The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters (NJLCV) last night honored Senators Kip Bateman and Loretta Weinberg for their career-long dedication to the environment and conservation.
“With the climate crisis accelerating and storms like Henri and Ida becoming the norm, we expect everyone in the Legislature to be bold environmental champions. Senators Loretta Weinberg and Kip Bateman are examples of champions who have consistently worked to promote bold pro-environmental policies to protect clean air, safe drinking water, and open space,” said NJLCV Board Chair Julia Somers, who serves as executive director of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition.
The NJLCV cited Senator Bateman (R-Somerset), the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment Committee, for his sponsorship of bipartisan legislation to constitutionally dedicate Corporation Business Tax revenues to fund the state’s open space, farmland and historic preservation programs, and his support for legislation to reduce carbon emissions and mandate that utilities generate 50% of their electricity from clean energy sources by 2030.
The environmental coalition praised Senate Majority Leader Weinberg (D-Bergen) for fighting for the Cumulative Impacts bill that enables communities to hold polluters accountable, her advocacy for open space and New Jersey Transit, her opposition to the proposed NJ Transit natural gas power plant in the Meadowlands, and her bill to protect New Jersey residents from dangerous trains carrying Bakken crude oil.
“As I reflect on 27 years in the Legislature, one of the things I am most proud of is my history as a fighter for conservation and the environment,” said Senator Bateman. “All New Jersey residents benefit from clean water, clean air and clean energy. These are essentials that are worthy of bipartisan support, both in Trenton and across our beautiful Garden State. This state is especially vulnerable to the impact of a changing climate, and although I will no longer be representing my district in Trenton, I will continue advocating for sustainable and affordable solutions to preserve the character of New Jersey.”
Senator Weinberg recalled that she started her political career in the 1960s when she organized neighbors to push for the planting of trees on Cedar Lane in Teaneck.
“We will always need groups like the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, yes, but we also need ordinary people from all walks of life who are willing to say ‘Enough,’ and to stand up and say ‘No thank you’ to building a fracked gas power plant in my neighborhood, or ‘No thank you’ to the paving over green space in order to make way for one more parking lot, or yes, even to show up at council meetings and demand local leaders take these issues seriously, up to and including the planting of trees,” Senator Weinberg said.
Somers said New Jersey would miss the environmental advocacy that Senators Bateman and Weinberg have provided for decades.
“With Senators Weinberg and Bateman retiring from the state Legislature, we need other lawmakers, on both sides of the aisle, to rise to the occasion and step up to take their place as champions for our environment. Ultimately this work is important for the health and safety of all New Jerseyans no matter their zip code, and to preserve our wonderful state for our children and grandchildren,” Somers said.
The two senators were honored at a recognition ceremony at the Chateau Grande Hotel in East Brunswick.