Today, more than half of our drinking water sources, 84% of our designated swimming waters, and 99% of the waters that support fishing violate Clean Water Act standards. Water pollution has diminished public health, tourism, and recreation, and it has broken the public trust. Given that New Jersey has the highest population density of any state, the necessity of preserving and improving water resources is amplified. We must protect our water resources to secure a safe supply of clean drinking water for New Jersey’s families and businesses and to ensure continued opportunities for recreational activities like fishing and swimming. The New Jersey LCV Ed Fund is dedicated to cleaning up New Jersey’s water today and for generations to come.
One way to do this is through a statewide Water Supply Master Plan. An up-to-date plan provides accurate assessment on water issues and guides legislators and policy-makers on the best ways to protect this irreplaceable resource for public health, economic growth, and quality of life. New Jersey’s plan has not been updated in 20 years; an outdated document hinders planning that is critical to sound water resource management.
Additionally, legislation creating stormwater utilities is needed to address polluted runoff and combined sewers, both of which are impacting New Jersey’s water bodies. Stormwater utilities would create a mechanism for a dedicated revenue source for stormwater management. The utility structure provides increased stability and predictability of funds, and is lauded by experts as an equitable way to tackle this important issue.
Another concern is the millions of the dollars collected from corporate polluters in Natural Resource Damages (NRD) settlements that are being diverted from environmental restoration projects to balance the state budget. The administration has also agreed to accept a pennies-on-the-dollar settlement from ExxonMobil Corp. for pollution of marshes and wetlands from oil refineries in Bayonne and Linden. New Jersery LCV Ed Fund is committed to educating the public about the benefits of Natural Resource Damages provide to communities harmed by decades of industrial pollution.