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planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

News Release | Environment New Jersey

In Big Climate Win, President Obama Drops Arctic Ocean From Off-Shore Drilling Plans

In a win for our oceans and climate, the Obama Administration finalized its oil and gas leasing program, which provides protection for the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, from risky oil and gas drilling for the next five years. The initial 2017 to 2022 Outer Continental Shelf leasing plan proposed by the Obama Administration in January 2015 threatened beaches all along the Atlantic Coast, including the Jersey Shore, and both Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in the Arctic Ocean. With the incoming Trump administration, permament protections for our protected oceans becomes even more paramount.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment New Jersey

Appeals Court Sends South Jersey Gas Pipeline Back to the Pinelands Commission

               The Appellate Division of the Superior Court today agreed with Pinelands advocates that the Pinelands Commission and Board of Public Utilities had improperly approved the controversial South Jersey Gas pipeline without a review and approval by the full membership of the Pinelands Commission.  The court ruled that the Board of Public Utilities improperly relied on the opinion of the Pinelands Commission’s executive director, who had no authority to approve the development under the Pinelands Protection Act and Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center

Charge Ahead?: As NJ Lags Neighbors on Clean Cars, Environment New Jersey Maps Out 50 Steps Towards Carbon-Free Transportation

Pollution from our cars, buses, trucks and trains is taking us dangerously off track to meeting climate goals, according to a new report written by Frontier Group and released by Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center. 50 Steps Toward Carbon-Free Transportation: Rethinking U.S. Transportation Policy to Fight Global Warming concludes that 21st century transportation policy must quickly shift to new priorities, guided by a central goal of curbing climate-altering carbon pollution.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center

50 Steps Toward Carbon-Free Transportation

America and the world must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases immediately and dramatically if we are to prevent the worst impacts of global warming. If the world is to meet the promises of the Paris Climate Agreement, and limit global warming no more than 2 degrees Celsius, the United States will have to virtually eliminate carbon pollution by mid-century. Our transportation system has emerged as Climate Enemy #1, with cars, trucks and other vehicles now representing the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution.

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News Release | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

New Report: Solar Energy Benefits Vastly Outweigh Costs

Solar panels provide pollution-free energy that delivers far-reaching benefits to the environment and the electric grid, said a new report released today by Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center. The report outlines how solar panels on homes, schools and businesses often provide more benefits than they receive through programs like net metering from utilities.

> Keep Reading

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