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So Called ‘Green Amendment’ Could Actually Halt Projects that Improve the Environment

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, a proposed constitutional amendment that attempts to establish that every person has a legal right to a clean environment could, in fact, block initiatives designed to improve the environment, such as offshore wind projects.

NJBIA Deputy Chief Government Affairs Officer Ray Cantor, who is testifying in opposition to Senate Concurrent Resolution 43 (Greenstein, D-14; Zwicker, D-16) today in the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, said it could also lead to a surge in costly litigation and create uncertainty that would jeopardize financing for public infrastructure and private development projects.

“If this ‘green amendment’ becomes a constitutional provision, those who oppose could legally challenge whether an offshore wind project would pass a ‘pure water’ or ‘preservation of the natural, scenic, historic of esthetic qualities of the environment,’,” Cantor said.

“What if Trenton wanted to demolish a dilapidated, old factory to make way for a new manufacturing facility that promised to bring hundreds of good paying jobs to the capital city? Would that violate the historic preservation guarantees? And who would provide financing for a project subject to a court ruling on a vague constitutional standard?

“These and other numerous questions policymakers need to have the answer to,” Cantor said. “Our concern is many don’t understand the ramifications of this resolution.”

Cantor also warned the so-called “green amendment” essentially transfers policymaking power and important deliberations away from the Legislature and to the courts, with unknown implications.

“It is crafted on the premise that the Legislature cannot be trusted to protect the public and make the right decisions,” Cantor said in written testimony. “It seeks to go around the Legislature, and the Governor and Executive Branch as well, and allow any person to go to the courts to get the result they want.

“(With the legislative process) there is debate, there is compromise, there are hard choices. All sides are represented. Representative democracy works. Sometimes it is messy sausage making. Sometimes we don’t get what we want. But at the end of the day, we make progress. And if we don’t like the results, we have elections.”


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One thought on “So Called ‘Green Amendment’ Could Actually Halt Projects that Improve the Environment

  1. Central planning enriches everyone involved in the central planning and makes everyone else poorer. Every time. It never works as it is sold.

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