Clean Water Action applauds Governor Murphy, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe on Environmental Justice Initiative to target polluters

Thursday, December 6, 2018
By Jenny Vickers

Camden, NJ – Clean Water Action applauds the Murphy Administration’s announcement at 1 pm today of eight lawsuits filed across the state to hold polluters accountable in environmental justice communities, including Camden and Newark.

The lawsuits, announced by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe, are part of a new initiative to prosecute polluters in communities that historically have suffered the most from contamination and environmental hazards.

“These lawsuits can rightly hold polluters accountable and send a strong message to deter future environmental injustices,” said Amy Goldsmith, Clean Water Action NJ state director. “Clean air and water are a right not a privilege. Taking action is long overdue for lower-income and of color communities that are overburdened by pollution sources that exist under the radar.”

Grewal also announced establishment of an Environmental Enforcement and Environmental Justice Section in the Attorney General’s office, a move that drew praise from Clean Water Action’s Environmental Justice Organizer, Kim Gaddy.

“By prioritizing the cumulative impacts of polluters on front-line communities, the Murphy Administration is taking firm action to build a “stronger and fairer” New Jersey and bolster economic growth,” said Gaddy. “As a Newark resident, I’m thankful a clear message is being sent that economic growth, environmental protection, and environmental justice must exist in our future.”

The eight actions identified in the lawsuits are; Camden, Flemington, Palmyra, Pennsauken, Phillipsburg, Trenton, and two in Newark.

Camden residents were exposed to chromium contamination in drinking water from the Puchack Wellfield. Clean Water Action challenged an original clean-up as insufficient, and longtime Pennsauken resident and Clean Water Action board member, Sharon Finlayson was pleased to see the site revisited and enforcement action taken.

“We’re pleased to see the state returning to the scene of the crime,” said Finlayson. “The public and environment has been exposed to continued toxic threats for far too long. There is a clear message being sent now. Polluters won’t get away with it and they must pay!”

Clean Water Action looks forward to working with the Murphy Administration to ensure economic, environmental, and health equity to benefit all communities that are disproportionately burdened with multiple sources of pollution and environmental crimes.

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Clean Water Action has more than 150,000 members statewide in New Jersey and is the nation's largest grassroots group focused on water, energy and environmental health.  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 and Congress. www.cleanwater.org/nj

Kim Gaddy, Clean Water Action
973-420-7925
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