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Welcome to Clean Water on the Move, your monthly update from Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund in New Jersey. Take a look at what our amazing staff has been up to and what is coming in the month ahead. Thanks for your ongoing support for our work towards a healthy environment for all. 

Image of Clean Water Action Zero Waste Organizer Marta Young with Red Bank Council persons

Skip the Stuff New Jersey!  

Clean Water Action is leading a Skip the Stuff campaign to help New Jersey municipalities pass local ordinances that will be a win-win for the environment and the people! Restaurants would only provide cutlery and condiments for take-out orders upon request. 

With every take out order, restaurants typically provide flimsy plastic utensils and condiments that simply get thrown away or tossed in a junk drawer at home because they prefer to use their own silverware. Condiments often are put in the refrigerator unused then tossed in the garbage after the expiration date passes. Skip the Stuff saves restaurants money, prevents waste and saves the planet from the toxics associated with the manufacturing, transport and disposal of plastics. 

In just the first two months of Clean Water Action’s campaign, there are over a dozen towns who are moving forward to reduce unnecessary plastic waste. Clean Water Action has been meeting with municipal Green Teams, government officials and making presentations at town council meetings to get local ordinances written and passed. We recently met with Senator Smith, Chair of the Senate Environment Committee, and his staff who expressed interest in statewide legislation to Skip the Stuff. 

Organized by Marta Young, Clean Water Action’s Zero Waste Specialist, NBC’s Ted Greenberg ran a story highlighting Clean Water Action’s Skip the Stuff campaign. It aired on Friday February 2 in Philadelphia, New York, and in NJ (channels NBC4 and NBC10). Clean Water Board Members Nancy Facey-Blackwood and Ben Forest were interviewed as well. As Red Bank Council Members, they cast affirmative votes for their local Skip the Stuff ordinance. 

For more information, visit our website here. To help your town pass a Skip the Stuff ordinance, contact Marta Young

Graphic: Three hands and a banner with the colors of Black History Month, red, yellow and green

Reflecting on the EJ Movement during Black History Month! 

Check out this excerpt of a Black History Month blog post our Zero Emissions & Warehouse Organizer, Tolani Taylor wrote: 

"As we take time to reflect on many important individuals and events that have contributed so much to Black History, it is also important to understand the connection between black history and the environmental justice (EJ) movement. We live in a society that has institutionalized systemic racism for hundreds of years and its impact is most concentrated in majority BIPOC and low-income communities. 

Environmental racism comes in many different forms - food deserts (lack of supermarkets and fresh foods), water contamination, siting polluting facilities close to where people live, not properly funding or cleaning up toxic waste sites, and allowing developers to build unwanted facilities. As result, it compromises people’s health including shortened life spans, creates an unsustainably built environment, financial hardships due to higher medical costs and lost workdays.  

In contrast, the essence of the EJ movement is to empower and give voice to the community most impacted so they can advocate and protect their families from environmental hazards, ensure preventative and enforcement measures are taken, and funds are invested in more sustainable systems." You can read the full blog post here

Image of air pollution from canva

A Victory for Environmental Justice! 

The Jersey City Council unanimously passed a resolution that Clean Water Action put forth, demanding crucial emission controls for the Diversified Global Graphics’ Group (DG3) in Jersey City! This historic achievement underscores the power of community advocacy and collective action. 

The petition signatures we gathered played a pivotal role in this success, demonstrating the strength of our unified voice in safeguarding the well-being of vulnerable Jersey City residents. 

We are now dedicated to securing an agreement from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for a second hearing and extension. This next step is critical as we strive to empower our community further and combat the harmful effects of DG3. 

Reflecting on our recent testimony, key facts emerge: 

  • DG3 has operated in Jersey City for four decades, consistently breaching compliance standards set by the NJDEP. 
  • Hazardous air pollutants emitted by DG3 pose severe health risks, including heritable gene mutations, cancers, and neurological disorders. 
  • DG3's failure to communicate effectively and silencing of the community during the comment period highlight the urgent need for meaningful engagement. 

This victory is a testament to our collective dedication to justice and community well-being. Together, we are shaping a more just and equitable future for Jersey City. 

Stay tuned and in touch with X Braithwaite for further updates as we navigate the next crucial stages of our campaign.  

Image of Clean Water Action EJ Director Kim Gaddy with Ironbound Community Corporation and Tammy Murphy at a press event

Clean Water Action Responds to Tammy Murphy’s Opposition to PVSC Gas Plant   

On Tuesday, February 20th, Tammy Murphy publicly opposed construction of a new Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) gas-powered plant. “Families living in Newark are already disproportionately exposed to pollution and will experience further serious health risks as the result of this new gas-fired power plant," Murphy declared. 

Local organizations - Ironbound Community Corporation and South Ward Environmental Alliance, along with Clean Water Action and others have long called for the denial of this permit. At the press conference, Kim Gaddy, National Environmental Justice Director of Clean Water Action stated, "Black and brown lungs have had enough,” she said. “If the Murphy Administration and NJ Transit can pull the plug on a dirty gas plant just a couple miles away, as they just did, why can’t it happen here in Newark? Governor Murphy and PVSC, are you listening?”  

If the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission gas-powered plant is allowed to move forward, it would the 4th power plant in an already overburdened community, one faced with multiple major sources of pollution and chronic health impacts that both shorten people’s lives and inhibit their ability to thrive. Learn more.