LIFT America Up with Environmentally Sound Infrastructure not a Shakedown on Environmental and Public Health Protections
New Brunswick, NJ - Clean Water Action joined with over 24 New Jersey environmental, labor, public works and business leaders for a roundtable discussion led by Congressman Frank Pallone about the Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act, or LIFT America Act. It calls for major investment in drinking water, renewable energy, climate resiliency, public health protections, brownfields redevelopment and broad band access. It was introduced by 31 House Environment and Commerce Committee Democrats. Congressman Pallone (D-NJ), who chairs this committee, delivered remarks on May 22nd before the full body.
Clean Water Action, whose founder helped write the original Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water in 1972 and 1974 respectively, understands the importance of clean, safe and affordable water infrastructure in protecting public health and economy. This proposal calls attention to an emerging crisis – PFAS in our drinking water and need to expand and increase reauthorizations for the drinking water State Revolving Fund (SRF). Clean Water Action’s State Director, Amy Goldsmith, made the following statement:
“You cannot grow and process food, manufacturer goods including pharmaceuticals, or create beverages without clean, safe water. You can not slow down the emerging impacts of climate change without converting to 100 percent renewables (solar, wind) and creating electric vehicle charging infrastructure as well as turnover fleets of buses, trucks and other equipment where their adverse diesel impacts are concentrated – cities and ports.
You cannot make our country stronger, more climate resilient and economically sound if we do not create good family supporting jobs especially for people and communities that have carried the body burden of pollution and have been deprived of the positive economic and environmental benefits that others have enjoyed.
You cannot create a more just and vibrant nation if you do not include people most impacted in future decision-making, or take steps to eliminate current statutory and regulatory tools for engagement (e.g. National Environmental Policy Act, NEPA) and bringing a civil action in the courts against wrong doing (provisions of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, just to name a few).
The White House has been intent on dismantling environmental and public health safeguards and mechanisms for public scrutiny through the various infrastructure bills that he has proposed. We can not let that happen. In fact, the public, on both sides of the aisle, is overwhelmingly opposed.
According to a Center for American Progress and Defenders of Wildlife poll, ‘ninety-four percent of Americans, including 92 percent of people who voted for President Donald Trump, say that the country can build and modernize infrastructure while keeping environmental protections in place….Americans support the notion that strong environmental protections produce better infrastructure, which protects communities and the environment while saving taxpayer money. They disagree with the false premise—held by President Trump and his allies—that current environmental protections delay infrastructure projects.’
This same poll also demonstrates that a ‘clear majority of voters—64 percent—oppose an infrastructure proposal that would weaken environmental protections in order to build more infrastructure projects’.
New Jersey, like many states across the country, are in desperate need of repair and technological innovation if we are going to grow a new green economy that everyone can benefit from. We should focus our precious public and private dollars, time, and talents on LIFTing up, not eliminating, our environmental, public health and community safeguards while also creating good life long jobs to meet the climate changing challenges of the future.”
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. Clean Water Action has 150,000 members in NJ and nearly 1 million nationwide. www.cleanwater.org/nj