Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Is New Jersey's global warming law just hot air?

In New Jersey, it's sometimes difficult to separate the Democrats from the Republicans. Public opinion polls consistently demonstrate that voters are moderate-to-liberal on virtually all important public issues. Such conformity may engender social comity, but it sure takes a lot of the fun out of public debate.

One public figure, however, who is unflagging in his efforts to shake things up is Steve Lonegan, a maverick, libertarian Republican who also happens to be the Mayor of Bogota, NJ. He's also an unsuccessful candidate for governor and the executive director of Americans for Prosperity - New Jersey, a decidedly right-leaning organization that champions "limited government and free markets."

In an op-ed piece that ran in yesterday's Asbury Park Press, Lonegan challenges the wisdom of the state's recently enacted Global Warming Response Act which sets specific deadlines for the reduction of greenhouse gases. He writes:

"It's the height of folly to think a single state, New Jersey, can. Even if all industry ceased to exist in New Jersey, and the state never emitted another molecule of carbon dioxide, the effect on global climate would be meaningless.

This is all about symbolism, of course, and Corzine and Gore hope to set an example for other states and countries, they say. Unfortunately, that symbolism will cost many New Jersey workers and entrepreneurs their livelihood. New Jersey has lost 8,000 private sector jobs in seven years, and this "politically correct" feel-good nonsense will accelerate that sorry trend.

New Jersey is a major petroleum refining state and is one of the primary suppliers of petroleum products to the Northeast. It's also one reason why gasoline prices are low in our state. This law will cripple that industry, costing the state one of its few remaining engines of growth, and it will serve as a hidden gasoline tax on every motorist in New Jersey."

Check out the entire piece here. Then click on the "comments" line below and let us know what you think. Is the new law just political posturing or is it a responsible reaction to an undeniable environmental crisis?

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