New Jersey LCV Rolls Out a Common Agenda of Bold Environmental Policy Priorities
Common Agenda calls for advances on clean energy, open space, and water protection
Trenton, NJ – New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (New Jersey LCVEF) joined more than 25 advocacy partner organizations from across New Jersey to advance a bold Common Agenda designed to keep New Jersey at the forefront of the national movement to achieve climate and justice action that will protect our families and communities.
The Common Agenda includes recommendations for Governor Murphy and the Legislature to act on issues relating to clean water, clean energy, transportation, construction, open space, land use, toxins, and governance.
New Jersey LCV is calling for courageous legislative action that would require New Jersey to achieve 100 % clean electricity from clean, renewable sources by 2035, a target that aligns with President Biden’s clean energy goals and that is necessary to put the state on the forefront in the fight against climate change and 15 years sooner than the state is working towards.
Recognizing that it is critically important to address carbon pollution, the Common Agenda also urges Governor Murphy to take action to limit natural gas hookups in new residential construction, while providing help for existing homeowners to transition to clean heating sources, as well as, legislative action to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry by encouraging the use of low-carbon building materials.
“In his first term, the Legislature worked closely with the Governor Murphy to put New Jersey at the forefront of environmental protection by stimulating the growth of offshore wind, addressing plastic pollution and signing a landmark environmental justice bill that attempts to limit the cumulative impacts pollution has had on families of color and low-income communities,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey LCVEF. “But now is not the time to rest on our laurels. Our climate is in crisis and our state continues to suffer from threats to clean air, clean drinking water and open space. We need to build on the successes of the last four years to continue to make New Jersey a national model and raise the bar for other states and Congress.”
The Legislative Common Agenda includes the following five legislative priorities:
- Require 100% clean electricity from renewable energy sources by 2035, with strong commitments to reduce pollution in overburdened communities. This goal will put New Jersey at the forefront in the fight against climate change by meeting President Biden’s goal for a clean energy transition.
- Build a more resilient New Jersey and protect residents by including climate change into the State Hazard Mitigation Plan. Our state is already feeling the effects of climate change and must adopt its disaster plans to account for this fact in order to protect our families and communities.
- Ensure communities have accessible and electrified modern public transit options. Transportation is the leading sector that contributes most to climate change, and we’re committed to advancing legislation to expand access to clean, reliable “last mile” public transit to reduce emissions and pollution and increase job opportunities for working families.
- Protect and increase access to open spaces throughout New Jersey by reigning in warehouse sprawl. We want to protect open space and reduce traffic by promoting responsible development that reduces the impacts of large warehouses on the environment, and expand access to our already protected spaces for all New Jerseyans no matter their zip code.
- Reduce carbon pollution from homes and businesses by using low-carbon building materials for construction. We can build more sustainably by encouraging the use of new technologies that reduce our carbon footprint.
“New Jersey is on the front lines of climate change, with severe storms and flooding from Sandy to Ida underscoring the need for swift action,” said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson). “We must meet this historic moment by leading the nation in a transition to a 21st-century economy powered by clean energy that will create jobs and revitalize our state.”
Advocates also called on Governor Murphy to take action on the following initiatives, and progress will be measured here:
- Strengthen the state’s clean energy policies by ending diversions from the Clean Energy Fund. Our state budget shouldn’t be balanced on the backs of clean energy projects that reduce emissions and create jobs. We need to end regular raids on these dedicated funds.
- Ensure communities have accessible and modern public transit by establishing a dedicated funding source for NJ Transit. NJ Transit is critical to our state’s economic competitiveness and our plans to curb traffic and reduce carbon pollution. We need to give NJ Transit the fiscal security it needs to plan for the long term by establishing a dedicated funding source for the agency that meets New Jersey’s needs.
- Ensure our cities and towns are ready for extreme storms by giving municipalities funding to invest and install green infrastructure projects. The administration must help communities already impacted by climate change pursue green solutions to reduce the risks of flooding and protect water quality.
