Using ratepayer money to build new power plants is unconstitutional. That’s how one of NJ’s top environmentalists interprets a U.S. District Court ruling.

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The legislation in question offers $3 billion in subsidies over 15-year period for the construction of three new natural gas plants in Old Bridge, Newark, and Woodbridge. The New Jersey Sierra Club is applauding the decision claiming it will save ratepayers money while protecting the environment.

“This is a victory for clean air and for ratepayers,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This court decision prevents one of the biggest corporate subsidies and rate payer giveaways in state history. This bill was nothing, but fossil fuel pay to play. It would have promoted fracking as well as air pollution.”

The money saved can be used for investments in wind and solar says Tittel. He insisted that would create thousands of permanent jobs while reducing air pollution. Tittel said after the devastation after Superstorm Sandy the money could be better spent protecting New Jersey's coast from sea level rise and rebuilding our economy.

“These plants received more corporate welfare than any facility in New Jersey’s history and with this court case now New Jersey consumers are off the hook for paying the bill,” said Tittel. “This shows it was more about taking care of special interest not about taking care of the electricity needs for the people of New Jersey.”