Thursday, December 7, 2017

What Do NJ’s Election Results Mean for the Ocean?

What Do NJ’s Election Results Mean for the Ocean?

 – Reflections of Executive Director Cindy Zipf

As most know, there is a new Governor-elect in town.  Phil Murphy will be sworn-in on January 16, 2018.  While many believe he will be better than Chris Christie on the environment, only time
will tell.

What is Murphy’s Ocean Protection Agenda?

NJ stands strong against offshore oil & gas drilling! Does Phil Murphy?
He was generally vague about specific ocean protection issues with the exception of opposing oil and gas development off the Jersey Shore, and perhaps beyond.  He joins every NJ Governor since 1982, which will be important as President Trump drives the expansion of ocean drilling in the coming months.   However, as of yet, he’s been publicly silent on the issue of offshore LNG terminals.  Additionally, will his support of offshore wind be protective of living marine resources?

As a first indication of his environmental priorities, Phil Murphy’s Environment and 
Energy Transition team leans toward renewable energy and climate change issues, a hopeful sign. Among others, the team includes: 

Environment and Energy

Governor Elect, Phil Murphy 
David Crane, former President and CEO, NRG Energy
Jeanne Fox, former President, New Jersey Board of Public 
   Utilities and a past Commissioner of the NJDEP
Kathleen Frangione, former Senior Advisor, Senator John Kerry
Lisa Garcia, Vice President of Litigation for Healthy       Communities, Earthjustice
John S. Watson Jr., Vice President, D&R Greenway Land Trust

The next big clue about the Murphy Administration’s environmental policies will be his appointment of the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; at press time it was unknown. 

COA is ready to guide, educate and motivate the new Governor and his administration on actions to protect the extraordinary marine ecosystem and the clean ocean economy upon which it depends.  Indeed, already COA helped prepare and supports several documents developed for the new Governor with specific actions to be taken to improve and protect coastal and ocean water quality.  

Additionally, there are several new members of the NJ state legislature in 2018 who will also need to be educated and guided to ensure the ocean is a priority. 

 Leadership Needed to Push Back Against “Environmental Enemy #1”

New Jersey and New York elected officials must be strong leaders to defend our ocean from the Trump Administration.  Already the Executive Orders, the many actions of his appointments to USEPA and Departments of Interior, his budget cuts, and staunch opposition to the need to address climate change are unabashed attacks on a sustainable, healthy quality of life for today and into the future.   

You Can Help! 

COA’s watchdog role will keep you posted and highlight opportunities for action, including a March for the Ocean on June 9th. Find more at “”   In the meantime, 2018 is an election year for the entire Congress.  Making environmental issues a top priority must be of highest urgency and importance. 
March for the Ocean on June 9th, 2018!

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