officer, Natural Resources Defense Council; Evelyn Liebman, Director of Advocacy, AARP New Jersey; Dena Mottola Jaborska, Associate Director, NJ Citizen Action; Doug O'Malley, Executive Director, Environment New Jersey; and Steve Goldenberg, NJ Large Energy Users Coalition.

"AARP applauds Speaker Prieto's actions to stand with our 1.3 million members as well as every resident who pays an electric bill," said Evelyn Liebman, AARP NJ Director of Advocacy. "There never was any good reason to rush this bill through lame duck and now those of us who pay the bills and our elected representatives can take the time to approach this complex issue with all the facts and analyses we need to determine the best course for our state and our economy."

"The nuclear bailout bill is a raw deal for New Jersey's environment and ratepayers that's being rushed to get rubberstamped in the waning days of the Christie era," said Doug O'Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. "Speaker Prieto is exemplifying leadership by not posting this legislation. This issue deserves a clear and transparent process — not a rush to judgment. It can be hard to say no in Trenton, and Speaker Prieto is right to put the brakes on this massive runaway nuclear bailout."

"This is a significant victory for New Jersey energy customers and another clear sign of Assembly Speaker Prieto's progressive leadership," said Dale Bryk, Chief Planning Officer at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Delaying action not only stands up to Chris Christie, it allows a new legislative session and a new governor to take the time necessary to make sure that any policies needed to keep the state's nuclear plants going follow best practices for protecting New Jersey consumers, workers, communities, and the environment."

"This bill would make New Jersey electricity customers powerless to challenge a very unfair rate hike by leaving it all up to the nuclear companies to secure the tax year after year. It also weakens the Board of Public Utilities Authority to scrutinize rate increases and reject them if unwarranted or unfair. Speaker Prieto did right not to post this bill. His action will ensure a more rational and thoughtful conversation about the future of our nuclear power plants in New Jersey can take place this year, under new governor and a new legislature. Thanks to Speaker Prieto for standing up for New Jersey electricity ratepayers," said Dena Mottola Jaborska of New Jersey Citizen Action.

"Delaying this bill is a win for New Jersey and an example of Speaker Prieto's commitment to transparent, good government," said Mary Barber, Director, New Jersey Clean Energy for Environmental Defense Fund. "The Speaker's bold leadership will allow the state's new Governor to thoughtfully address a very important, complex issue and ensure benefits for communities, workers and our environment."

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