Home > Uncategorized > NJ Business Lobbyist Blasted For Using “Red-Lining” To Attack Environmental Justice Legislation

NJ Business Lobbyist Blasted For Using “Red-Lining” To Attack Environmental Justice Legislation

NJBIA Lobbyist Ray Cantor Needs To Apologize

[Update: 7/2/20: today’s NY Times story makes exactly the point I was driving at:

““It’s especially abhorrent for the president to threaten further entrenchment of segregated communities now, during a time of reckoning on racial injustices in our country,” Ms. Yentel said. A direct line connects America’s history of racist housing policies to today’s overpolicing of Black and brown communities.” ~~~end update]

I tacked this on as an “End Note” to my earlier post about the proposed environmental justice legislation, but, upon reflection feel it is so outrageous that it needs its own post.

Ray Cantor, currently Vice-President and a lobbyist for the NJ Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), was quoted today in a NJ Spotlight story opposing the proposed environmental justice bill.

Obviously, there’s nothing unusual about that – NJBIA almost always opposes environmental laws that would restrict business profits.

But in doing so, Ray Cantor, a former Christie DEP political appointee, claimed that the bill would “red-line” business:

As drafted, the bill would essentially redline any new manufacturing facility or expansion in large parts of New Jersey, Cantor said. “There’s a better way to address this problem,’’ he added.

That claim is a gross abuse of history – i.e. “red-lining” was a systematic and blatantly racist policy deployed by financial institutions and governments to effectively racially segregate US cities and deprive black people of home ownership and business investment by denying mortgage financing and services to entire “red-lined” communities. (The flip side of “red-lining” was massive government investment in infrastructure and services that subsidized and promoted suburban sprawl and the white people who moved there (AKA “white flight”) and were able to own their homes as a result of subsidized mortgages).

We are still suffering the racist legacy of red-lining, which continues to shape the land use patterns and economic development of entire metropolitan regions, effecting everything from segregated schools to the huge wealth and income disparities between black and white people.

To compare a bill designed to promote environmental justice by limiting pollution to already overburdened poor and/or minority communities to the historical practice of racist red-lining is deeply cynical and beyond the pale.

In the current context, it is simply unacceptable. Words matter.

That’s like a police union representative claiming that cops are being “lynched” by “mobs”.

Folks need to contact NJBIA and demand that Cantor apologize for what, at best, is a historical lie and gross insensitivity.

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