Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Christie's War on the Environment Continues

Ever since he took office, Chris Christie has been an enemy of clean air and clean water. One of his first actions as Governor was to cancel the ARC Tunnel project. Not only was that project a job creator, but when completed, it also would have made train travel into New York City more attractive, taking cars off the road and reducing pollution-spewing traffic jams.

Then, in a paean to his Koch Brothers benefactors, he pulled out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, another program that would have resulted in cleaner air and would have helped to slow down anthropogenic climate change.

Now, his administration has blocked the direct sale of electric automobiles to drivers. Tesla, a premier innovator in practical electric vehicles, has a direct-to-customer business model which bypasses auto dealerships, which I predict will eventually go the way of rotary telephones and 8-track music players.

Besides obviously damaging our environment, these actions have another common thread – they were all done unilaterally without even consulting the supposedly co-equal branch of the state legislature.

Like the bridge scandal and the AshBritt scandal and the politicization of the Supreme Court, to name a few, Christie probably didn’t do anything illegal. But his actions were based on the best interests of his cronies, not the best interests of the people of New Jersey.

Without clean air to breathe and pure water to drink, all of the other problems facing us as a society pale in comparison. Instead of promoting for-profit schools and privatization of government services, we should be promoting electric charging stations, distributed power generation, renewable energy, and 21st century updates to our transmission systems. It is imperative that the environmental champions in our legislature speak out loudly and often to inform the public about Christie’s blunders, to educate and energize citizens to advocate for the environment, and to put the brakes on Christie’s harmful activities.