The 2018-2019 legislature is failing to do its job to protect people and the environment
Long Branch, NJ - The New Jersey legislature refuses to address the major environmental challenges facing the state, according to the 2018-2019 Clean Water Action Scorecard released today. The scorecard can be viewed online here.
“As the scorecard shows, from the climate crisis to the lead crisis, our legislators have been unwilling to rise to the occasion,” said Eric Benson, NJ Campaign Director. “Luckily there is plenty of time in the lame duck session to change course. Legislative leadership needs to start listening to the public and following the lead of the pro-environment bill sponsors to make New Jersey a leader on environmental protections again.”
After reviewing dozens of bills, Clean Water Action scored the legislature on the 22 most significant actions and found the following:
- Too many incompletes: 13 key pro-environment actions that are stalled in the legislature
- Failing Grades: 6 significant bills that were anti-environment, by design or by process, that quickly passed both houses
- Too few passing Grades: 3 pro-environment bills that did pass and become law
- Emerging Environmental Leaders: 19 legislators who stood up for the environment even when the majority of the legislature would not stand with them
“The legislature has kicked responsible budget solutions down the road, and appointments to critical environmental commissions have been neglected,” noted Janet Tauro, NJ Board Chair. “Too few individual legislators have been willing or able to challenge a process that allows good environmental bills to stall while bills catering to special interests pass quickly.”
Rather than giving each legislator a score based on their individual votes, as it has in the past, Clean Water Action graded the legislature as a whole because of the near total failure of the legislature to pass substantial environmental bills so far this term.
“This is a failure of leadership to prioritize public health, clean water, and environmental justice,” stated Amy Goldsmith, State Director. “However there is still time during the lame duck session for positive environmental actions and legislation.”
“Protecting the environment, promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency, fighting the climate crisis, and ensuring safe drinking water are all key to ensuring a healthier life for our families and a strong green jobs economy,” added Tauro. “We can't have a healthy economy without a healthy environment.”
The scorecard highlights the key environmental bills that are currently stalled which would have an immediate positive environmental impact. The Plastic Bag Ban and Electric Vehicles bills are well known and popular throughout the state. Additionally, the Environmental Justice bill and a package of bills and funding sources to address lead service lines are long overdue and urgently needed to begin to address the disproportionate impacts of pollution in low income communities and communities of color. A group of pro-environment legislators has been leading the way on these and other positive actions.
“We would like to give a special shout-out to the 19 legislators who stood up for the environment this term. It’s not easy being green in NJ,” said Benson. “Colleagues should listen to these environmental legislative leaders and the public and do everything they can to get the stalled bills over the finish line in the strongest form possible before the end of lame duck.”
Clean Water Action’s Legislative Scorecard 2018–19 represents an overview of the New Jersey Legislature as a whole on bills, funding, appointments, and leadership focused on environmental and health issues from January 2018 through September 2019. The full report is available at www.CleanWaterAction.org/NJscorecard2019. Three previous scorecards, including individual legislator ratings produced by Clean Water Action for the years 2010 through August 2017, are also available there.
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. www.cleanwater.org/nj. www.cleanwater.org/nj