What’s happening in Washington

The president put someone in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency who has sued that same agency 14 times to weaken clean air, clean water and other environmental protections.

He signed an executive order to put the Keystone XL pipeline on a fast track to construction, another order designed to eliminate Clean Water Act protections for nearly 2 million miles of America’s streams, including 4,087 miles in New Jersey, and a third order rolling back the Clean Power Plan, effectively allowing power plants to emit more pollution and adding more soot to the air we breathe and more climate-destabilizing carbon pollution to the planet’s atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Congress has passed legislation abolishing new stream water protections from coal mining in Appalachia, voted to make it easier to sell off public lands, and introduced bills to abolish the EPA.

After talking during the campaign about “abolishing” the EPA himself or “leaving just a little bit,” the president proposed a budget that would slash EPA funding by 31 percent. These cuts would virtually eliminate funding for proven programs needed to clean up the nation’s great waterways, from San Francisco Bay to Puget Sound; decimate environmental research and science programs, and effectively take the nation’s environmental cops off the polluter beat.

A “little bit” of environmental protection is not nearly enough—not when it comes to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the people and places we love. 

Most Americans want more, not fewer, protections for the people and places we love

These moves to dismantle our environmental protections violate core values shared by millions of Americans.

The vast majority of us believe the health of our children is more valuable than the dollars saved when a company dumps pollution into our air or water. The future of our children and life on our planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies. The idea that we’ve found some places so special, some would even say sacred, that we’ve declared them off-limits to development is one of our proudest achievements.

But our environmental values are meaningless if we don’t act on them, and stand up and defend them when they’re under attack— especially given the power of old but entrenched industries that are wed to a status quo that no longer serves our needs, and a worldview that puts their short-term economic interests above the health of the American people and the environment we share.

Our path forward

Our best chance of stopping these attacks will come in the U.S. Senate, where 41 votes will be enough to block most legislation.

Environment New Jersey, together with our nationwide network of state affiliates, is urging our senators to stand up and protect our health and the places we love.

And if enough of us speak up, we can win.

Recently, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah filed a bill that would sell off 3.3 million acres of America’s public lands — an area the size of Connecticut. Several days later he withdrew the bill in the face of overwhelming public opposition, including 1,000 people in Montana turning out to a pro-public lands rally and this comment from an National Rifle Association member on Chaffetz’s Facebook page: “Rescind H.R. 621 the sale of public lands! It’s not your land to sell. It’s the people’s land. Many people use it for many purposes.” Hear and respect our voice.”

We can win, but only if we bring together people from all walks of life, from both sides of the political divide, and unite in action to defend the places we love.

Reckless proposals to roll back clean air, clean water and other environmental protections keep coming every week. We need to build support now to protect our health and environment.

Now, it's up to us

The leaders and activists of the past saw the result of decades of unchecked pollution in our smog-covered skylines and our toxic rivers. They worked against all odds and, ultimately, their values won the day. Our environmental forbears organized the first Earth Day, supported and passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Now the torch passes to us.

The children we know and love today can live cleaner, healthier lives in a greener world, but only if we can keep our environmental protections in place and make them stronger. It’s up to us.

Issue updates

Report | Environment New Jersey

Less Shelter from the Storm: An Analysis of How Federal Budget Proposals Put New Jersey at Risk

Environment New Jersey analyzed the FY 2018 budget proposed by President Trump in the spring of 2017 and the current House and Senate appropriations bills and their impact on programs that protect communities from storm-related impacts. Overall, the Trump administration proposes a 31% ($2.6 billion) budget decrease for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -- the primary agency for protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink, and reducing our exposure to toxic chemicals.

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News Release | Environment New Jersey

Less Shelter from the Storm: Trump & Congressional Budgets Put New Jersey at Risk

After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma recently pummeled our coasts, Environment New Jersey warned that pending budget proposals from the Trump Administration and Congress threaten key programs that protect our communities from storm- related impacts.  The group documented threats to programs that prevent or curb flooding, sewage overflows and leaks from toxic waste sites. Environment New Jersey also called for preventing more global warming-fueled extreme weather in the future. 

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Blog Post

What to do when the Waffle House closes: Advice from an Irma evacuee | Jennifer Rubiello

Friday morning at 5 a.m. The sky is dark, but the roads are clear and I’m just a few miles away from my AirBnb in Murfreesboro, Tennessee — valuables, pup and nourishment in tow. After 18 hours of driving, I’m exhausted but grateful to be out of harm’s way.

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News Release | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

Back To School: New Toolkit To Help Get The Lead Out from School Drinking Water

With “back to school” in full swing this week, Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center offered a new toolkit to help parents, teachers, and administrators Get the Lead Out of schools’ drinking water.  Citing a lack of accurate information on lead contamination in water and how schools should prevent it, Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center encouraged parents and teachers to put the new toolkit on their “back to school” reading list. 

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Report | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

Get the Lead Out Back to School Toolkit

Our children need safe drinking water – especially at their schools.  Unfortunately, lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country, including here in New Jersey. This “Back to School” toolkit is designed to help parents, teachers and school officials get the facts on lead in drinking water and make the case for strong local action to ensure safe drinking water at school.

 

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