New Jersey League of Conservation Voters is making the environment a top priority in Trenton.


Environment Briefs: Gov. Murphy's advisors say clean energy first priority

Governor Phil Murphy's Environment and Energy Transition Advisory Committee says the administration's first priority should be making a clean energy future a reality in New Jersey.

It proposed four main priorities for the new administration last week, in its report.

The priorities were in line with the “Environmental Agenda ’18, New Jersey’s Conservation Road Map,” released by a coalition of 30 environmental groups last Fall, said New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Ed Potosnak. 

The NJLCV Education Fund led that effort, and the road map gave the new administration a list of priorities in nine categories the groups want the administration to tackle in its first 100 days, first year and first term.

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Environmental Agenda '18 Maps a Plan for Governor Murphy

Agenda 18 Press Conference

Governor Phil Murphy was sworn in to office on January 16, 2018, and with his new role comes the responsibility of addressing environmental issues facing the Garden State. In response to these challenges, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund released Environmental Agenda ’18: New Jersey’s Conservation Roadmap, a report that contains expert recommendations and goals to address top environmental challenges and ensure a cleaner, greener New Jersey in mid-November. Environmental Agenda ’18 makes recommendations for Murphy's first 100 days, first year, and first term.

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Clean, plentiful water is New Jersey’s lifeblood

Fishermen enjoy the clean, beautiful waters of New Jersey.

Much is overhyped lately, but there is no exaggerating the importance of abundant clean water. Quite simply, it’s critical to our health, environment and economy.

Unlike some states where water is scarce, New Jersey is defined by water. We’re bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Hudson River, Delaware River and Delaware Bay, and have an almost uncountable number of rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, marshes, bays and estuaries.

With nearly 9 million residents, a thriving agricultural industry and many water-dependent businesses, the Garden State’s clean water needs are enormous. But so are the threats.

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Hurricane Sandy

The latest hurricane disasters are yet another wake-up call. Climate change is happening and causing sea-level rise, worsening storm surges, increasing air temperatures that lead to more rainfall, and boosting water temperatures — all of which make storms more severe. July 2017 was the hottest month ever measured on earth, raising the temperature (up to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average) of the Gulf of Mexico, and making Harvey wetter and stronger, jumping to a Category 4 hurricane just hours before making landfall — an unprecedented event in decades of record keeping. Millions of people have been affected. People are in need of shelter and services, and just as we saw after Superstorm Sandy, damaged facilities are spewing toxic materials into communities, and public health is at risk.

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OPINION: In the Highlands, it’s all about the water

If you drink Budweiser, you’re drinking water from New Jersey’s Highlands.

A rugged, mostly forested 1,250-square-mile region stretching diagonally across northern New Jersey, the Highlands supplies drinking water to about 6.2 million people, or more than 70 percent of the state’s population. That includes residents of Newark, Jersey City and Paterson, the state’s three largest cities, as well as parts of 16 of New Jersey’s 21 counties.

Thanks to purification provided naturally and for free by Highlands forests, the region’s water is among the cleanest and least expensive in the U.S.

New Jersey’s pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and food and beverage industries depend on this clean Highlands water. When you’re enjoying an ice cold Bud or other brew made at Anheuser Busch’s Newark plant, toast the waters of the Highlands.

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America doesn't care about climate change because we elected Trump? Hogwash! | Opinion

President Trump pulled the US from the Paris Accord on climate change shortly after meeting with world leaders earlier this year.

When the solar eclipse happened on Aug. 21, millions of people in the continental U.S. went outdoors to witness this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon of nature. No one called it a hoax, denied it was happening, or asked what was the cause.

Climate change – and the human activity that causes it – is equally validated by scientists, but unfortunately some continue to deny the reality as the clock ticks and temperatures rise.

In a recent column, Paul Mulshine falsely concluded that voters don’t care that much about climate change because they elected a climate-denying president who promised to lead the resurgence of coal mining.

