Home > Uncategorized > Conservation Community & Sustainability Advocates AWOL on Urban Environmental Justice Legislation

Conservation Community & Sustainability Advocates AWOL on Urban Environmental Justice Legislation

Virtual Media Blackout of Legislative Hearing

Most important piece of legislation since 2007 passage of Global Warming Response Act

(Source: NJDEP, 2009)

(Source: NJDEP, 2009)

Last Monday, the Senate Environment Committee took testimony on long over-due and important legislation S1150 (Weinberg) to address the disproportionate health risks and environmental burdens borne by those who live in NJ’s  predominately poor and minority urban communities.

DEP research has documented statistically significant correlations between those risks and burdens and race and income, see:

The bill would mandate that DEP actually implement the series of Executive Orders, Reports, and rhetoric they have spewed for 20 years on the environmental justice issue (see this set up post: Environmental Justice Bill Up On Monday).

The bill also would force DEP to develop standards and technical protocols to address cumulative impacts of multiple pollution sources and multiple pollutants, a longstanding major weakness and loophole in DEP standards, regulations, and permit programs.

The bill would provide real power to local governments and urban community groups in the DEP permit review process, an opportunity to assure that the community benefits as NJ’s urban areas undergo redevelopment.

Finally, the bill provides a real opportunity to force integration of multiple individual DEP “silo” permit requirements and thereby greatly enhance the effectiveness of current piecemeal and uncoordinated permit review practices, leading to much greater protections for people and urban environments.

In addition, I testified that the bill could be amended to provide a vehicle to actually implement the deep 80% greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals of the Global Warming Response Act by including GHG emissions in DEP permit reviews, including new mitigation requirements to offset emissions, risks, and impacts.

Accordingly, the bill provides a HUGE opportunity to advance major reforms and improvements in overall public health protections in urban NJ and respond to historical neglect.

It would not be an exaggeration to describe this bill as the most important piece of legislation to be heard since the 2007 passage of the Global Warming Response Act.

There was some very good testimony that I strongly urge you to listen to here (hit “listen to prior proceedings” and scroll to Senate Environment Committee).

Supporters who testified on the bill included Ironbound Community Corp.; NJ Environmental Federation; Sierra Club; and myself.

But all those well funded conservation and corporate backed sustainable development groups, who constantly claim to support urban and EJ issues, and conveniently and very cynically trot out photos of black kids, were nowhere to be found.

NOWHERE.

Can we borrow poor black and hispanic kids for a photo op?  (Source: NJ Audubon)

Can we borrow poor black and hispanic kids for a photo op? (Source: NJ Audubon)

But, not to worry, they are sure to re-emerge in Trenton soon, with their hand out, grubbing for more money from the new Open Space diversion disaster they created.

Newark Mayor Baraka used as prop by Keep It Green - Did Baraka and urban Dms et played, o what?

Newark Mayor Baraka used as prop by Keep It Green – Did Baraka and urban Dems get played, or what?

[Update: I just visited the Keep it Green website to download a copy of another photographic example of how conservationists use people for their own selfish interests and could not find what I was looking for: i.e. THIS PHOTO, which I wrote about recently on Jan. 4, 2015 in the context of a story on urban children’s lead risks: (another critical urban issue conservationists are AWOL on)

And of course, folks might want to recall this Keep It Green Coalition ad – just another example of propaganda and lies that mask exactly what the ballot question would do, which was to transfer funds away from urban areas to wealthy rural & white suburbs, while slashing DEP toxic site cleanup and water resource program funds – emulating the tactics, just like the childhood lead program diversion.

Keep It Green Open Space ad - perhaps one of the met disgustingly cynical and misleading ads ever

Keep It Green Open Space ad – perhaps one of the most disgustingly cynical and misleading ads ever

 

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