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SC Year End Review- 2017 by jeff tittel, director of the new jersey sierra club

2017 has been a troubling year for New Jersey. Governor Chris Christie’s legacy before leaving office is to roll back the environmental legacies of all the other NJ governors. The Trump administration has declared war on the environment, by ending programs to stop climate change and reduce air pollution. Despite the current threats to our environment, people are more engaged than ever. Increasing numbers of people have become more active by attending the Women’s March in Trenton and Asbury, the March for Science in Trenton and Princeton and the People’s Climate March in D.C

People's Climate March in Washington, D.C- 2017

We are fighting multiple battles to protect the integrity of New Jersey’s environment. The Sierra Club of New Jersey is in court to contest Christie’s sellout of the Exxon settlement — $225 million for $8.9 billion in environmental damage. We are also in court challenging Ed McGlinchey’s vote to push through two dangerous and unnecessary pipelines. Recently discovered documents reveal that he’s been living in Atlantic County for three years under a certified legal address. This means that he was representing, and voting for, Camden County for the last few years while actually living in Atlantic County We believe that his vote was illegal and the decision to approve the pipeline should not stand. We are urging our Legislators to protect our water in the Highlands by passing a resolution that determines DEP Highlands Septic Rule is against legislative intent.

In New Jersey, we have helped achieve major victories to keep our water clean and keep fossil fuels in the ground. In a victory for the Highlands and clean water, the Court has upheld the Highlands Act and denied the sewer permit for the Bellemead facility. Township council members in Wanaque approved the planned demolition of the Lakeside Manor houses. This is an important victory for the Highlands and the protection of open space. This project was a monument to pay-to-play and environmental degradation in the Highlands that we have been fighting for 30 years. One of our most important victory was the major setback for PennEast Pipeline when DEP rejected their water permits. This is a victory against the pipeline because they have to start all over again and apply for new permits.

New Jersey has finalized a $141 million settlement with Volkswagen to pay for the damage they’ve done to New Jersey’s environment and public health. Mayor J. Christian Bollwage has also announced that the city of Elizabeth, NJ will be committing to a goal of 100% Renewable Energy.

We must continue to fight the PennEast pipeline because it threatens the waterways, forests, open space, and farmland of the Delaware Valley. We must fight to protect our reservoir and sensitive wetland from TRANSCO’s plans for a pipeline to be built in a protected area of the Highlands. The Pilgrim Pipeline thankfully has not moved forward.

Recently, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) released their proposal to amend its Special Regulations to address natural gas development activities within the Delaware River Basin. It includes language to allow for the dumping of frack waste and removal of water from the Basin under certain circumstances. We will continue to fight for a complete ban that includes all fracking activities and fracking waste in our valley that provides the drinking water for millions.

Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Station. Operated by PSEG Nuclear, Hope Creek

We need the Senate to stand up to Governor Christie and vote to override his veto of the oil train safety bill. We need legislation that makes it safer for the communities who have these dangerous train cars travelling through them every day.

We must block Governor Christie’s and the state legislature’s nuclear deal during the lame duck session. With this bill, Governor Christie is trying to dictate New Jersey’s energy policy for the next 40 years and prevent Governor Elect Phil Murphy to move forward with renewable energy and green jobs.

Next year should be better as we look forward to working with Governor Elect Phil Murphy to move forward with renewable energy and green jobs. We also look forward to working with the DEP’s new Commissioner, Catherine McCabe to put environmental protection back into the DEP and make sure the agency works for the people and not polluters.

Our state can be a leader nationally in clean energy and clean energy jobs if we aggressively move forward with renewable energy such as solar, wind, and geothermal. This will help deal with climate change, protect our air and water, and get rid of Christies roll backs. We need to build a green wall around New Jersey to protect us from Trump’s environmental rollbacks and make our environment great again.

Created By
Taylor McFarland - Administrative Assistant at The New Jersey Sierra Club
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