Two leading members of Congress representing New Jersey joined with 58 of their colleagues to send a letter to President Biden Friday calling on him to ensure strong environmental provisions are included in the final Build Back Better Act currently being negotiated in Congress.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), who sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-Newark), who serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials for the key Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, wrote that any final legislation must meet the “‘climate test’ by achieving the scientifically-necessary emissions reduction goal while creating good union jobs and advancing environmental, racial, and economic justice.”
The members are aiming to ensure that President Biden enters the international climate summit later this week in Glasgow in a position to demonstrate American leadership on this existential issue.
“Climate catastrophe is no longer some distant threat,” said Rep. Watson Coleman. “It is here and now.
We are witnessing it firsthand, and we continue to ignore its very real, deadly effects at our own peril. We now face the consequences of our past and present decisions. This could be our last chance to take long-overdue action and spare our children from having to raise their children in an increasingly hostile world”
“Climate change is a global threat and we must do everything we can to reduce the amount of carbon we put into the atmosphere,” said Rep. Payne. “We are losing too many lives to the increased natural disasters and severe temperature changes across the country. President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda could reverse the damaging effects of climate change. If we focus on energy-saving, environmentally-friendly technologies in everything from transportation to housing, we can begin to reduce carbon output and improve the environment for future generations worldwide.”
New Jersey advocates lauded Coleman and Payne’s strong stance on behalf of New Jersey working families.
“We have a historic opportunity this week to reach agreement on legislation that will help save our planet while creating millions of union jobs to strengthen the middle class,” said Sue Altman, State Director of New Jersey Working Families. “We are proud of the leadership Reps. Coleman and Payne displayed with their letter, and we look forward to working with them to get this historic package to the president’s desk for his signature.”
“The Build Back Better Act represents a once in a generation opportunity to address generations of environmental racism by investing in cities like Newark and addressing looming environmental threats, from climate change to lead pipes,” said Kim Gaddy, Founder and Director of the South Ward Environmental Alliance. “I am proud to stand with Rep. Payne, our hometown congressman, in advocating for solutions that put communities of color at the forefront.”
“For generations, marginalized communities like those in New Jersey’s cities have been left behind by environmental policies that prioritized polluters over people,” said Maria Lopez-Nuñez, Deputy Director of Organizing and Advocacy for the Ironbound Community Corp. “We have a unique opportunity to change that paradigm, and we pledge to fight with members of our state’s own congressional delegation for a bill that delivers on this promise.”