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

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Environmental Justice Should Be Core Principle of Murphy Administration

The Murphy administration needs to focus on the disproportionate impacts of pollution and contamination on poor urban communities, according to a transition team report for Gov. Phil Murphy.

The 15-page environmental and energy report suggests that addressing the environmental-justice disparities in low-income and mostly communities of color ought to be promoted as a core principle of the new administration, one that is reflected across all departments and programs.

The recommendation, one of four overarching priorities identified by the transition team, calls for reducing the air and water pollution burdening those communities, and proposes that a substantial portion of the new funding on its way be dedicated to these initiatives.

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Murphy signs executive order to reenter Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Gov. Murphy held a press conference in Highlands on Monday morning to announce he’s rolling back another Christie-era policy.

“In just a few minutes I’m going to sign an executive order to start the process to get New Jersey back into RGGI,” said Murphy.

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Gov. Murphy Plays to NJ Environmentalists From Day One

Imagine this: A governor talking about the sad reality of climate change, investing aggressively in renewable energy, and creating housing safe from the danger of lead.

To the state’s diverse environmental community, Gov. Phil Murphy’s inaugural speech signaled that New Jersey once again should embrace a leadership role in protecting its air, water, and land from the legacy of pollution that too often in the past defined it.

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N.J. Gov.-elect Phil Murphy vows to fight Trump's offshore drilling plan

Offshore drilling areas

A proposal by the Trump administration this week to open most of the U.S. coast to fossil fuel exploration and drilling stunned New Jersey officials and environmentalists, who are vowing to fight back.

“Let’s call this what it is,” said Gov.-elect Phil Murphy, who will be sworn in Jan. 16. “What President Trump announced [Thursday] is nothing less than dropping a ticking time bomb off our coast.”

Murphy, a Democrat, made the statement at a news conference Friday morning in Monmouth County, flanked by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, both Democrats. Murphy called for bipartisan opposition from the state’s congressional delegation, but protecting the coastline already is a bipartisan issue.

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Environmentalists applaud Murphy pick for DEP

Murphy's DEP nominee

The naming of Catherine McCabe as the governor-elect’s pick to head up the state’s Department of Environmental Protection drew praise from the state’s enviro-community. 

New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Ed Potosnak joined the chorus of praise for McCabe.

“We certainly have to make up for lost ground over the previous administration and that’s going to take some really dedicated individuals,” he said. “She’s going to need to build out a strong team, but I think New Jersey is well-positioned to be a leader once again on environmental protection.”

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4 ways Murphy can build a green economy. Think water

A water main broke at Park Ave and North 5th Street causing flooding that damaged cars and homes on Monday, in Newark, NJ. 10/30/17 (Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

Until recently, water infrastructure in New Jersey has remained largely out of sight, out of mind, lulling us into a false sense of security. However, we are now starting to see our lack of investment coming back to haunt us.

We cannot swim in the Passaic River because of pollution. Children in Camden walk through sewage that has backed up onto the streets because the pipes cannot handle the rain. Commuters sit in snarled traffic in Hoboken as crews repair water main breaks. And across the state, parents fear the danger of lead in water fountains at their children's schools.

Assessment surveys conducted in 2012 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimate that New Jersey needs to spend a combined $25 billion over the next 20 years on its wastewater, stormwater, and drinking water infrastructure to ensure reliability and keep up with demand.

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Coalition-Led Ballot Question Approved, Safeguarding Pollution Settlements

Voters provided permanent relief to communities harmed by industrial pollution on Election Day by approving an environmental coalition-led ballot question that prevents money earmarked for environmental restoration from being raided by Trenton lawmakers.

The measure was declared passed with 69 percent support.

“By approving Ballot Question 2, voters created a ‘lock box’ for these funds, ending the irresponsible budgeting practice of Trenton politicians stealing the money from polluted communities to plug holes in the state budget,” said Ed Potosnak, executive director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, which led the effort to get the question on the ballot.

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New Jersey Voters Handily Ratify Two Ballot Questions

Voters yesterday easily approved ballot questions that will provide funding for libraries to undertake new capital projects and will ensure money collected from polluters is used to restore natural resources damaged from spills and other disasters.

Both ballot questions faced little opposition, as the vote reflected. With almost 99 percent of the vote tallied, the library bond issue passed by nearly 300,000 votes. By roughly a two-to-one margin, voters approved the constitutional amendment to prevent diversion of pollution settlement money to the general budget.

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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.

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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.

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