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During the month of March, I had the opportunity to attend the Moving Forward Network conference in Washington DC. The conference brought together a diverse and talented group of individuals and organizations committed to fighting for environmental justice and promoting sustainable communities.

One of the key topics discussed was the negative air pollution impacts of the freight industry and what we were going to do to get the remedies we seek. As Clean Water Action’s Zero Emissions and Warehouse Organizer, I have seen first hand the harmful impacts of the warehouse industry. As online shopping becomes more prevalent, there has been a proliferation of large warehouses to store and distribute goods all across the Garden State. However, these warehouses often have a significant negative impact on air quality, particularly in low-income and communities of color.

Dirty diesel trucks emit nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and many other co-pollutants as they move from port to warehouse to delivery. They cause a wide range of health problems, including asthma, lung cancer, strokes, and heart disease. These health impacts are often felt most acutely by the most vulnerable members of our society, including children and the elderly.

Unfortunately, New Jersey’s newly finalized Environmental Justice law does not include air emissions from mobile sources, warehouses, ports or other aspects of goods movement. We need another solution. Clean Water Action is exploring the potential of a provision of the federal Clean Air Act, called Indirect Source Review (ISR), to reduce air pollution at warehouses, ports, and other locations where truck emissions are concentrated. Indirect Source Review would allow us to impose conditions at these locations as if they had one smokestack (like a power plant) instead of many tailpipes. In doing so, we can better protect the health and well-being of nearby communities.

Attending the Moving Forward network conference was such a humbling experience that truly reinforced the importance of addressing environmental justice issues and working together to build more sustainable, equitable communities. By taking action to significantly reduce air pollution and its negative impacts, we can help ensure that everyone has access to clean air and a healthy environment. 

Take action now by signing up to become an Environmental Justice Ambassador today. Check out last week's blog which mentions other Clean Water Action initiatives being taken to ensure the state’s new EJ Law is being utilized to its fullest capacity! 

Join us May 2nd for our World Asthma Day webinar about air pollution, their health effects and bringing the EJ law to life.