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New Jersey Governor Signs Global Warming Response Act

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August 22, 2007

New Jersey became the third state to adopt goals for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases when Governor Jon Corzine signed the Global Warming Response Act into law on July 6. Tracking many of the provisions of an executive order that the Governor signed in February, the Act calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 (a reduction of approximately 20 percent), and by 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050.

To measure progress toward these goals, DEP is directed to develop inventories of 1990, current, and 2006 emissions of greenhouse gases, and to adopt regulations establishing a monitoring and reporting program for such emissions. The regulations will apply to manufacturers and distributors of fossil fuels, gas utilities, electricity generators, and companies that generate electricity outside New Jersey that is delivered for end use within the state. Over the next several years, DEP, in consultation with several other state agencies, will make recommendations on specific measures needed to meet the 2020 and 2050 goals, which will then be reviewed by an independent review panel. By 2015, DEP must also evaluate various ecological, economic, environmental, and technological factors that affect the attainment and maintenance of those goals.

The legislation also amends section 38 of Electric Discount and Energy Competition Act of 1999, N.J.S.A. 48:3-87, to authorize the Board of Public Utilities to adopt standards that require utilities to reduce electricity and gas usage by 2020 to levels that are 20 percent below projected levels. Other amendments seek to put all electricity suppliers on an equal footing by requiring the board to adopt, in the event New Jersey implements its own or regional requirements for reducing emissions, regulations to mitigate “leakage,” i.e., increases in greenhouse gas emissions from electric generation sources outside the state that provide electricity to New Jersey.