The Clean Water Blog

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New Jersey Legislative Priorities for 2020!

We're gearing up for an exciting new legislative session - and hope you will join us in holding our elected officials accountable and prioritizing clean water, our health and the environment!

Last year was a mixed (but not banned) bag for New Jersey's Legislature passing environmental and public health legislation. To start, Clean Water Action's NJ Scorecard actually gave the entire legislature a failing grade, through October 2019, due to their inability to "get the job done" and get important environmental bills over the finish line. Fortunately, during the last three months of the session we were able to get a few key bills passed including:

  • Electric Vehicles (S2252/A4819): This a great victory for mitigating climate change, improving public health and greening our economy. It will electrify the state's transportation system — 40% of the state’s carbon footprint.

  • Lead Service Lines (S4110/A5854): Critical to enabling municipalities to replace lead service lines without any legal roadblocks. Allows municipalities to pass an ordinance to allow workers access to private property to help get lead out of our water.

  • Climate Impacts (S3215/A4606): Requires all state agencies to use a 20-year, not just a 100-year time horizon to more accurately calculate the global warming potential of greenhouse gases and thus the reduction needed to avert the climate crisis.

  • Solar Program (S4275/A6088): Lifts artificial caps on NJ's solar program through 2024.

  • Hydrofluorocarbons (S3919/A5583). Bans the sale or installation of commercial and industrial equipment containing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and other greenhouse gases that threaten the ozone. 

In 2020, our top priorities are to ensure the NJ Legislature and Governor:

  • Ban Plastic Bags (S864/A1978): In NJ alone, over 4 billion single-use disposable bags are used annually which clog and pollute waterways and harm marine life. Despite overwhelming support, this bill stalled last session. If over a million New Jerseyans can comply with plastic bag bans in over 50 towns and 2 counties, there’s no reason the state can’t.

  • Follow the Climate Science: Get on track to cut emissions by 45% by 2030 starting with Empower NJ’s call for Governor Murphy to enact a targeted moratorium on new fossil fuel projects.

  • Tackle NJ’s Lead Crisis: This is a five alarm fire and we need to prioritize every solution and step available to us from inventories to disclosure, replacement and funding. 

  • Pass a Strong Cumulative Impacts Environmental Justice Bill (S232/A2212): Decision makers must be given the authority to say no to new polluting facilities in already overburdened communities.

  • Pass NJ's Green Amendment (SCR30/ACR80): Amend the state constitution to recognize and protect an individual’s rights to clean air and water, and a healthy environment as inalienable human rights deserving of the highest constitutional and legal protection.

Last but not least, we're working to ban unsafe oil trains and increase public safety; protect Liberty State Park from development; strengthen food waste recycling (Senate bill S865); confirm gubernatorial appointments critical to protecting the Highlands and Pinelands; and establish more progressive funding streams to help expand core, underfunded environmental programs.

We can't wait any longer to tackle these problems. It's critical that we act with urgency, especially when our water, environment and health are at stake. Join us in demanding our elected officials act now! When you receive our email action alerts, be sure to click the links to send messages to your legislators. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on lobby days and other ways to help.

Together, we are making a difference. Let’s get this done in 2020!