Governor Murphy Establishes Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy, Creates New Jersey Council on the Green Economy

NEWARK – Governor Phil Murphy announced an investment of more than $100 million in clean, equitable transportation projects that will improve air quality and reduce the effects of climate change while moving New Jersey towards 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Leveraging proceeds from New Jersey’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Funds, this funding will bring electrification programs, equitable mobility projects, and electric charging infrastructure to environmental justice communities across the state.

Governor Murphy also signed Executive Order No. 221 establishing the Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy. Housed within the Governor’s Office, the Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy will focus on the interlocking priorities of addressing climate change, ensuring New Jersey’s clean energy future, and transitioning to a green economy while prioritizing equity and environmental justice. Governor Murphy announced that Jane Cohen, Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor on Environment and Energy, will lead the Office as Executive Director.

The Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy will oversee the creation of the New Jersey Council on the Green Economy, an initiative announced in the Governor’s 2021 State of the State address to expand the green economy in line with the Administration’s clean energy and climate goals. Led by First Lady Tammy Murphy, who will serve as Honorary Chair, the Council will be co-chaired by the Commissioner of Labor, Commissioner of Environmental Protection, and the President of the Board of Public Utilities. Members of the Council will include representatives from other State departments, as well representatives from chambers of commerce, organized labor, industry, utilities, green business, environmental justice communities, academia, small business, workforce development, and environmental advocacy.

“Climate change is the single greatest long-term threat currently facing humanity, and our state and economy are uniquely vulnerable to its devastating effects,” said Governor Murphy. “The investments we are announcing today signify our commitment to environmental justice and equity, while building a cleaner economy that works for all. The newly created Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy, coupled with the New Jersey Council on the Green Economy, will use our trademark innovation and talented workforce to make New Jersey a national leader of the green economy. Together, these initiatives we will make New Jersey stronger, fairer—and greener—for generations to come.”

“Environmental justice is social justice. Investing in a green economy means we are creating a healthier, cleaner and more environmentally stable place for all New Jerseyans to live,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “Governor Murphy’s plan to address the immediate impacts of climate change on our communities prioritizes equity and sustainable growth to help ensure that everyone can participate in and benefit from a green economy.”

“New Jersey’s leadership in the green economy will to benefit both the health and financial security of New Jerseyans for generations to come,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy, Honorary Chair of the New Jersey Council on the Green Economy. “The New Jersey Council on the Green Economy will help us chart a path forward toward that reality, while ensuring that the wealth and opportunity generated from these initiatives both benefits and reflects the diverse communities of our state. This effort is more than a jobs program or set of environmental regulations – it is a partnership between generations designed to prepare a skilled and innovative workforce of the future, ready to lead New Jersey and the nation.”

“Addressing climate change requires bold and intentional government action,” said Jane Cohen, Executive Director of the Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy. “The Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy will lead this challenging work and bring a diverse mix of experts to the table so that New Jersey can seize on the opportunity to be a leader in environmental justice and the transition to an equitable clean energy economy.”

The $100 million investment of proceeds from the New Jersey’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and its prosecution of Volkswagen for emissions cheating, will fund the following projects:

  • $9 million in grants for local government electrification projects that will help to improve air quality in environmental justice communities through the deployment of electric garbage and delivery trucks
  • $13 million in grants for low- and moderate-income communities to reduce emissions that affect our children’s air quality through the deployment of electric school buses and shuttle buses
  • $5 million in grants for equitable mobility projects that will bring electric vehicle ride hailing and charging stations to four New Jersey towns and cities
  • $5 million in grants for deployment of fast charging infrastructure at 27 locations statewide
  • $36 million to reduce diesel and black carbon emissions in environmental justice communities by electrifying port, cargo handling, and other medium- and heavy-duty equipment in port and industrial areas
    • $15 million towards NJ TRANSIT bus electrification
    • $15 million towards flex funding to further deploy additional funding to the listed initiatives

Under Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 221, within one year, the Council shall deliver the initial report of its recommendations for a comprehensive and coordinated green economy strategy that:

  • drives sustainable economic growth and development;
  • accelerates the growth of green jobs and facilitates green workforce development;
  • prioritizes equity, diversity, inclusion, and environmental and economic justice; and,
  • avoids, adjusts for, and provides appropriate support for workers potentially displaced in course of the state’s transition to a green economy.

“We are at an inflection point – the future strength of our state depends on how aggressively we act to reduce the emission of climate pollutants today, and how well we use the great opportunities now before us to promote overdue environmental and economic justice,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. “The investments and commitments made today will indeed make New Jersey’s environment stronger and more just, and I am proud to be part of an Administration that puts its money where its heart is.”

“Thank you, Governor Murphy, for your ongoing commitment to advancing a clean energy future in the state of New Jersey,” said New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “The new Office of Climate Action and Green Economy will help leverage the important work being done by the NJBPU and our sister agencies in advancing equity, creating an innovation economy and building a green workforce. I am proud to be part of an administration working to make the planet more safe for our children and grandchildren.”

“Governor Murphy’s bold action is not only an investment in our climate, it will create innovative jobs opportunities that will impact New Jersey workers for decades to come,” said New Jersey Department of Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “This executive order only strengthens our department’s mission to train and prepare our workforce for the future.”

“Moving toward clean energy and environmental justice is not just vital for protecting our environment and increasing equity, it is also good economic policy. Building New Jersey’s green economy will create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and increase access to opportunities in marginalized communities,” said New Jersey Economic Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The investments and new initiatives announced today represent a critical step toward a greener, fairer New Jersey and show Governor Murphy’s understanding that environmental stewardship and economic development are interdependent and mutually reinforcing goals. Executive Director Jane Cohen is an accomplished policy expert and strong advocate for green economic growth. The NJEDA will be a committed partner supporting the Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy and New Jersey Council on the Green Economy’s work to drive sustainable, equitable economic growth and address the challenges environmental justice communities face.”

“We are thankful for Governor Murphy’s leadership on these important investments.  It demonstrates dedication to continue building healthy, thriving communities, said City of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. The City of Newark has a deep, long-standing commitment to making our City cleaner, greener, and healthier for all Newarkers. Transitioning our municipal fleet is one of many initiatives underway as we move Newark forward. Each diesel truck we keep out of our residential neighborhoods serves as a reminder to the broader truck-intensive industry of Newark’s commitments to accelerated climate action and environmental justice.”

“As someone who is on the front line each and every day, it’s great that Governor Murphy is focusing on environmental justice, green jobs and climate action today — we have so much more to do,” said Kim Gaddy, South Ward Environmental Alliance Founder, Clean Water Action, Environmental Justice Organizer. “The science dictates mandatory reductions yet polluters continue to target overburdened communities like Newark. The state’s budget sets the moral compass for our state critical programs from NJ Transit and the Clean Energy Fund to NJDEP. They cannot remain underfunded and achieve a different and more just outcome. We look forward to working with the Murphy administration putting the pedal to the metal even further.”

“Clean air, green jobs, what could be better? I look very much forward to having these jobs,” said Dan Gumble, Business Manager and Financial Secretary for IBEW 164. “Thank you for making the union trades part of this effort.”

For a copy of Executive Order No. 221, please click here.

For more information on RGGI, the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust and grant recipients, please see the following links: Link 1Link 2

For a headshot and biography of Jane Cohen, please click here.

Release Courtesy of the State of New Jersey