I’ve called him a gasbag, and predicted he would flip the environmental bird to Camden County and South Jersey by not signing the ban on hydraulic fracturing passed by NJ state legislature earlier this summer. My next guess would have been a series of stall tactics, the likes of which Pennsylvania excels. Surprisingly, Governor Christie neither stalled nor outright vetoed. (No one thought he’d actually approve the measure, not just like that.) Turns out, he took a refreshingly moderate path with a conditional veto of the fracking ban, and the prudent step of proposing a moratorium on gas drilling for one year.
It’s worthwhile to note, there’s not much gas to be fracked in New Jersey. It is, however, a huge market for gas, not to mention a major point of export for liquified natural gas. Maybe New Jersey ought to learn to live with a little more toxic pollution, too? Maybe spread it around a bit in all those soggy wetlands and estuaries, yes? No. Not according to Governor Christie. He also wants more study of this highly controversial extraction method, but does the funding exist? Well, I now predict that if anyone can get to the bottom of this fracking thing – and maybe even begin to get gas right – it could be him.
Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) is a member of the all-important, perpetually hamstrung Delaware River Basin Commission. The DRBC is the sole entity who can stop, or approve, industrial gas drilling in the Delaware River Watershed. He is joined by the governors of New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, along with other appointed officials. According to the Department of Energy, New Jersey has the 7th highest Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard in the nation at 22.5%. Environmentally, Christie’s no Peter Shumlin (D-VT), but luckily for the Mid-Atlantic region’s shared, sensitive – and beleaguered – ecology, he’s no legislative slouch either.