New Jersey League of Conservation Voters is making the environment a top priority in Trenton.

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OPINION: New Jersey’s energy future at a crossroads

Green Energy Future

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.

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Feds Award $70M to Upgrade Wastewater, Drinking Water Systems

INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION ON THE ARTHUR KILL RIVER IN NEW JERSEY IN THE METROPOLITAN NEW YORK AREA

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.

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ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY EXPERT JOINS NEW JERSEY LCV FOR GOVERNOR’S RACE

Lisa Plevin at mic

The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund is pleased to announce the addition of a former federal environmental protection official to its Green in ’17 team.
 
Lisa J. Plevin, former chief of staff for Region 2 of the US Environmental Protection Agency, will lead the environmental group’s transition planning initiative to help New Jersey’s next gubernatorial administration identify short- and long-term environmental priorities to re-establish New Jersey as an environmental leader.

Green in ’17 is an education campaign whose goal is to elevate discussion of key environmental issues in the gubernatorial election. One measure of the program’s success came on May 9, when 40% of the questions asked of Democratic candidates participating in the first gubernatorial debate were about environmental issues such as climate change and off-shore drilling, as were 20% of the questions asked of the Republican candidates.

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Opinion: NJ Environment Under Two-Pronged Assault

Riverfront Park in Newark was built with Natural Resource Damage funds

The Trump administration’s proposal to cut funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will directly impact federal safeguards for clean water, air and natural resources in this state we’re in. The proposal would roll back decades of progress in protecting public health and environmental quality.

Here in New Jersey, we too are debating the impact of cuts to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection proposed by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration. And since New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection gets significant funding from the EPA, the impacts to New Jersey would be magnified.

This one-two punch from the Christie and Trump administrations would worsen what is already a difficult situation. New Jersey is the nation’s most densely populated state, with a history of industrial pollution, including more Superfund cleanup sites than any other state. As a coastal state, New Jersey is also on the front lines of climate change and sea level rise.

To make matters worse, the Christie administration’s raiding of dedicated funds has depleted funding for clean energy and the cleanup of contaminated sites.

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Local Residents Join Thousands for 'People's Climate March'

Seth Levin and Ed Potosnak march at the People's Climate March.

Thousands of people gathered Saturday in the nation's capital to demand action on climate change, and hundreds of them came from New Jersey, and many of them were residents of Franklin Township and surrounding towns. 

"It is vital that we get the message out and we keep it alive, how important it is that we do the right things with regards to the climate to save the environment," Councilwoman Rozalyn Sherman (Ward-2) said, as she was heading out on one of the many buses leaving the state to travel to D.C.

"We're thrilled that we are sending two buses through the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and our Green in 17 campaign which is elevating conservation issues in the garden state," Ed Potosnak executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund said. "Particularly around the governors' race, we are partnering with some folks from Newark to get down there and march. We are really excited, we sold out our buses three weeks ago. There's just been so much overwhelming interest in showing up and standing up for what we believe in. There are buses all across the state, we're not the only ones, there are buses leaving from New Brunswick, folks leaving from Princeton, Berkley Heights, West Orange, and Bayonne, so it's definitely going to be a massive event."

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Modernizing public transit can't wait | Opinion

NJ Train

New Jersey Transit has broken down. Three recent train accidents -- two derailments in the past month and last year's Hoboken train disaster that killed one person -- are results of the current administration's decision to consistently underfund the state's public transportation systems. The consequences of these short-sighted decisions have made it more important than ever for our next governor to make improving public transportation a priority. Our next governor has the responsibility to ensure the safety of NJT riders and realize the economic and environmental benefits provided by modern, reliable, affordable and safe public transit systems.

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Ex-governors set aside politics in looming climate fight | Editorial

Former Governor Florio pictured with Cindy Ehrenclou, Ed Potosnak, and Seth Levin.

He drafted the nation's Superfund program, designed to identify and clean up our most hazardous waste sites, and he created the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, the first designation of its kind to protect environmentally sensitive tracts of land.

She shepherded through a constitutional amendment preserving open space and farm land. Later, bitter disagreements with the George W. Bush Administration prompted her to resign as administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Now these two former governors of New Jersey, Democrat Jim Florio and Republican Christine Todd Whitman, have had enough with the current occupant of the Governor's Office, and with the looming threat of panic many feel with the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

They've teamed up with the League of Conservation Voters' Education Fund to launch a campaign they hope will prevent the chipping away of legal protections so hard won over the past few decades - laws affecting the air we breathe and the water we drink.

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TWO FORMER GOVERNORS JOIN ‘GREENS’ TO DO BATTLE WITH TRENTON, D.C.

Change the Political Climate

With an unsympathetic administration in Trenton the past eight years and a seemingly more antagonistic one about to take office in Washington this week, it is time to pay more attention to the environment.

Just ask former Govs. Jim Florio and Christie Todd Whitman.

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How $750,000 will push environmental issues into NJ governor’s race

Former Governor Florio pictured with Cindy Ehrenclou, Ed Potosnak, and Seth Levin.

With this year’s governor’s race rounding into shape, add the League of Conservation Voters to the roster of groups launching efforts to get the candidates’ attention and steer the debate.

The LCV’s education fund announced Tuesday, at a Statehouse event that featured former Govs. Jim Florio and Christie Whitman, that it will spend $750,000 on a campaign aiming to put climate change, public transportation, drinking water, urban industrialization and land preservation on the agenda.

On climate change, the campaign seeks a commitment for New Jersey to get all of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.

“I think New Jersey would be one of the first states to set that as an objective,” said fund executive director Ed Potosnak. “I think Hawaii beat us to it. But certainly we have been a leader in the past, and there’s no reason to think we can’t be a leader again.”

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OP-ED: CONSERVATION VOTERS LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO GO GREEN IN ’17

Change the Political Climate

As Tuesday’s election results show, the environment lost big. By electing a president who denies the indisputable evidence of climate change and has said the Environmental Protection Agency should not exist, we as a nation forfeited the opportunity to lead the urgent quest for clean water, clear air, and sustainable energy for the next four years.

While this is extremely disconcerting to anyone who believes that climate change is the single most critical issue of our time, ground we’ll cede in a Trump administration can be offset if we implement policies that protect our planet here at home in the Garden State.

With an anti-environment president in the White House, the stakes are higher than ever for the 2017 New Jersey governor’s race. The candidate who wins next November’s open-seat election has the opportunity to be a national leader on climate change, clean water and air, and land preservation. The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund is committed to ensuring New Jersey once again leads on environmental protection.

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