For a while there, New Jersey was doing pretty well on the environmental front, for a state better known for its landfills and gazillion-lane highways than its farms and increasingly rare open spaces. But Chris Christie is working his butt off to make sure that changes.
It's not just that he thinks it's normal to take a helicopter to a baseball game or that transportation infrastructure is a poor investment. Just a week after he announced he was pulling the state out of a regional greenhouse gas consortium, he rolled out his plan for the state's energy future, which involves less investment in renewable energy and more in natural gas and nuclear.
The state's former governor, Jon Corzine, put in policies that made the state a leader in solar power and that aimed for a 30 percent renewable energy target. Christie's knocking that target to 22.5 percent and wants to rethink the state's solar program. He's also promoting questionable energy sources, like waste incineration. He's keen on natural gas (and its attendant flaming-water problems), too.
For anyone looking for a little schadenfreude in this turn of fate for America's least-loved state: Christie's decision to scrap the trans-Hudson tunnel and return $271 million in funding to the federal government is costing him. The Department of Transportation wants its money back, as well as the $225,000 per month it says New Jersey is accruing in interest. (Christie, apparently, wants to use the money to build a megamall.)The state's already racked up $1 million in legal bills from Patton Boggs, the fancy D.C. law and lobbying firm it hired to defend its interests.