"It's a joke," said Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club about Governor Christy's conditional veto of the bill that would have permanently prohibited fracking, while imposing a 1-year moratorium. Other environmental leaders correctly called it "pure politics," a "public relations stunt," and had expected at least a 5-year moratorium.
The Marcellus Shale Coalition nailed Governor Christie's action, saying it was "deeply disappointed." Interestingly ANGA was much more conciliatory, writing that it "commended" the Governor's conditional veto and would work with his administration in the next year.
Since New Jersey has no gas that anyone is even considering drilling for years and perhaps ever, why all the hot words and why does anyone even care?
In truth this dust up about fracking in NJ, where it is not going to happen for a long, long time, shows that the fight itself too often becomes everything.
The combatants argue Governor Christie's decision carries great "symbolic" impact. Really? Did Governor Patterson's similar veto and executive order imposing a moratorium in NY have a great impact even in NY?
So what's next? The bill that Governor Christie vetoed passed 33-1 in the Senate and 51-11 in the Assembly. Will the Republican legislators vote to uphold the conditional veto and 1-year moratorium?
The political games will continue. And Governor Christie himself is playing big-time politics--Presidential politics.
I have predicted that Governor Christie will not run for re-election in 2013, but will begin a campaign for the Presidency in 2014, as long as President Obama is re-elected. If Governor Perry is elected (yes I am predicting he will be the nominee), then Christie might be a VP candidate or he may decide he must run for re-election in 2013.
A re-election race for Christie will be a gauntlet that he may well not survive.
Christie's conditional veto, with a 1-year moratorium, is "pure politics" designed to keep his national or possibly state re-election options open. He was able to get praise from ANGA and can say to NJ independents that he imposed a moratorium on fracking.
Beyond the political jockeying that is fascinating, there is not much substance in the NJ fracking fight.