Empower NJ - Stop Fossil Fuels Press Conference: Statement of Amy Goldsmith, NJ State Director of Clean Water Action

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
NJ_EmpowerNJ_Amy Goldsmith speaking at press conference_photo by David Pringle

"If the Governor is going to achieve his public commitment to 100% clean energy by 2050, as well as uphold the state’s commitment to the GWRA and US Climate Alliance, NJ must direct public and private R&D, capital investments and job creation almost exclusively towards renewable energy and energy efficiency from this day forth. This is key to addressing the climate crisis, and to not make it worse.

The Governor’s Economic Development Plan of 2018 calls for “investing in people and …communities” as we grow a green economy. Aspirational plans while laudable are not enough. We call for long term economic stability, fewer climate disruptions and more family supporting union jobs across the green energy spectrum and in low income and of color communities that are traditionally left behalf behind and bear the greatest economic/health burdens.

In the Empower NJ report (page 13-14), we cite:

A 2017 Department of Energy report demonstrates that clean electricity jobs are the engine that drives American’s electric energy economy, outstripping the number of paychecks provided by the fossil fuel industry (coal, gas and oil workers) by at least five to one.

Conversely, if we invest more in fossil fuels, money will be locked up for 30+years in dirty power, fewer incentives and less demand for renewables will occur, and NJ will lose its chance to create more green jobs than fossil fuel projects can produce.

In our call for no more fossil fuel projects, Empower NJ seeks to leave no one behind. We demand a just transition (wages, skill transfer and placement) for displaced fossil fuel and union workers. Whether an electrician, carpenter, laborer…, there is a role and union job for you in the green economy.

Numerous other reports demonstrate that green jobs will grow. But there are other economic forces that favor green energy. The Oil Change International report states:

“The cost of building and operating renewable energy is coming down fast and is close to parity with gas and coal, and in some cases already out performing those sources….”

Our climate cannot wait for us to act, neither can New Jersey’s economy. The road towards a new green economy is not without challenges; but our report is proof that we are heading towards certain climate destruction, economic setbacks and other hardships if we allow any of the fossil fuel projects (proposed or under construction) to be completed. The public and our planet should not pay the price of the fossil fuel industry’s greed and wrong doing."


Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. Clean Water Action has more than 125,000 members in New Jersey. www.cleanwater.org/nj

Amy Goldsmith, Clean Water Action