There's a chance that Chris Christie may face Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley in the race for President in 2016. That's a race I'd work hard for an O'Malley win. But there's another race - today - between these two men, and that's one that I'd like Chris Christie to win, even though he's not acting like he's even in the game.
The race I'm referring to is to become the predominant state for the offshore wind manufacturing and support industry. The Atlantic Ocean is a ripe territory to harness this energy, both in terms of favorable wind patterns and proximity to millions of consumers. In this race, O'Malley is preparing his state to reap these economic benefits while Christie has hitched his energy wagon to the Koch Brothers and the "drill, baby, drill" GOP platform.
Two years ago, Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA), but his administration has been stagnant on providing regulations and support to make any progress. Today, at the site of the Paulsboro Marine Terminal, elected officials and the Director of the Sierra Club held a press conference to urge the governor to take action.
The site, across the river from Philadelphia International Airport, is 193 acres, formerly an oil tank storage facility. It's been remediated and is ready for economic development.
Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club opened the press conference, and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Assemblyman John Burzichelli, and Assemblywoman Celeste Riley spoke. Sweeney indicated that there are developers interested in the site, adjacent to the Delaware River and major overland highways, but nothing can happen until the governor directs his bureaucracy to issue the required permits and regulations. Once this happens, several thousand jobs will be created. These are manufacturing jobs to build the turbines, blades, and other portions of the offshore wind farms, and support jobs for transportation and distribution. But if we wait too long, other states like Maryland may beat us in becoming the center of wind energy on the east coast.
I spoke with Senator Sweeney right after the press conference - his remarks as well as video of the press conference are below.