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As Clean Water Action’s Zero Emissions and Warehouse Organizer, I had the opportunity to organize an all-day Warehouse Convening on June 24th in Princeton, NJ. This event brought together community activists, elected officials, labor organizers, legal advocates from rural, suburban and urban areas with varied experiences but all eager to talk about strategies to not only stop warehouse overdevelopment in New Jersey but create a better freight/goods movement system for the entire state. 

Throughout the day, attendees were very engaged in two sets of breakout sessions and large group discussions focused on applying real life solutions to address the influx of warehouse developments.  Learn more by viewing Clean Water Action’s Warehouse Convening Presentation. Clean Water Action also partnered with Eastern Environmental Law Center in creating a resource sheet to guide those whose warehouse fights may escalate into lawsuits.  

E-commerce has exponentially increased the demand for warehouses development in the Garden State. This has created a whole string of problems including increased truck traffic, toxic air pollution from diesel powered trucks, flooding caused by poor site design and more impervious cover, loss of natural habitats and farmlands, etc. The issue also continues to exasperate the health and well-being of already overburdened environmental justice, port-adjacent communities throughout the Garden State. We learned from Clean Water Action’s new Environmental Justice Organizer, X Braithwaite, own experience of what it’s like to work in a refrigerated warehouse – wearing three layers of clothing to stay warm and still getting frostbitten toes.  

Even though several state warehouse bills have been proposed and the New Jersey Office of State Planning created a very helpful Warehouse Guidance Document, no new safeguards or laws have been passed. The guidance document does not mandate that NJ municipalities utilize its recommendations in their master plans, zoning ordinances, or site permit approvals.  

Now more than ever we need to continue building on the momentum of Clean Water Action’s recent warehouse convening by:

  1. Expanding our networks with current and new allies to stop problematic warehouse proposals.
  2. Advocating for stronger state-wide warehouse legislation that mandates a reduction in harm to communities, workers and environment.
  3. Calling for aggressive remedies in already overburdened, environmental justice, and port-adjacent communities that are impacted the most by NJ’s freight industry.
  4. Advocating for zero-emission standards to be met for all aspects of NJ’s logistics industry and most importantly.
  5. Empowering community members to run for local and elected office. Take action now by signing up for local election training with Clean Water Action.  

If you want a positive outcome in local decision-making, you need a majority of people in the office, making the right decision when critical votes are cast. Playing a proactive role could help stop or mitigate the worst aspects of some of these projects in the first place. Together we can create a more ethical and sustainable freight and goods movement! Learn more on our campaign page or contact me if you would like to get more involved! 

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