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Make NJ great again, one pipeline and well at a time

Natural gas pipelines
Natural gas pipelines (Katja Buchholz/Getty Images)

New Jersey has an affordability crisis. Debt, unfunded pension liabilities and taxes all topping the charts.

Looking at the “debt clock” for our home state, it’s clear we’re in trouble. Then there’s the frightening picture of what our debt and inability to pay our bills looks like as a cost to each taxpayer in New Jersey…nearly $70,000 and getting worse. This is what we know.

What we don’t know is how we solve the problem. On one side, you have politicians saying that the crisis can only be resolved by cutting spending. And spending cuts can only happen if you elect a legislature committed to changing the way our government operates. Gov. Chris Christie talked a great game on this when he was running against Jon Corzine but he clearly failed miserably. Taxes, debt and unpaid bills continue to climb all with a GOP governor in office with the power of the line item veto. What’s worse is the GOP minority in the legislature is complicit, backing the governor on raising your gas tax and sitting early silent as the governor rammed through new borrowing on the state house renovation.

Maybe the worst offense from the Republican in New Jersey is the fact that the State GOP organization diverted money from local candidates and spent heavy on advertising to pass ballot question #2. It passed and more borrowing is coming, up to an additional $12 billion. Bottom line is that the GOP has no answer.

On the Democratic side it’s even worse. They just don’t lie about it. To former ambassador and gubernatorial front runner Phil Murphy’s credit, he’s already stated publicly that he will, in fact, raise taxes. Add to that his Goldman Sachs ties and we’re looking at heavy taxes to allow for new borrowing. And one of the biggest problems is that even with new taxes, you’ve got the problem of having to service the existing debt.

Some say elect more Republicans to balance the likely Democratic majority. The GOP leaders will tell you that if we had a majority of Republicans during Christie’s terms we would have restored fiscal responsibility. Not likely. The politicians can’t help themselves. If they get a chance to take more of your money and spending it to protect their office, they’ll likely do just that.

This morning, I had a chance to speak with my friend and Republican Sen. Kip Bateman. I was annoyed at a statement he made pushing the Delaware River Basin Commission to ban fracking in the area permanently.

What does this have to do with New Jersey? The answer was about public safety and more research in order to ensure safe water for generations to come. To me it sounded like the teach in the Charlie Brown cartoons. Forget about the incredible safety record for fracking wells and the nearly nonexistent problems with ground water.  Forget that pipelines are the absolute safest way to transport gas from fracking and forget that we’ve been fracking and moving natural gas for the past 60 years. Even if you believe that their is more research to be done, the senator and many others like him are asking the wrong questions. Instead of acting like lawyers and bureaucrats and ruining a good deal when they see it, why not ask questions that will lead us to progress and revenue?

My point is simple. The right question is how do we get more fracking wells and more pipelines to eventual make New Jersey an export state and create a windfall for the government and a rebate and tax reduction for our citizens? With the Marcellus shale all around us there is simply no reason not to take full advantage. See Alaska, for example.

Beyond the potential for exporting natural gas, there’s the clean, safe and incredibly lucrative potential of off shore drilling. Billions in tax revenue and jobs await. If only we had political leaders with the courage and independence from special interests and fear mongering propagandist to act.

Back to the issue at hand. Fracking. It’s a good thing and it needs to be welcome in New Jersey. According to  former President Obama’s own EPA director there was no evidence of drinking water contamination. And the propaganda from GasLand?  Basically a fantasy in order to push a false narrative and scare people into pushing back against the most important energy source in America. On a side note relating to the “fire water,” did you know George Washington was lighting the water in Griggstown in the 1700s?
Facts really do have a tendency to get in the way of political narratives. And then those pesky facts that get in the way of political sound bites.

Let’s get down to business. Fracking is safe. Pipelines are safe. We need a revenue source beyond the the false projections from politicians like Christie on electronic gaming— remember that one? And we certainly can’t stake our economic future on legal pot, because $300 million ain’t gonna cut it.

Let’s get through the fear and the misinformation. Let’s embrace the energy industry and make sure that we have a comprehensive plan going forward to increase production, jobs and revenue. Stop trying to slow down and ban things because someone is scared about a movie. Build the wells. Drill Offshore. Pipe it through the state and get paid. It’s your future. And right now the politicians are leading many of you right to the exit.

Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea.

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