(Parsippany, NJ) Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Morris, Passaic) – sponsor of the N.J. Residents’ Power Protection Act, which would require gas stations and other key facilities to have backup natural gas powered generators, says she is not buying the arguments of the lobbyists representing gasoline and convenience store owners that were made in Trenton on Monday in opposition to the legislation.
“The lobbyists are unwilling to recognize the damage that the lack of gasoline and power to vital businesses caused to the economy of the state and the lives of the people who live here,” said DeCroce. “They are putting their interests ahead of the overall good of the state.”
DeCroce’s legislation would address the power outage problems suffered by many residents during Hurricane Sandy by requiring vital and unique facilities to install either natural gas or propane powered generators. Those facilities would extend beyond gas stations and nursing homes to include private assisted living facilities, Class C (dementia patients) boarding homes, pharmacies, and firehouses and ambulance squad facilities.
To offset the cost of the generator upgrades, the bill provides for a corporation business tax deduction and gross income tax deduction (not to exceed $10,000 in either case), and a sales tax exemption, for the purchase of applicable equipment by the business and facilities covered under the N.J. Residents’ Power Protection Act.
Sal Risalvato, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store and Automotive Association, reportedly objected to generator legislation saying, even with the requirement for natural gas generators: “You would have seen the same gas lines. You would have seen the same inconvenience.” Assemblywoman DeCroce stated that this was a tunnel vision statement on his part.
“For anyone to characterize what happened in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy as simply an inconvenience, demonstrates a complete unwillingness to recognize the dire problems faced by millions of people,” said DeCroce.
The gasoline shortages had a dramatic impact on people’s lives and on commerce in general in this state. When tens of thousands of people are waiting for hours in line to get a few gallons of gas to power their home generators or operate their cars, that’s not an inconvenience; that’s an emergency. This created an economic ripple effect that I will not allow to be ignored,” said DeCroce.
"This is not just about gas stations. This is about protecting the lives of our vulnerable, senior citizens, residents needing constant medical care, and our families," she added.
The assemblywoman said generators would keep gasoline stations open, and coupled with better deployment of gasoline deliveries, would improve both economic and quality of life issues immeasurably. She said she hopes the gasoline retailers and other business groups will contribute positively to the post-Sandy discussion.
“The governor and others are leading the way in making substantial regulatory changes to reduce the impact that major storms will have on the people of New Jersey,” said DeCroce. “Instead of pretending that Sandy didn’t happen, the lobbyists should be contributing positively to the discussion on how we avoid a repeat of the toll that Sandy took on people’s lives.”