PISCATAWAY, NJ — A group of environmental activists interrupted the start of Tuesday’s council meeting, shouting “Climate Delay is Climate Denial” as they marched into the municipal building’s chambers demanding Piscataway lawmakers vote down or amend a proposed energy aggregation bill calling it a “dirty ordinance.”
“The ordinance is based off of anarchic energy; fossil fuels such as oil, gas and nuclear,” said Junior Romero of Food & Water Watch, an environmental organization. “There’s no mention of renewable energy.”
However, township business administrator, Tim Dacey explained that the municipality already buys 25% of its energy needs as clean energy.
Dacey said the proposed Government-Private Energy Aggregation Program ordinance that ultimately passed council voting only allows the township to work with Good Energy, LP and the NJ Board of Public Utilities to combine residential and non-residential electricity profiles in order to seek bids for cheaper energy rates.
“We identify and calculate how much energy is needed to power street lights, buildings, and homes and at what prices,” he explained to demonstrators saying the process that begins with passing the ordinance follows state law. “We send this out to bid every 19 months and try to get the best rates to meet electrical needs.”
But activists continued to accuse government officials of misleading the public saying the proposed ordinance should include a plan to address clean energy options and instead promotes the continued use of fossil fuels.
“You don’t have a commitment to renewable energy,” resident Ann Bastion told council members during the public comment period for the meeting. “You don’t have any timelines; you don’t have any goals. You have absolutely nothing that says your aggregation program is going to reach 100 percent renewables by any date.”
Romero and other activists urged the council to table the ordinance vote until language could be included that would immediately transition the township to 100 percent renewable energy.
“What we’re doing is following what the law is in the state of New Jersey in order to do aggregation,” Dacey explained after the vote. “This ordinance allows us to begin the process.”
"Good Energy, a contracted vendor does the bidding, the aggregation, and sets the standards for what we’re looking for. This has nothing to do with what we’re looking for in whatever program we put out.
“All of this is just a legal step in moving towards energy aggregation,” he said. “To refer to this as a dirty ordinance, somebody completely missed the boat on what the purpose is.”
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