Governor Murphy's Administration Takes Action on Environmental Justice
Newark, NJ - Today, Clean Water Action joined NJ’s Attorney General Grewal and NJ Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner McCabe where they announced a new round of environmental justice (EJ) enforcement strikes throughout the state. Clean Water Action is pleased to see this administration taking steps to hold polluters accountable to their wrongdoing. Clean Water Action's State Director, Amy Goldsmith responds to today's announcement.
"Industrial operations and illegal dumping have occurred without consequence for too long. This is especially true in EJ communities that are disproportionately impacted by toxic discharges into the air, water and ground. The well being of NJ’s EJ communities is dependent on reducing multiple pollution harms inflicted on communities that are largely low income and people of color. The cities of East Orange, Newark, Kearny, Trenton and Camden are one enforcement action closer to being a safer place to live and work.
We are encouraged by today’s actions, but there is still more the state can do. The New Jersey Legislature and the Administration must work together to pass the strongest version of the cumulative impacts bill S1700 (Singleton, Weinberg) / A5094 (McKeon, Huttle, Timberlake) this coming lame duck session. This legislation would provide a critical tool to give the state’s agencies the authority to say no to new polluting facilities in already overburdened communities.
Clean Water Action also long been an advocate of ramping up training programs in environmental law enforcement. We are excited to learn that the Attorney General is issuing a new handbook for law enforcement officers on how to enforce environmental criminal laws. With more eyes on the street more and swifter actions. This is a first big step. Clean Water Action calls on the Attorney General to go the next step - train community groups and public how to effectively document, report and advance environmental enforcement cases. Properly trained local residents are the best eyes and ears when it comes to holding polluters accountable. We look forward to working with the Attorney General and NJDEP on this and larger EJ actions."
Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration. www.cleanwater.org/nj. www.cleanwater.org/nj