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Jim Benton's Statement at Press Call on New Jersey Nuclear Bailout Poll

Jim Benton
Executive Director, New Jersey Petroleum Council
New Jersey Nuclear Bailout Poll Press Call

Opening statement as Prepared for Delivery

Good Morning, and thank you for joining today’s call. My name is Jim Benton, and I am the executive director of the New Jersey Petroleum Council.

There’s no question that natural gas continues to provide great benefits to consumers and workers throughout New Jersey. Through innovation and the free markets, this affordable energy resource helped save households throughout the country as much as $1,337 in energy and utility costs in 2015. Lower energy costs are also helping bring manufacturing jobs back to the state. In 2015, the natural gas industry supported nearly 80 thousand New Jersey jobs and contributed $11.6 billion to the state’s economy.

And that’s not all. Carbon emissions are near 25 year lows due to the increased use of natural gas throughout our nation’s economy.

Unfortunately, some would like our legislators to put those benefits at risk by providing a financial subsidy to nuclear plants in the state at the expense of New Jersey consumers.

Today we are releasing a new poll on what voters up and down the state think about government intervention in the energy markets by providing a financial subsidy to nuclear plants.

The poll shows that 69 percent of New Jersey voters said they opposed possible efforts in the state legislature that would give a financial subsidy to nuclear plants.

And a majority of voters oppose this idea regardless of party affiliation: Democrats 66 percent, Republicans 75 percent, and Independents 72 percent.

What’s more, a majority of voters – 62% -- across the state believe electricity prices will be lower with competition, NOT intervention by the government.

Picking winners and losers in the electricity markets by providing subsidies to nuclear plants, or any energy facility, at the expense of consumers would diminish the benefits that clean natural gas has brought to our state.

Also, providing a financial subsidy to nuclear plants with government intervention sets a dangerous precedent and would deny consumers, workers and the environment the benefits of reliable and affordable natural gas.

Moving forward, the legislature should reject any measure that would subsidize nuclear plants or any other energy facility at the expense of New Jersey’s consumers, workers, and environment.

With that, I will turn it back to Mike and take a few questions.