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

PRESS CONTACT press@njlcv.org

As Gas Companies Prepare Pollution Settlements, New Jersey Voters Limit How They Can Be Spent

New Jersey is likely on the cusp of receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from companies settling pollution lawsuits. The largest of those is a proposed $225 million settlement with ExxonMobil for pollution near two refineries in the northern part of the state. Sunoco, BP and Shell have also settled with the state for pollution near gas stations. Together, those settlements could bring in another $165 million.

The state's voters decided by a 2-1 margin Tuesday that the bulk of that money -- and all future pollution payouts -- will be spent on environmental projects, not on general state operations.

Environmentalists successfully pushed a constitutional amendment that will now require the legal payouts to go toward projects like building parks, removing dams or adding bike trails. If voters had rejected the amendment, all but $50 million would have gone into the state’s main checking account to pay for things like health insurance, prisons or schools.

Ed Potosnak, executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, one of the groups behind the ballot measure, says it will effectively create a “lockbox” for environmental uses.

Continue Reading

America doesn't care about climate change because we elected Trump? Hogwash! | Opinion

President Trump pulled the US from the Paris Accord on climate change shortly after meeting with world leaders earlier this year.

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.

Continue Reading

Trump Takes Hatchet to Environmental Programs in First Federal Budget

Environmental groups from all corners of the state are teaming up with legislators of both political parties to press Republicans in Congress to reject President Trump’s proposed budget, which they agree would devastate New Jersey’s environment.  

Trump’s first federal budget contains such severe cuts to environmental protection and conservation programs that every New Jersey resident and business would feel them. Folks who don’t always agree have no trouble seeing eye to eye when it comes to protecting precious natural resources like the Jersey Shore. Thus, the “Save the EPA” campaign was born.  

Continue Reading

NJ Environmental Leaders Oppose Trump Budget Cuts

Environmentalists oppose Trump's budget cuts at a news conference at the Mantoloking Bridge.

Environmental groups and New Jersey officials are urging Congress to reject President Donald Trump's proposed 30 percent cut in the Environmental Protection Agency's budget.

They expressed their opposition to Trump's plan in Brick Township at the base of a bridge that was wiped out by Superstorm Sandy nearly five years ago.

Ed Potosnak leads the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. He says the budget cuts would put the state’s environment in grave danger.

"With more than 40 percent of New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection dependent on federal funding, it's more important than ever that Congress gets together to push back against the draconian Trump budget proposal and ensure full funding for the agencies we count on to protect our health and the environment." 

Continue Reading

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

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.

Continue Reading

Christie’s Budget Could Divert $175M from Exxon Settlement

Booms being used to contain an oil spill at an Exxon Mobil site in NJ.

The state could divert millions of dollars from environmental remediation this year before voters have a chance to decide whether to prohibit such budgetary raids, according to a state lawmaker and environmental advocacy groups.

Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed $35 billion budget for fiscal 2018 includes a provision that places a $50 million cap on how much money won from natural resource damage settlements can go into an environmental site cleanup fund. For settlements larger than $50 million, any amount above that threshold would go into the state’s general fund.

This is the third straight year the state budget has included such language. But the provision takes on special significance this year, because $225 million from a settlement with ExxonMobil is currently in escrow and could become subject to that budget language, said Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex).

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

America’s Clean Energy Future Hinges on NJ Governor’s Race Outcome

Development of wind energy off the Jersey coast seen as vital component to a clean energy future

New Jersey voters cut the field on Tuesday to two major-party candidates in the race for governor. Whoever is chosen as the next governor on Nov. 7 will inherit an unprecedented opportunity and bear a tremendous burden to insulate the state from the worst effects of climate change, while staking out turf as a national leader – and jobs creator – in the pursuit of a clean energy economy.

With climate change already taking an obvious toll in New Jersey, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
 
One need look no further than New Jersey’s 130-mile coastline to realize our vulnerability to an even modest rise in sea level. Or remember Superstorm Sandy, which washed away beaches, boardwalks, and homes all over the state. The state’s $43 billion-plus tourism industry, and the jobs that come with it, is largely dependent on a profitable summer season at #JerseyShore.
 
What’s this got to do with the New Jersey governor’s race? Everything!
 

Continue Reading

Phil Murphy tells N.J. 'It is time for a governor who has your back'

Phil Murphy captures the Democratic nomination for NJ governor.

Newly minted Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy accepted his party's nomination Tuesday night and said he looks for to a "campaign based on policy and vision" in the race to succeed Gov. Chris Christie.

"New Jersey, here's my simple promise to all 9 million of you: I've got your back," Murphy said to a hundreds of enthusiastic supporters at a hotel in Newark less than an hour after he was the declared winner.

"People in New Jersey are demanding change and I am here to change things," Murphy said.

Continue Reading

STATE POISED TO ISSUE FIRST DROUGHT WARNING IN MORE THAN A DECADE

For the first time in 15 years, the state is expected to issue a full-blown drought warning.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is holding a public hearing today on drought conditions, a necessary prelude to declaring a drought warning for at least 12 northern and central counties where scant rainfall has emptied reservoirs.

With much of the state experiencing severely low precipitation levels and some of New Jersey’s biggest reservoirs falling below 50 percent storage levels, it is all but certain a drought warning will be issued.

Continue Reading