Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Christie's Ill Wind

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Christie's Ill Wind

Article excerpt

BACK DURING the heady days of his first term, long before he began traveling from state to state campaigning and contemplating serious hopes of winning the presidency, and long before he began his rightward-leaning political transformation, Governor Christie sounded for all the world like a reformer for renewable energy, so much so that he signed on to the state's push toward offshore wind development as a smart, and potentially profitable, venture.

"Developing New Jersey renewable energy resources and industry is critical to our state's manufacturing and technology future," Christie said when he signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act in August 2010. He said his administration would maintain a strong commitment to making the state "a national leader in the wind power movement."

Whatever breeze the governor was feeling at his back when he made such statements has long since died down, and New Jersey's chances of becoming a major player in the industry seem to be dying along with it. Flash forward five years, and, according to Sen. Bob Smith, D-Middlesex, who heads the state Senate's Environment and Energy Committee, "the governor has done everything he can to put hurdles in the path of offshore wind."

As Staff Writer James M. O'Neill reported, the state Board of Utilities has repeatedly rejected a seemingly reasonable proposal by Fishermen's Energy to build a small wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City as a pilot project. What's more, five years after the Legislature directed it to do so, the board has yet to complete an essential funding mechanism for offshore wind projects that would guarantee a buyer for the energy they produce.

If all this sounds familiar, it's because it sounds eerily similar to the Christie administration's foot dragging on getting the state's medical marijuana bill off the ground and becoming fully functional. …

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