News Article • 5/11/2018 • by Tom Johnson at NJ Spotlight
The state is reviving a decade-old idea to help New Jersey address a $15 billion problem to better manage stormwater runoff, an issue widely recognized as fouling waterways and exacerbating flooding.
Borrowing a concept already in place in more than 40 states, the Senate Environment and Energy Committee approved a bill (S-1073) to allow towns and counties to set up stormwater utilities as a mechanism for controlling pollution from runoff.
The bill, or some version of it, has been kicked around by lawmakers for years, but has had a tough time winning approval — and when it did, former Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the measure.
Sen. Bob Smith, a Democrat from Middlesex who is chairman of the committee and sponsored of the bill, is cautiously optimistic this time. “We’re not doing any victory laps because it’s going to be a very hard bill to pass,’’ he said, adding, “this is the best version of a stormwater utilities bill I’ve seen in a long time.’’
News Article • 4/27/2018 • by Michelle Brunetti Post at Press of Atlantic City
Environmental groups are varied in how they grade Gov. Phil Murphy on his first 100 days.
The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund gave him an A-, while New Jersey Sierra Club graded him a C.
“Murphy has indeed delivered on some of his commitments including blocking offshore drillings, promoting environmental justice, and promoting offshore wind,” Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said in a press release.
But he said the administration also has cut the Department of Environmental Protection budget and is taking some of its surplus, and is still taking money from the Clean Energy Fund -- which is created through surcharges on utility customers' monthly bills -- for the general fund.
In contrast, League of Conservation Voters Education Fund Executive Director Ed Potosnak said Murphy gets high marks, calling the first 100 days “a whirlwind of pro-environmental actions, propelling New Jersey back to a leadership position to become the greenest state in America.”
News Article • 1/27/2018 • by Michelle Brunetti Post at Press of Atlantic City
Governor Phil Murphy's Environment and Energy Transition Advisory Committee says the administration's first priority should be making a clean energy future a reality in New Jersey.
It proposed four main priorities for the new administration last week, in its report.
The priorities were in line with the “Environmental Agenda ’18, New Jersey’s Conservation Road Map,” released by a coalition of 30 environmental groups last Fall, said New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Ed Potosnak.
The NJLCV Education Fund led that effort, and the road map gave the new administration a list of priorities in nine categories the groups want the administration to tackle in its first 100 days, first year and first term.
News Article • 1/17/2018 • by Alex Ambrose at Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed
Governor Phil Murphy was sworn in to office on January 16, 2018, and with his new role comes the responsibility of addressing environmental issues facing the Garden State. In response to these challenges, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund released Environmental Agenda ’18: New Jersey’s Conservation Roadmap, a report that contains expert recommendations and goals to address top environmental challenges and ensure a cleaner, greener New Jersey in mid-November. Environmental Agenda ’18 makes recommendations for Murphy's first 100 days, first year, and first term.
News Article • 12/21/2017 • by Michele S. Byers at Shore News Today
Much is overhyped lately, but there is no exaggerating the importance of abundant clean water. Quite simply, it’s critical to our health, environment and economy.
Unlike some states where water is scarce, New Jersey is defined by water. We’re bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Hudson River, Delaware River and Delaware Bay, and have an almost uncountable number of rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, marshes, bays and estuaries.
With nearly 9 million residents, a thriving agricultural industry and many water-dependent businesses, the Garden State’s clean water needs are enormous. But so are the threats.
News Article • 10/3/2017 • by Dan Fatton at NJ Spotlight
The latest hurricane disasters are yet another wake-up call. Climate change is happening and causing sea-level rise, worsening storm surges, increasing air temperatures that lead to more rainfall, and boosting water temperatures — all of which make storms more severe. July 2017 was the hottest month ever measured on earth, raising the temperature (up to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average) of the Gulf of Mexico, and making Harvey wetter and stronger, jumping to a Category 4 hurricane just hours before making landfall — an unprecedented event in decades of record keeping. Millions of people have been affected. People are in need of shelter and services, and just as we saw after Superstorm Sandy, damaged facilities are spewing toxic materials into communities, and public health is at risk.
News Article • 9/18/2017 • by Michele S. Byers at Daily Record
If you drink Budweiser, you’re drinking water from New Jersey’s Highlands.
A rugged, mostly forested 1,250-square-mile region stretching diagonally across northern New Jersey, the Highlands supplies drinking water to about 6.2 million people, or more than 70 percent of the state’s population. That includes residents of Newark, Jersey City and Paterson, the state’s three largest cities, as well as parts of 16 of New Jersey’s 21 counties.
Thanks to purification provided naturally and for free by Highlands forests, the region’s water is among the cleanest and least expensive in the U.S.
New Jersey’s pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and food and beverage industries depend on this clean Highlands water. When you’re enjoying an ice cold Bud or other brew made at Anheuser Busch’s Newark plant, toast the waters of the Highlands.
News Article • 9/16/2017 • by Ed Potosnak at NJ.com
When the solar eclipse happened on Aug. 21, millions of people in the continental U.S. went outdoors to witness this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon of nature. No one called it a hoax, denied it was happening, or asked what was the cause.
Climate change – and the human activity that causes it – is equally validated by scientists, but unfortunately some continue to deny the reality as the clock ticks and temperatures rise.
In a recent column, Paul Mulshine falsely concluded that voters don’t care that much about climate change because they elected a climate-denying president who promised to lead the resurgence of coal mining.
Hogwash! Voters in New Jersey care deeply about the environment. According to a recent poll by Washington, D.C.-based Global Strategies Group commissioned by the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, 62 percent want the government to do more to address climate change, and 57 percent oppose President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Seventy-one percent want our next governor to be a leader in fighting climate change, and more than two-thirds support moving New Jersey to a 100 percent clean energy portfolio.
News Article • 8/28/2017 • by Michele S. Byers at Daily Record
When you turn on the lights, you’re probably not thinking about where your energy comes from. But the source of our energy has huge impacts on the health of New Jersey’s families, environment, communities and economy.
What are the choices? Will we continue to increase our dependence on fossil fuels? Oil and gas have been cheap and plentiful for many years but they can and do pollute our air and water, threaten human health, and generate emissions leading to climate change. Or will we catch a new wave of clean, renewable energy sources — like responsibly-sited offshore wind and solar — and boosting energy efficiency? Long thought of as futuristic, solar and wind are rapidly becoming cost effective and more readily available.
Not long ago, New Jersey was a national leader in clean energy and energy efficiency. For example, in 1999 the state adopted the “Renewable Portfolio Standard” which required retail electric suppliers to obtain a percentage of their energy from renewable sources.
But our clean energy efforts have lagged since Gov. Christie withdrew New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and his administration delayed progress on offshore wind. The Christie administration’s current policies favor increased use of natural gas to generate energy.
News Article • 8/18/2017 • by Tom Johnson at NJ Spotlight
The federal government yesterday awarded nearly $70 million to New Jersey to help fund projects to upgrade sewage-treatment plants and drinking-water systems.
The allocation should help finance more than a half-billion-dollars worth of projects through the state’s Environmental Infrastructure Trust, a vehicle set up to help communities fund clean-water projects.
The award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is part of an annual appropriation to help the state raise water quality by improving treatment at wastewater plants and public systems providing drinking water to residents.
The money will help put a dent into one of New Jersey’s most pressing infrastructure needs — upgrading aging sewage-treatment systems and drinking water facilities.