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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 4/17/00
00/30
CONTACT: Peter Page or Amy Collings
609-984-1795 or 609-292-2994

SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVES UNDERWAY IN NEW JERSEY; CORPORATE & ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS SUPPORT STATE'S PLAN

Supported by several leading business executives, State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn today detailed a plan to curtail greenhouse gas emissions that will help address the problem of rising sea levels and improve air quality as well.

At a news conference today in Trenton, attended by supporters from both the business and environmental communities, Shinn said his agency is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 3.5 percent below the 1990 levels by the year 2005, and detailed five strategies to meet this goal.

"With many New Jerseyans concerned about a recurrence of the severe flooding we experienced last fall, I want to commend those who are committed to taking steps to assure the sustainability of our coastal and flood-prone areas, and make this state a better place to live, work and raise a family," said Governor Christie Whitman, who has earmarked $320,000 in the proposed FY01 budget to implement the DEP greenhouse gas action plan. The reduction of greenhouse gases is a goal of Governor Whitman's Sustainable State Project.

"Given the actions that have been taken to date, clearly we have an achievable goal. I commend each of the businesses and agencies represented here today for their initiatives which prove that emissions reduction is good for our economy as well as our environment," said Commissioner Shinn.

Greenhouse gases, predominantly from the burning of oil, coal and other fuels for heating, cooling and motor vehicles, warm the Earth's atmosphere, causing ice fields to melt which increases sea levels. Over time, this increases coastal flooding, threatening the state's tourism industry, ecosystems, residential communities, and natural resources. Warmer temperatures also increase evaporation and the frequency and intensity of rainstorms.

"If sea levels continue to rise and intense flooding occurs as predicted, our environment and our economy will suffer. In addition, higher heat means more summertime smog and pollution, endangering the health of young children, those who work or exercise outdoors, the elderly, and especially persons with asthma or other respiratory problems," said Shinn

Unhealthy levels of smog or ozone were recorded on 46 days last summer in New Jersey. In other words, even healthy individuals could suffer the effects of smog nearly twice each week that summer.

New Jersey produces about 2 percent of the nation's greenhouse gases, approximately 130 million tons a year. While many other states have developed action plans to reduce their emissions, New Jersey is among the first to move toward implementation and is the first to commit to reducing these emissions 3.5 percent below the 1990 levels by the year 2005. In addition, it is the first to sign an agreement with a foreign nation the Netherlands to work jointly on climate change issues to reduce sea-level rise.

The Action Plan
New Jersey's action plan calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 20 million tons (from the projected 151 million tons in 2005 to the goal of 131 million tons by that date) through initiatives in five areas: energy conservation, pollution prevention, innovative technologies, recycling and solid waste management and natural resource protection. If nothing is done, emissions are projected to rise 6 percent annually.

Specifically, the plan would achieve a 6.2 million ton reduction through energy conservation initiatives in residential, commercial and industrial buildings, another 6.3 million ton reduction through innovative technologies in residential, commercial and industrial buildings, a 2.2 million ton reduction through energy conservation and innovative technologies in the transportation sector, a 4.5 million ton reduction through waste management improvements, and a half million ton reduction through natural resource conservation.

Examples include: proper car maintenance to improve fuel efficiency, greater use of mass transit and alternate fueled vehicles, use of more energy efficient appliances in the home, use of more efficient commercial and residential heating and cooling systems, lighting system upgrades in commercial establishments, use of fuel cells in industrial and commercial settings, greater recycling to reduce waste generation, tree planting to reduce carbon dioxide levels, and reducing or using energy lost through inefficient industrial processes. One study showed that in New Jersey, 21 percent of energy designated for use in industrial activities is wasted due to inefficient processes.

Supporters
"New Jersey's action today illustrates the type of state and private sector leadership that is critical to addressing global warming and related sea level rise. The Center for Clean Air Policy commends New Jersey for being the first state in the nation to step up to the plate and commit to greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and we urge others to follow in their footsteps,"said Ned Helme, executive director of the Center for Clean Air Policy.

"Without question, this action plan will help make the Garden State greener," said Michael Catania, executive director of The Nature Conservancy of New Jersey. "The vast majority of all greenhouse gases in New Jersey are carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuel. This plan recognizes the natural ability of trees to filter out carbon dioxide and convert it to oxygen. The Nature Conservancy is proud to support the open space preservation objectives of this plan."

"I applaud New Jersey's plan and am pleased that EPA could assist in its development, both through more than $400,000 in grants and technical assistance. The plan will help New Jersey meet, and perhaps even exceed, its goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 3.5% by 2005," said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox. "New Jersey businesses from across the state are here to prove that addressing the challenge of global warming is not about ratcheting down our economy. It's about economic growth. By using available technologies, the typical manufacturing plant can cut its pollution and energy use by 10 to 20 percent and recoup its investment in two years."

Dale Bryk of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Jim Tripp of the Environmental Defense Fund also were on hand to express support for the state's plan. Other supporters include:

  • Cosmair, Inc., maker L'Oreal hair care products, with facilities in Clark, NJ, was represented at the news conference today by Ken Kraly, director of engineering. Cosmair already has reduced greenhouse gases significantly through pollution prevention initiatives and other strategies.

  • Lucent Technologies Inc. of Morristown, NJ, represented by Barbara L. Ennis, director of global external affairs. Lucent has made substantial progress in reducing greenhouse gases, especially through infrastructure improvements and waste management initiatives.