Hogwash! Voters in New Jersey care deeply about the environment. According to a recent poll by Washington, D.C.-based Global Strategies Group commissioned by the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, 62 percent want the government to do more to address climate change, and 57 percent oppose President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Seventy-one percent want our next governor to be a leader in fighting climate change, and more than two-thirds support moving New Jersey to a 100 percent clean energy portfolio.

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OPINION: New Jersey’s energy future at a crossroads

Green Energy Future

When you turn on the lights, you’re probably not thinking about where your energy comes from. But the source of our energy has huge impacts on the health of New Jersey’s families, environment, communities and economy.

What are the choices? Will we continue to increase our dependence on fossil fuels? Oil and gas have been cheap and plentiful for many years but they can and do pollute our air and water, threaten human health, and generate emissions leading to climate change. Or will we catch a new wave of clean, renewable energy sources — like responsibly-sited offshore wind and solar — and boosting energy efficiency? Long thought of as futuristic, solar and wind are rapidly becoming cost effective and more readily available.

Not long ago, New Jersey was a national leader in clean energy and energy efficiency. For example, in 1999 the state adopted the “Renewable Portfolio Standard” which required retail electric suppliers to obtain a percentage of their energy from renewable sources.

But our clean energy efforts have lagged since Gov. Christie withdrew New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and his administration delayed progress on offshore wind. The Christie administration’s current policies favor increased use of natural gas to generate energy.

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Feds Award $70M to Upgrade Wastewater, Drinking Water Systems


The federal government yesterday awarded nearly $70 million to New Jersey to help fund projects to upgrade sewage-treatment plants and drinking-water systems.

The allocation should help finance more than a half-billion-dollars worth of projects through the state’s Environmental Infrastructure Trust, a vehicle set up to help communities fund clean-water projects.

The award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is part of an annual appropriation to help the state raise water quality by improving treatment at wastewater plants and public systems providing drinking water to residents.

The money will help put a dent into one of New Jersey’s most pressing infrastructure needs — upgrading aging sewage-treatment systems and drinking water facilities.

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Opinion: NJ Environment Under Two-Pronged Assault

Riverfront Park in Newark was built with Natural Resource Damage funds

The Trump administration’s proposal to cut funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will directly impact federal safeguards for clean water, air and natural resources in this state we’re in. The proposal would roll back decades of progress in protecting public health and environmental quality.

Here in New Jersey, we too are debating the impact of cuts to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection proposed by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration. And since New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection gets significant funding from the EPA, the impacts to New Jersey would be magnified.

This one-two punch from the Christie and Trump administrations would worsen what is already a difficult situation. New Jersey is the nation’s most densely populated state, with a history of industrial pollution, including more Superfund cleanup sites than any other state. As a coastal state, New Jersey is also on the front lines of climate change and sea level rise.

To make matters worse, the Christie administration’s raiding of dedicated funds has depleted funding for clean energy and the cleanup of contaminated sites.

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Local Residents Join Thousands for 'People's Climate March'

Seth Levin and Ed Potosnak march at the People's Climate March.

Thousands of people gathered Saturday in the nation's capital to demand action on climate change, and hundreds of them came from New Jersey, and many of them were residents of Franklin Township and surrounding towns. 

"It is vital that we get the message out and we keep it alive, how important it is that we do the right things with regards to the climate to save the environment," Councilwoman Rozalyn Sherman (Ward-2) said, as she was heading out on one of the many buses leaving the state to travel to D.C.

"We're thrilled that we are sending two buses through the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and our Green in 17 campaign which is elevating conservation issues in the garden state," Ed Potosnak executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund said. "Particularly around the governors' race, we are partnering with some folks from Newark to get down there and march. We are really excited, we sold out our buses three weeks ago. There's just been so much overwhelming interest in showing up and standing up for what we believe in. There are buses all across the state, we're not the only ones, there are buses leaving from New Brunswick, folks leaving from Princeton, Berkley Heights, West Orange, and Bayonne, so it's definitely going to be a massive event."

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