Contact: Ed Potosnak
O: (609) 331-9922
C: (732) 991-7574
NEW JERSEY LCV and PARTNERS CALL STATE BUDGET “MIXED BAG” FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PRIORITIES
TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey LCV and our partners are celebrating some successes in this year’s state budget and are disappointed in other decisions that were made. Now more than ever, the state should double down on its commitment to clean air, safe drinking water, and open space for all people, no matter their zip code. Specifically, New Jersey LCV asked for funding for the New Jersey School of Conservation, full funding of the Delaware River Water Basin Commission at $893,000, and an end to the $82 million raid of the Clean Energy Fund.
“The good news is that the New Jersey School of Conservation will survive with $1 million in funding and the Delaware River Water Basin will be fully funded, however we are disappointed that money from the Clean Energy Fund continues to be diverted for other purposes,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. “Funding for environmental priorities can’t be an afterthought if we want to improve the health outcomes and build a robust clean energy economy for all New Jerseyans.”
"The news of an extremely large sum of money being diverted from the Clean Energy Fund is quite troublesome, as the NAACP is well aware of the long term impacts when diversions of resources occur,” said Marcus Sibley, NAACP New Jersey State Conference Environmental & Climate Justice Chairman. “Our communities need affordable energy costs, clean energy sources reducing health disparities, and gainful employment in those developing industries to address the litany of exploitative acts and historic harms. We need more funds allocated; not large sums removed."
“We are pleased to see full funding for the DRBC and PILOT program in the budget, but the continued diversion of Clean Energy Funds is very disappointing,” said Tom Gilbert, campaign director New Jersey Conservation Foundation and ReThink Energy NJ. “The Clean Energy Fund is a critical tool to meet our clean energy goals, reduce energy costs through weatherization and energy efficiency, and create green jobs. At a time of surplus revenues, the continued diversion of these funds is a real missed opportunity to invest in a prosperous clean energy future."
“We are disappointed that the budget resolution to ensure that clean energy funds are not diverted did not pass,” said Trina Mallik, Director of Climate Mitigation, The Nature Conservancy New Jersey Chapter. “The Clean Energy Fund is meant to be a dedicated pool of money to be invested solely in clean energy purposes. Especially in a year where New Jersey’s budget looks solid, there is no justifiable reason why the money should be diverted from the Clean Energy Fund.”
The following is a list of additional New Jersey LCV budget priorities:
● Fund Parks and Trails: The Open Space PILOT program was fully funded at our request of $9.9 million and grants for urban parks were increased to $3.5 million.
● Improve Water Infrastructure: The Lead Hazard Control Assistance fund received $8 million, the Lead-Safe Home Renovation PILOT received $5 million, and Drinking Water and Clean Water Infrastructure received $60 million of the $80 million we asked for to help remediate and remove lead pipes.
● Progress on NJ Transit: New Jersey Transit still does not have a dedicated source of revenue and will continue the crippling process of capital to operating budget transfers to fill some budget gaps on top of transfers from the Clean Energy Fund.
● Build Resilience to Climate Disasters: The Delaware River Basin Commission, tasked with managing the drinking water supply for 13 million people, was fully funded with $893,000. The Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) spending is consistent with previous years.
● Advance Clean Energy: The Clean Energy Fund experienced an $82 million diversion to help pay for NJ Transit utility bills.
“A budget tells the real story about what we truly believe in because we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is. Governor Murphy and the legislature have committed to bold environmental goals to fight climate change, build a green economy, and support environmental justice. They need to make sure the budget reflects those priorities,” said Henry Gajda, Policy Director, New Jersey LCV. “We remain hopeful that with our strong partnership with the legislature, we will see passage of our two remaining and bipartisan “Common Agenda for the Environment” legislative priorities, the Save the Bees Bill (A2070/S1016) and the Updated Appliance Efficiency Standards Bill (A5160/S3324), which can save ratepayers $130 million a year.”
A state poll shows that New Jerseyans of all backgrounds are committed to protecting the environment. Governor Murphy and state legislators must move us forward and protect the beauty and quality of life in our wonderful state for our children and grandchildren.