  • Philips Lighting Co. of Somerset, NJ, represented by Paul Walitsky, manager of environmental affairs. Through its energy-conserving light bulbs and lighting systems that reduce electrical demand and therefore reduce greenhouse gas production, Philips has significantly furthered the goals of the state's action plan.

  • Johnson & Johnson of New Brunswick, represented by Energy Services Director Harry Kauffman. J&J has reduced energy use by more than 20 percent in less than 10 years, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 700 million pounds.

  • The Naval Air Engineering Station of Lakehurst, represented by Commanding Officer Stephen J. Himes, whose organization has converted more than half of its fleet vehicles to natural gas, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from each vehicle by as much as 90 percent. The station's emissions management plan is the prototype for the U.S. Navy. The station is in the process of converting 33 buildings to gas heat, which will reduce emissions by up to 50 percent and will pay for itself in less than two and a half years.

  • DuPont Chambers Works of Deepwater, represented by Manufacturing Services Unit Manager Ann Mersman. Since 1993, DuPont Chambers Works' energy conservation initiatives have reduced CO2 emissions 33 percent while production has remained unchanged.

  • GPU Energy of Morristown, represented by Residential Energy Efficiency Programs Supervisor Frank Migneco. Over the past seven years, GPU Energy's energy efficiency programs have saved in excess of 410 million kilowatt hours of energy enough to serve more than 50,000 average residential customers for a year. In the covenant with DEP, GPU Energy has committed to support the action plan through implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs pursuant to Section 12 of the Electric Discount & Energy Competition Act of 1999.

  • PSE&G of Newark, represented by Frederick Lynk, manager of Demand Side Marketing. PES&G is facilitating emissions reductions through energy efficiency initiatives, especially in the residential sector. It has avoided more than 2.2 million tons of CO2 since its conservation program began.

  • Schering-Plough Corporation of Union, represented by Joseph Nusser, senior director of Environmental Compliance and Projects, whose firm has cut greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent from 1993 levels through the use of cleaner burning fuels and the installation of low NOx burners.

  • The Nature Conservancy, which is helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through open space preservation, represented today by Communications Assistant Amy Berridge.

  • NJ Dept. of Transportation Commissioner Jim Weinstein, whose agency is furthering the development and use of alternate-fueled vehicles and fuel cell technology.

  • NJ Dept. of Community Affairs Commissioner and Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission Chairwoman Jane Kenny. DCA's energy efficiency housing initiative and HMDC's landfill capping program both reduce greenhouse gases.

Each was recognized for their achievements that serve as models for other businesses and agencies.

The state Department of Community Affairs has issued its first awards under New Jersey's pioneering Sustainable Development/Affordable Housing Pilot Program. The $17 million program, a partnership with PSE&G, provides low- and moderate-income housing that meets strict energy and environmental standards. The U.S. departments of Housing and Urban Development and Energy describe the initiative as a "national model that should be replicated elsewhere."

"The goal of the program is to produce housing that is both low cost to people and low cost to the environment," said DCA Commissioner Jane M. Kenny.

As chair of the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission, Kenny is furthering methane gas emission reductions through a landfill gas extraction program in the Meadowlands.

"Working toward a sustainable environment is in everyone's interest and should be everyone's duty. We in state government must set the example for local governments and residents alike. I am proud that NJDOT is taking an active role to reduce greenhouse gases by helping to develop the use of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles here in New Jersey," State Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein said. "Along with other technology-based projects like electronic toll collection and enhanced automobile emissions testing, as well as our efforts to manage traffic congestion and promote light rail, we are truly living up to our pledge to deliver an environmentally responsible transportation system."

Cause & Effect
The primary greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarabons. The most significant sources of these emissions are the transportation sector, electric power plants, industrial and commercial operations, heating and cooling of residential buildings, and methane from landfills.

During the last 100 years, the sea level along the Atlantic coast has risen 12 inches. The level is projected to rise at an even more rapid pace in the next century. As sea level rises, storms become more damaging. By the year 2050, higher sea levels could make a storm that might presently occur every five years as damaging as storms that now occur only every 20 years.

In addition, a recent analysis of precipitation data from more than 5,000 sampling sites worldwide from 1800 to the late 1980s revealed that episodes of heavy rain and snow, as well as periods of drought, are becoming more frequent.

Incentives & Innovations
During the news conference, Shinn announced that the DEP has launched a new program that gives permit applicants incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, achieve higher levels of pollution prevention, and achieve other agreed upon environmental goals. The Silver and Gold Track Programs for Environmental Excellence is DEP's first broad step toward offering regulatory flexibility to companies with superior track records in exchange for a covenant committing to specified environmental gains. Five applicants have already signed up for the program since it was first offered in late 1999.

Shinn also announced DEP will co-host an international exposition June 5-7 at the new Atlantic City Convention Center for the promotion of innovative technologies, including those designed to reduce greenhouse gases. For more information on the conference, call 609-292-0952. DEP is also co-sponsoring this year's American Tour de Sol, which promotes solar powered cars and other forms of sustainable energy. The unique road rally will run from New York City to Washington D. C. May 12 19, with stops in New Jersey May 15.

More information on the state's greenhouse gas action plan will be available through the DEP website at www.state.nj.us/dep

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