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makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

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Report | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

Shining Rewards

Solar panels provide pollution-free energy that delivers far-reaching benefits to the environment and the electric grid, said a new report 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.

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News Release

PSEG Power Announces Retirement of Last Two Coal-Fired Power Plants in New Jersey

New Brunswick -- PSEG Power announced today it will close the last two coal-fired power plants in New Jersey.

The Hudson Generation Station in Jersey City, and the Mercer Generation Station in Hamilton Township will shut down on June 1, 2017. PSEG noted that these plants are no longer cost-competitive, and that it would be too expensive to update their old technology to meet modern standards.

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News Release | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center

Drinking Water Quality Institute Documents Health Impacts of PFOA Contamination in NJ's Drinking Water Supply

A three-hour long meeting by the NJ Drinking Water Quality Institute presented in minute detail the scientific underpinnings of the recent announcement by the Institute to propose the toughest standard in the country for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid, which was originally used in Teflon & other non-stick appliances) for drinking water in New Jersey of 14 parts per trillion. The extensive health impacts study showed the detailed analysis on why the Institute was recommending a health protective standard and the weakness of the current EPA standard of 70 parts per trillion.

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News Release | Environment New Jersey

Rutgers Students Join Local Activists To Protect Grand Canyon

Two days before National Public Lands Day, Rutgers students came together with local activists for an Hour of Action calling on President Obama to establish the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument. The event, which was sponsored by NJPIRG Student Chapters, Environment New Jersey and the New Jersey Sierra Club, brought environmentalists from all across New Jersey together to take political action to work to preserve the integrity of one of the nation's pre-eminent iconic landscapes.
 

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