On Jan. 16, Phillip Murphy will be sworn in as the next governor of New Jersey. As a Democrat, candidate Murphy’s platform leaned heavily toward his party’s traditional focus on environmental protection and clean energy promotion as areas of promised emphasis in his administration.

However, in politics, it is rare that circumstances play out exactly as a candidate would have intended. The new administration inherits a distressed state economy that may limit just how robust of an environmental program it will be able to afford. Meanwhile, the tax reform legislation in Congress (which, as this article is written, threatens to punish high income and property tax states like New Jersey by limiting or even removing that deduction) may further tie Murphy’s hands to find additional money to pay for all promised environmental initiatives. Meanwhile, the policies of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Trump administration, which combine relaxed environmental enforcement at the federal level with, paradoxically, a reduction in funding to the states to take up the slack, could further erode the new administration’s ability to implement everything that has been promised.

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