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.
The other priorities mostly reflect Murphy's environmental platform during his successful gubernatorial campaign: promoting an aggressive clean-energy agenda; confronting the perils associated with climate change; and protecting the state's natural and water resources.
Throughout the report, there is recurring criticism of the Christie administration -lamenting the loss of New Jersey's leadership on clean-energy issues, its failure to combat climate change, and the rollback of laws safeguarding the environment.
On the issue of environmental justice, the report notes low-income communities too often have not enjoyed the gains that have taken place in environmental protection and public health enacted since the advent of a wave of such laws in the 1970s.
Ed Potosnak, another transition member and executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, agreed. "For environmental-justice communities, there's a lot of ground to be made up for what we have lost during the last eight years,'' he said.
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