New Jersey Conservation Foundation
New Jersey Conservation Foundation Menu
NJCF Homepage Contact Us Donate Events Search NJCF
New Jersey Land Conservation Organization
Donate to New Jersey Conservation Foundation
State We're In New Jersey Conservation Foundation Blog
Governor-elect Murphy should set new course on the environment


On Jan. 16, New Jersey’s 56th governor, Phil Murphy, will take the reins of state government from an outgoing administration that placed a low priority on the environment for the past eight years.

Governor-elect Murphy has pledged to restore New Jersey to its former role as a national environmental leader, a timely and much-needed change. As the past year in Washington has shown, New Jersey cannot rely on the federal government to protect our air, water and land.

The new governor has a lot of work ahead, including economic and fiscal challenges. But since a clean and healthy environment is essential to a strong economy, bolstering our environmental protections is of utmost importance.

Strong, bold actions – especially in the areas of energy, climate change resilience and public lands management – are critical to ensuring a healthy environment.

Here are a few suggestions for immediate action by our incoming governor:

A New Energy Master Plan

Governor-elect Murphy should launch an initiative for a new state Energy Master Plan with a goal of moving New Jersey to 100 percent clean energy. This should include measures to ramp up energy efficiency to at least 2 percent annually, taking steps to develop offshore wind energy in appropriate locations, promoting the continued growth of solar energy, and better evaluating the need for proposed pipelines and their consistency with New Jersey’s long-term clean energy goals.

The new governor should also rejoin New Jersey to the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative, something he has pledged to do.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI for short, is a program to reduce heat-trapping gases and spur investments in clean energy and energy efficiency.  New Jersey was one of the original northeastern states that established RGGI in 2005, but the outgoing governor withdrew the state from the program during his first term.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, RGGI has helped significantly cut air pollution in the region, which currently includes nine states. The program also boosted regional economic growth; created health benefits worth $10 billion; and saved consumers at least $618 million on energy, with more savings expected in the future.  Rejoining RGGI will allow New Jersey to share in these benefits, and ensure that this state we’re in does its part to fight climate change.

Planning for Coastal Resiliency

As a coastal state, New Jersey is already impacted by sea level rise and more extreme storms. New approaches to development along the coast and waterways must be considered.

It’s been five years since Superstorm Sandy devastated our Atlantic and Delaware Bay coastal communities. Most of the damaged buildings have been repaired or rebuilt but our shorelines remain at risk from rising seas and more intense storms. Now is the time to improve the resiliency of our communities and protect our state’s $22 billion annual tourism industry.

Decades ago, former Governor Thomas Kean suggested a regional commission to oversee land use planning along New Jersey’s coast, similar to the regional planning bodies that manage the Pinelands and the Highlands. New Jersey faces many tough decisions – for example, how do we plan for an orderly retreat from the most flood-prone areas, and how can new development be sited and built to withstand future storms and sea level rise? Our new governor should launch a coastal resiliency planning initiative so we’re prepared.

Stewarding Public Lands

New Jersey lacks a comprehensive vision and planning process for the stewardship of our public lands. It is important to identify and designate ecologically sensitive areas and mature forests as natural areas and make sure that forest stewardship activities avoid these sensitive areas.

The new governor should adopt the Endangered and Nongame Species Advisory Committee’s recommendations so that several of our state’s natives are not lost. Over the past eight years, the committee has submitted requests for the protection of these declining species. But the requests have languished.  Some of our rarest and most important wildlife species have declined to near extinction, and swift action by the new governor is needed to safeguard their survival.

Protecting and Expanding Urban Parks

This is a perfect time to renew our state’s focus and investment in urban parks. Top goals should be protecting and defending Liberty State Park in Jersey City and increasing state investments in parks in the greater Camden area.

The governor-elect has already spoken out against an eleventh-hour plan by the outgoing administration to lease the south end of Liberty State Park for a private yacht marina. Liberty State Park is truly a people’s park – similar in nature to Manhattan’s Central Park – and the new governor should make sure this precious public land along the Hudson River waterfront remains free and open.

While investments in parks and open spaces have already begun to reshape communities in Camden, the time is ripe to pull together several existing parks in Camden to create one new state park.

The new state park should include Petty’s Island in the Delaware River, which is being donated to the state Natural Lands Trust, and 62 acres of the old Harrison Avenue landfill in Camden, to be restored by the state and converted into a waterfront park. A number of other parks, including Gateway Park along the Cooper River, Cramer Hill Nature Preserve and Pyne Poynt, could be incorporated into the new state park. All would be connected by the Circuit Trails, an ever-growing regional network of pedestrian and bicycle trails.

New Jersey is entering a new era with enormous possibilities. Let’s urge Governor-elect Murphy to move forward with a bold and inspiring agenda that will protect our environment and public health, and restore our state’s national leadership role.  

Have more suggestions for what the new governor can do? Contact me at And for information on preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at  



To tree or not to tree?

Hard cider in the Garden State

Turkey Time

American shad return to New Jersey river after 173 years

Act now to avoid worst climate impacts

NJ Natural Lands Trust celebrates 50 years

Must love bats!

Move and improve your health!

Renewable energy: Save money and our land, water, air and health

Speak up for endangered species!

Save the bugs!

Check out New Jersey's fall bird migration

A little bit of respect...for native plants!

Explore New Jersey's wildflower meadows

All aboard floating classrooms

Catch the Perseids meteor shower!

Check out the 'fun' in fungi

Too hot to think? Studies shows heat affects your brain

Love NJ's outdoors? Take action now!

New Jersey's official reptile, the bog turtle

Sea level rise and New Jersey: Not perfect together

These New Jersey plants have an appetite for insects

Explore the Pine Barrens through paddles, hikes and tours

Like to jog? 'Plog' instead and keep NJ clean

Love Jersey fruit? Thank our native pollinators!

Good news for globally rare swamp pink lilies

Say cheese! Remote cameras aid wildlife research

Begone, single-use plastic bags!

3,000 birds and counting for 'bluebird grandfather'

The Pine Barrens gets some help from its friends

A clean energy future for New Jersey

Cowtown and rare grassland birds, perfect together

Fight light pollution during International Dark Sky Week

New film tells story of how Petty's Island was saved

Ten years of nipping invasive species in the bud

Welcome spring in a county park

Go for a walk and feel better!

Grab a friend and go outside

Recycle your way to zero waste!

Last call for winter wildlife watching on Jersey coast

Without its 'understory' layer, the forest will collapse

From whale songs to poetry, a remarkable journey

A cleaner, greener New Jersey

Let's keep New Jersey the Garden State, not the Pipeline State

New Jersey's winter hikes

'Trees don't vote' but Byrne saved Pine Barrens anyway

Governor-elect Murphy should set new course on the environment

Protect soils to keep the garden in our state

Clean, plentiful water is New Jersey's lifeblood

A breath of fresh air for New Jersey?


November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011


New Jersey Conservation Foundation on FacebookNew Jersey Conservation Foundation on TwitterNew Jersey Conservation Foundation on FlickrNew Jersey Conservation Foundation YouTube ChannelShare      
New Jersey Conservation Foundation           Bamboo Brook, 170 Longview Road, Far Hills, NJ 07931           908-234-1225 
home  | nj statewide eventscontact us  |  sitemap  |  privacy policy  |  DONATE