New Jersey’s Top Democrats Defy Sierra Club on Nuclear Power
New Jersey’s Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law last week a bill defining nuclear power as a zero-emissions energy source receiving many of the same privileges as wind and solar power. Senate President Steve Sweeney, also a Democrat, steered the bill through the upper legislative chamber against opposition from the Sierra Club.
“Nuclear power is a clean resource that provides reliability and diversity to the state’s supply of energy,” said Sweeney in a press statement after Murphy signed the bill into law. “The state’s residents and businesses rely on nuclear power for approximately 40 percent of their electricity needs. If nuclear plants close, natural gas plants would likely compensate, adding more carbon to the atmosphere, causing harm to the environment and to public health.”
Sweeney added, “The bottom line is: If nuclear plants are shut down while they’re still able to generate safe, clean and around-the-clock electricity, it will mean more air pollution, fewer jobs and higher bills. That’s moving us in the wrong direction.”
The Sierra Club is advocating laws requiring New Jersey to generate all or the vast majority of its power from wind and solar. With New Jersey Democratic policymakers championing nuclear power as a zero-emissions energy source, nuclear power is likely to hold its market share against more expensive wind and solar power.