Senator Bob Smith Brings NJ's Environmental Issues to Light

Chair of the Senator Environment and Energy Committee, Sen. Bob Smith, talks about the biggest environmental and energy issues facing New Jersey and how he plans to work with the next Governor to overhaul NJ’s environmental and energy policies.

4/1/17 #105






"We are pleased to be joined by State Senator Bob Smith, who is Chair of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. Good to see you Senator. Good to be here. I ask you energy policy in New Jersey, state of affairs of energy policy, you say? Terrible. Come on. That's... right? Do you go to "terrible" right away? I go directly to "terrible". Because? Because we... the leaders in this field should be our Board of Public Utilities, and we've... Excuse me, that's the regulatory body that's supposed to take care of these things, not elected, but appointed? Correct. And they're not doing their job. You know, they think their job is to just deal with rate cases. And that's certainly one of their jobs. But we're not having the leadership that we should have to bring New Jersey, not into the 20th century, but in the 21st century. Example? Well for example, we have a grid. And this grid is vulnerable to things like storm Sandy. It also is an unfriendly grid for renewable energy. Whether it's solar, or wind. And as a matter of fact, one of the biggest failings of the BPU is it had, for five years, the mandate from the legislature and this governor, who's not the most energy friendly guy in the whole world either, to... In your opinion? In... well, it is my opinion, but it's shared by many in the energy field, that they're not working to promote offshore wind at all. What could they do? They should be adopting rules that allow for the appropriate credits to be given to the wind developers. The law was passed more than five years ago, and they've been sitting on it. And that's just one example. They're not making the grid friendly to renewables. They should have... they should require the utilities to put more storage capability on the grid. And that's... that is something that can be done by order. They should be doing more energy efficiency. And they're not. We should be mandating smart thermostats. We should be adopting policies that increase the energy efficiency in our state. And you know, as a result of what I think is a failure of leadership, when the President Mroz was up, and even Commissioner Fiordaliso, both nice guys... These are... I voted against them in the judiciary. Excuse me for interrupting, Senator, these are members of the Board of Public Utilities? Correct. Let me ask you this. If you were to break it down and say, "And this is what it means to the citizens of New Jersey as it relates to energy policy." What does it mean? Higher rates. Alright. They are..."