New Jersey Gov. Christie ‘pocket vetoes’ solar bill as he leaves office

Source: By Robert Walton, Utility Dive • Posted: Friday, January 19, 2018

The New Jersey Senate was up against a deadline when it passed SB 2276 as the legislative session wound down. But because the bill was finalized within 10 days of the end of the session, it means Gov. Christie settled the bill’s fate when he left office without signing it. Called a “pocket veto,” it means lawmakers cannot vote to override the denial, and now the legislation must restart the process.

According to GTM Research and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the state’s solar industry supports 6,000 workers. But the state’s industry has seen boom-bust cycles before, guided by its solar energy target and solar renewable energy credit prices. The Garden State saw a solar boom in 2011, but fell on rough times when prices for the credits came tumbling down.

The vetoed proposal would have enabled state’s solar industry to keep growing and adding jobs, according to SEIA Vice President of State Affairs Sean Gallagher. Lobbying for the failed bill, Gallagher called SB 2276 a “crucial short-term fix.”

Gov. Murphy campaigned on a slate of progressive ideas, including raising the minimum wage. In his inaugural address this week, he said the state would do its part to combat climate change and support clean energy.

“A stronger and fairer New Jersey accepts the reality of climate change, invests aggressively in renewable energy, and upholds the goals of the Paris Climate Accord,” he said, according to a transcript.