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
Defend public health and safety in state budget
6/8/2017 Volume XLVII, No. 23

The Trump administration’s proposal to cut funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will directly impact federal safeguards for clean water, air and natural resources in this state we’re in. The proposal would roll back decades of progress in protecting public health and environmental quality.

Here in New Jersey, we too are debating the impact of cuts to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection proposed by Governor Christie’s administration. And since New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection gets significant funding from the EPA, the impacts to New Jersey would be magnified.

Over the past two decades, staffing at the Department of Environmental Protection - an agency entrusted with safeguarding our state’s clean water and air, protecting wildlife and providing public recreation at parks and natural areas - has been sharply reduced year after year.

From a high of 4,000 employees in the 1990s, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection operates with less than 2,700 today. The result is less capacity to carry out the agency’s many functions, from stopping polluters to protecting threatened and endangered species to keeping bathrooms open at our parks.

Governor Christie’s proposed budget would cut Department of Environmental Protection staffing even further.

The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters testified before the state Assembly that New Jersey is put at risk by the proposed funding cuts. “These reductions in capacity are dangerous and weaken the department’s ability to protect our natural resources, water and land,” according to Drew Tompkins, public policy coordinator for the League.

The governor’s proposed budget is even more alarming, he added, because it doesn’t take into account reduced revenue from the federal government.

This one-two punch from the Christie and Trump administrations would worsen what is already a difficult situation. New Jersey is the nation’s most densely populated state, with a history of industrial pollution, including more Superfund cleanup sites than any other state. As a coastal state, New Jersey is also on the front lines of climate change and sea level rise.

To make matters worse, the Christie administration’s raiding of dedicated funds has depleted funding for clean energy and the cleanup of contaminated sites.

The state’s Clean Energy Fund takes in about $350 million a year from surcharges to consumers’ gas and electric bills, and is supposed to be used to improve energy efficiency and promote clean, renewable energy sources. But much of this fund has been diverted to fill gaps in the state budget’s General Fund.

Senator Bob Smith recently proposed a constitutional amendment that would stop the diversion of money from the Clean Energy Fund.

The Clean Energy Fund isn’t the only pot of money raided by the Christie administration. The governor’s current budget would divert of millions of dollars meant for “natural resource damage” environmental cleanups and damage restoration.

In natural resource damage settlements, polluters pay to compensate the public for the loss of natural resources. For example, if a lake is contaminated, the public loses the ability to fish and swim there. The settlement fund is supposed to fix the those kinds of damages.

The governor’s budget language restricts only the first $50 million of natural resource damages settlements to environmental restoration and cleanup. The remainder – which can add up to hundreds of millions of dollars – can be diverted into the General Fund.

Public outrage over diversions of natural resource damage settlements prompted the Legislature to place a constitutional amendment question on this November’s ballot to stop the practice. The ballot question, if passed, will be too late to affect this year’s budget.

But in the meantime, the Senate and Assembly are each working on their own appropriations budgets. The two budget versions must ultimately be reconciled and handed back to Governor Christie in time to meet a budget adoption deadline of June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

It’s critical that the Legislature take action to modify Governor Christie’s budget. Our legislators should take this opportunity to send a strong message to the public and this year’s gubernatorial candidates that New Jersey must protect clean water, clean air, land and the health of its citizens – and push for a clean energy future. We cannot depend on the EPA to do it for us.

For information about preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources, go to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at www.njconservation.org or contact me at info@njconservation.org.

 

POSTS

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?

Keep Liberty State Park free and open

A green agenda for Governor-elect Murphy

Life, liberty ... and a clean environment

New Jersey's aging water infrastructure

The land before time: NJ's Kittatinny Ridge & Valley

ARCHIVE

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

CLICK FOR RECENT POSTS


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           info@njconservation.org
home  | nj statewide eventscontact us  |  sitemap  |  privacy policy  |  DONATE