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makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

Trump Tells Climate Science To Drop Dead with Latest Climate Denier Executive Order

Today, President Trump will sign an executive order rolling back climate progress, which was strongly denounced by environmental advocates. The executive order instructs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to rewrite the Clean Power Plan, the single largest step the U.S. has taken to limit climate change. The order also lifts the moratorium on federal coal leasing and limits on methane from fracking operations. The administration also initiated a process to reconsider the Social Cost of Carbon and the National Environmental Policy Act guidance on climate pollution. 

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News Release | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

Report on NJ Lead in Drinking Water Response Shows State Slow on Remediation; Legislators & Advocates Call for Bulked Up State Response for Both Testing, Remediation & Funding

Citing growing evidence of pervasive lead contamination in the state’s drinking water, legislators and advocates joined together to release a report by Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center documenting lead’s health impacts and calling for action for both testing and remediating lead from our drinking water and homes. The report documented the pro-active responses from other states for both testing and remediation to remove lead as a threat from drinking water, especially in the school environment. 

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Report | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

Get the Lead Out: Ensuring Safe Drinking Water For Our Children in School

Lead is highly toxic and especially damaging to children -- impairing their learning and development, lowering their intelligence and altering their behavior. Right now, regulations are too weak to protect our children from lead-laden water at school, testing is too haphazard and non-transparent, and remediation is left to chance. Because lead is so toxic, the most health-protective policy is to remove lead from our schools and pre-schools.

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News Release | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

Pinelands Commission Vote To Approve South Jersey Gas Pipeline Massive Blow To The Pinelands

At a packed and contentious meeting at a Crowne Plaza hotel ballroom in Cherry Hill, the Pinelands Commission voted by a margin of 9-5, with one abstention, to approve the highly controversial South Jersey Gas pipeline, which will bisect the Pinelands Forest Area for 15 miles as part of an effort to repower the B.L. England peaker plant. The vote occurred without any public comment preceding the action, despite massive public protest.

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News Release | Environment New Jersey

Scott Pruitt Wrong For New Jersey’s Environment: Senate Approves Pruitt 52-46, Ignoring Calls for Release of Fossil Fuel Industry E-Mails

Today, the U.S. Senate voted to approve President Trump’s nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Doug O’Malley, Environment New Jersey’s Director issued the following statement opposing the decision by the Senate and outlining why Mr. Pruitt is the wrong choice to lead the EPA, the agency he has so aggressively attacked.

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