Friday, April 23, 2010

Kudos to Chris Christie

Betcha never thought you’d see that headline on this blog.  Well, file this in the “give credit where credit is due” category – with a small dose of skepticism.

The governor made two significant announcements on energy recently.   First, he expressed his opposition to drilling for liquefied natural gas (LNG) off our shores.  Because the ocean is an unforgiving environment, any off-shore drilling is fraught with risks.  The proposed project would build offshore artificial islands for the extraction and production of the gas.  LNG is especially risky because it is difficult and dangerous to store and transport.  The governor correctly assessed that any benefit in jobs and energy production are not enough to take on those risks.

Also in the energy arena, the governor signed into law legislation that will make it easier to install solar-powered electricity generators within the state.  This law is a trade-off between renewable energy and land use, but reaches a reasonable middle ground on how these solar panels can be implemented.   The bill received bipartisan support in the legislature and is a step toward effective use of renewable energy.

I hope I’m not being too cynical by thinking that there’s a hidden agenda in Christie’s actions.   Do his cronies stand to benefit from these changes?  At a recent Energy Forum at Rutgers, the governor said,”The Lieutenant Governor and I are setting up a regulatory environment that is friendly to business.”  Those are code words for less safety and environmental regulation. 

The jury is still out on Christie’s environmental record, but his approaches to LNG and solar energy are a good start.

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