My district is one of the largest and most rural areas in New Jersey. We take pride in preserving our open space, clean water, and clean air for the health, welfare, and enjoyment of our citizens. It is our responsibility. With substantial cuts to the federal EPA, NJ’s state legislators are the last line of defense to protect our environment. Unlike the incumbents who are bottom-rated by the NJ League of Conservation Voters and Clean Water Action Fund, I support energy conservation and renewable energy projects and will not allow short-term gains to compromise our clean air, clean water, and open space.
Specifically, I will support:
- Immediate adoption of a clean energy plan for NJ and prohibition on diverting funds already being set aside in the Clean Energy Fund.
- Requiring a small fee on the transportation of hazardous liquids with funding going to municipalities for equipment and for first responders to ensure bridges and rails are safe.
- Blocking use of eminent domain by private oil carriers.
- A moratorium on pipelines until appropriate environmental review including water quality testing.
- Requiring pipeline companies to have insurance policies for catastrophic incidents and spills.
- Rejoining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to combat climate change, reduce air pollution, and fund clean energy projects.
- Restoring funding to the DEP which will be offset by supporting the department’s efforts to hold polluters financially responsible.
- Improving public transportation and encouraging its use to reduce congestion on our roads while attracting new high-tech and innovative businesses.
How much does New Jersey spend to protect our environment?
Funding for the NJ Department of Environmental Protection is $274M for FY 2018 which is less than 1% of the state budget.
How much protected Open Space do we have?
New Jersey has over 1.2 million acres of protected Open Space which amounts to 21% of NJ geography.
What are some of the threats to our environment?
#1 Superfund Sites
There are 105 Superfund sites listed on the National Priorities List. Thirty-six additional sites have been cleaned up and deleted from the list. With the federal government reducing the EPA budget, future clean-up is at risk.
#2 Penn East Pipeline
- The Pipeline is a 120-mile-long and 36-inch-diameter underground pipe with a 50-foot easement. Its route would enter New Jersey through LD-23, by crossing the Delaware and slicing through three Hunterdon County municipalities: Holland, Alexandria, and Kingwood Townships. The route also skirts LD-23’s Milford and Frenchtown Boroughs, plus Pohatcong Township in Warren County.
- The PennEast consortium would use federally granted Eminent Domain to seize private property, as well as open space that was paid for through state and local taxes.
- The pipeline would cross more than 88 waterways, 44 wetlands, 30 parks, and 33 conservation easements. In New Jersey, 6 streams carrying the Category 1 designation for their exceptional ecological significance, will be crossed, some more than once.
- The existing pipelines that PennEast would replace already have 49% more capacity than is currently needed.
- The cost of the pipeline is close to $1B.
- The three companies sponsoring the project would be guaranteed a 14% rate of return on investment that New Jerseyans would pay off in their utility bills.
#3 Climate change
- New Jersey has warmed about 3°F, and its average annual precipitation has increased 5 to 10 percent in the last century. Precipitation from extremely heavy storms has increased 70 percent in the Northeast since 1958. These changes in climate are primarily the result of rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, caused by humans burning fossil fuels and changing land cover.
- New Jersey is at particular risk from climate change. Coastal regions are experiencing negative effects of sea level rise, including increased beach erosion, flooding, ecosystem degradation, and saltwater intrusion. Agricultural areas face uncertainty in the amount and pattern of rainfall, temperatures in spring, summer, and fall, the ideal timing for planting crops, and the likely crop yields. Growing seasons are longer but also drier, with droughts and less groundwater recharge exacerbating water shortages. Human health is also at risk, with more vulnerable populations suffering in heat waves, from poor air quality, and increased transmission of some diseases like Lyme disease.