Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled the 20 picks for a council meant to steer the state’s burgeoning green energy industry.
This newly minted New Jersey Council on the Green Economy and the overarching Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy would, according to Murphy in a Feb. 24 statement, “build a roadmap for transitioning the workforce into high-quality, family-sustaining clean energy jobs that will provide opportunities for all New Jerseyans.”
State leaders envision a kind of clean energy economy – one centered around offshore and solar wind and the sprawling supply chain and ancillary spending – to be a key component in the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession.
Murphy’s $44.8 billion spending plan unveiled on Feb. 23 calls for $200 million towards an “offshore wind port” in Camden County along the Delaware River. Downstream in Salem County along the Delaware Bay will be a 200-acre dedicated wind port that would serve as a staging ground for shipping out wind turbines across the country.
And the administration is in the midst of bolstering the production of offshore wind facilities that could produce thousands of megawatts of zero-emissions electricity for the state.
“Climate change presents both challenges and opportunities for the interconnected issues of environmental justice and economic development,” Jane Cohen, executive director of both the council and the Office of Climate Action, said in a Feb. 24 statement.
Here’s the full run-down of the list of members on the council:
- Honorary Chair: First Lady Tammy Murphy
- Executive Director: Jane Cohen, executive director, Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy
- Co-Chair: Shawn LaTourette, acting commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
- Co-Chair: Robert Asaro-Angelo, commissioner, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development
- Co-Chair: Joseph Fiordaliso, president, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
- Donnel Baird, founder, BlocPower
- Tom Churchelow, president, New Jersey Utilities Association
- Francisco Cortes, president, NJ State Veterans Chamber of Commerce and Corporate Advisory Board Member of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce New Jersey
- Dave Daly, president, PSE&G
- Kim Gaddy, environmental justice organizer, Clean Water Action
- Aisha Glover, vice president of urban innovation, Audible
- Lisa Jackson, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator and vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives, Apple
- Sean Jackson, chief executive officer, Isles
- Andrea Jung, president and chief executive officer, Grameen America
- John Kennedy, chief executive officer, New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program
- Kevin Lyons, associate professor of supply chain archaeology, Rutgers University
- Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director, New Jersey Work Environment Council
- Bill Mullen, president, New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council
- Alli Gold Roberts, director of state policy, Ceres
- Charlie Wowkanech, president, AFL-CIO
A green, more environmentally friendly economy, Kennedy argued, does not have to be “anti-business if addressed property.”
“We are excited about the overall value this program holds for the future on personal, professional, and business levels,” he said in the statement from the governor’s office.
At stake, according to Asaro-Angelo, would be “career opportunities for tens of thousands of New Jersey workers” should the sustainable energy industry take off.
And Glover contended that the council’s work would “lay the path for… supporting our environmental justice communities.”
Indeed, Murphy announced the creation of the council and office at a press conference in Newark, and in September signed an “environmental justice” bill in the city, selecting the lower-income, minority neighborhoods long plagued by some of the worst pollution in the state.
That measure requires large-scale projects – be it new construction or an expansion – that produce heavy pollution in lower-income, typically African American and Latino communities, to consider the local impact.