- Protect and expand access to open spaces by increasing funding for trail and park maintenance. The pandemic has highlighted the need for open space, and we need additional funding to tackle a backlog of repairs that prevent families from enjoying our parks and trails.
- Clean up indoor air quality and reduce emissions, we must change the way we heat and cool our homes and water. We can improve public health and build more sustainably by ending natural gas hookups in new residential homes by 2030.
“We have come to view the fight for environmental justice as a puzzle, where each piece represents a particular battle. Yes, some pieces may receive more attention than others, but for the puzzle’s completion every piece is required,” said Marcus Sibley, NJSC NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice Chairman. “We’re grateful for the tremendous strides made thus far, and will continue to fight for all aspects of the EJ fight to be a part of the administration’s agenda.”
“New Jersey is at a pivotal point in its history with a unique opportunity to build a clean energy economy while addressing generations of environmental racism,” said Bob Conley, Chair of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. “We look forward to working with Governor Murphy and the Legislature on advancing these key priorities to protect New Jersey’s families and build a more prosperous future.”
“Pinelands Preservation Alliance is pleased to see this ambitious and much needed agenda especially for strengthening the Pinelands Commission,” said Jaclyn Rhoads, Assistant Executive Director of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. “We look forward to seeing additional strong leaders on the Pinelands Commission and in the executive director position very soon.”
“The Trust for Public Land is proud to have contributed to the Green in 21 Initiative along with so many other environmental organizations from across the state who are concerned about the future of New Jersey,” said Scott Dvorak, New Jersey Program Director for The Trust for Public Lands. “As we further our mission to have every resident of the state live within a ten minute walk of a park, playground, or dedicated open space; we look forward to working with Governor Murphy and our legislative leaders to take bold action to address issues around climate change and environmental injustice.”
“In order to protect our clean drinking water supply and mitigate the disproportionate effects of climate change on New Jersey’s frontline communities, bold climate justice legislation is critical,” says Kelly Knutson, Director, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. “The Coalition applauds New Jersey LCV and others for their leadership in championing the Green in 21 Initiative, a program to build a more equitable, healthier, and sustainable state. We look forward to working with Governor Murphy and our New Jersey partners on furthering the Common Agenda and strengthening the State’s commitments to clean water protection and environmental justice.”
“NJ Audubon is thrilled to have worked on this important policy document with New Jersey LCV Ed Fund and our other environmental partners,” said Eric Stiles, President and CEO of NJ Audubon. “This policy guide provides an excellent overview of the myriad environmental and conservation issues facing our state. It serves as a useful reference for all NJ decision makers, and applaud Governor Murphy for his efforts to further the 2022 Common Agenda.”
“Adopting protective rules and strong regulations is critical. Just as important is having the right people in place to guide the State. We encourage the Administration to move promptly on nominations of the best candidates to help protect the State’s environment and implement the rules and regulations we need,” said Julia Somers, Chair of New Jersey LCV and Executive Director of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition.
“We look forward to working with NJ LCV and our partners to move these critical priorities forward,” said Tom Gilbert, Co-Executive Director of NJ Conservation Foundation. “The urgency couldn’t be greater to address the climate crisis, advance environmental justice and solidify our commitment to a healthier and more prosperous 100% clean energy future.”
“New Jersey LCV’s Green in 21 Initiative has tackled the state’s environmental challenges by outlining essential policies and funding to protect the air we breathe and water we drink,” said Eric Miller, Director of NJ Energy Policy for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “Both the Green in 21 Initiative and now the 2022 Legislative Common Agenda bring together organizations, legislators, and communities around common goals that aim to make New Jersey a healthy, equitable place to live.”
“Water is life. We must act decisively across all of our watersheds to protect every New Jerseyans right to clean drinking water, to improve our stormwater infrastructure, and to strengthen our coastal resiliency. Waterspirit is pleased to see these critical policy recommendations gaining ground,” said Blair Nelsen, Executive Director, Waterspirit.
Click the links below to view our Legislative and Executive Branch agendas: