July 19, 2017
For immediate release
Renewable Energy, Better Planning Among Key Needs
TRENTON (July 19, 2017) — “Facing serious impending dangers from climate change, New Jersey needs, more than ever, to restore protecting its environment to the prominent role necessary for a healthy, secure future,” a new report from The Fund for New Jersey says.
The report, “Climate Change Adds Urgency to Restoring Environmental Protection,” is the third in the seven-part Crossroads NJ series aimed at informing public debate in this pivotal election year. It was produced by The Fund for New Jersey, which since 1970 has focused its philanthropy on improving the quality of life in the Garden State by supporting good policy decision-making. The other Crossroads NJ reports cover the state’s fiscal crisis, jobs and the economy, criminal justice, education, housing and land use, and transportation.
The full text of the reports, as they are released, and other information about Crossroads NJ is available at www.fundfornj.org/crossroadsnj.
Calling for “a sustained, well-coordinated effort to prevent climate change from being disastrous for New Jersey,” the report notes, “Our economic and physical health depend on devoting the leadership, financial resources, and attention to scientific realities needed to execute common-sense policies.” It calls for action in four areas:
- Energy policy, including more reliance on wind, solar, and other renewable sources
- Water supply and quality, necessary for our health and well-being
- State and regional planning, to safeguard natural resources and communities threatened by climate change
- Environmental justice, so people do not suffer disproportionately from pollution and environmental problems because of where they live
Key recommendations include:
ENERGY SOURCES & EFFICIENCY
- Rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state collaborative proven to reduce carbon dioxide levels and promote energy efficiency while at the same time generating revenue to fund clean energy programs.
- Mandate a 25% reduction in emissions for power plants located in economically disadvantaged communities.
- Require 80% of all electricity sold in the state to be from renewable sources by 2050.
- Create a statewide hub for “green jobs” training.
- Move ahead with offshore wind projects, including creation of Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits as the financing mechanism necessary for investment in wind projects.
- Place a moratorium on pending pipeline projects and determine whether they are necessary, safe, and consistent with reducing adverse impacts of climate change.
MAINTAINING WATER SUPPLY & QUALITY
- Restore and strengthen Clean Water Act protections after years of rollbacks.
- Update the state Water Supply Master Plan.
- Adopt stronger standards on contaminants in drinking water.
- Require the Pinelands Commission and the Highlands Council to update their plans to address impacts of climate change.
BETTER PLANNING TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT THE SHORE AND OPEN SPACE
- Develop a climate-change action plan for the shore to address consequences of rising sea level that threatens large areas of the coast.
- Update the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan, and Highlands Regional Master Plan.
PROMOTING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
- Withhold state regulatory approval or funding for any development not screened to ensure it does not add to pollution burdens for economically struggling communities or communities of color.
- Increase significantly efforts to test for — and lessen exposure to —lead, and identify new sources of funds to assist with reducing health risk.
- Develop emergency plans to address the impacts of climate change, with involvement of community residents, local community groups, and environmental justice organizations.
“The aim of Crossroads NJ is to present evidence-based policy recommendations, generated and vetted by experts, that The Fund for New Jersey Trustees feel are sound and workable,” said Board Chair, retired Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz.
Consistent with The Fund’s status as a philanthropic foundation, The Fund for New Jersey does not support candidates or political parties.