The following environmental legislation is up in the New Jersey state legislature on Monday, February 24, 2020.
A1459 (Moriarty): Prohibits the sale of certain children's products containing lead, mercury, or cadmium.
“This legislation is critical to protect the health of our children. Children are at particular risk because of common development behaviors of biting, chewing or sucking on toys and other products containing metals like cadmium. Lead, mercury, and cadmium are extremely dangerous for children and can result in learning disabilities, brain damage, and other health problems. Mercury is a neurotoxin, which is carcinogenic and threatens children’s health in particular. Young children are at the greatest risk of health problems related to exposure to these metals, including serious brain and kidney damage,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This legislation is a step in the right direction to protecting our children, but we need to do more. Our children are affected by the paint in their homes, the soil contamination in their backyards, and the air emissions from nearby incinerators. We need to protect our most precious resources - our children.”
A1993 (Pinkin/Benson): Requires developers to offer electric vehicle charging stations as an option in certain new home construction.
“This legislation will save ratepayers and homeowners money by making sure new homes are wired to allow for electric vehicle charging stations to be installed. This will make it easier for people to access EV infrastructure, and will encourage more EV use in our state. Over 45% of our greenhouse gases in New Jersey come from automobiles, but these emissions can easily be cut by implementing EV technology. We also need to make EV technology available to people from all communities, and we need to address range anxiety by creating a statewide charging network,” said Jeff Tittel. “Making sure that new homes are wired for EV charging stations should be addressed by building codes, but since it isn’t the legislature has to step in.”
A2775 (Houghtaling): Makes pilot program for special occasion events at wineries on preserved farmland permanent program.
“This is land that has been paid for and preserved by taxpayers to keep farming viable for future generations. This legislation undermines that commitment by New Jersey to protect our farmland. Preserved farms are meant to be just that. We should not be allowing more non-agricultural development on preserved farms with this legislation. We’re turning farms into Disney World with amusement rides, adventure activities, bounce houses, group hubs, weddings, bed and breakfasts, tractor repair, music festivals, and wineries,” said Tittel. “The people of New Jersey paid to protect this land and keep it as farmland.”
A741 (Johnson) Establishes NJ Fuel Cell Task Force to increase use of fuel cells in State.
AR38 (Conaway): Urges Congress and President to provide funding and other incentives to states to promote hydrogen fuel cell vehicle usage.
“While fuel cells may be the future, right now the technology is still in the early stages. It’s very expensive to create and produce this technology, and we’re not yet ready to sustainably produce hydrogen. This is because most of the hydrogen from fuel cells comes from natural gas, completely undermining clean energy goals. We can research fuel cells, but we should be focusing our time and energy on moving forward on electric vehicles instead. We should be focusing on making electric vehicles available and accessible to people from all communities,” said Jeff Tittel. “This is especially important because EVs can be hooked up to solar power and other renewable energy, making them better for the environment and public health than vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells”
Senate Environment and Energy Committee
S232 (Singleton/Weinberg): Concerns environmental permits in burdened communities.
“For far too long, certain communities in New Jersey have been overburdened by pollution. This legislation will help protect disadvantaged and minority communities that have been a dumping ground and have facilities that no one wants. Our concern is that DEP is in charge of determining if accumulative impact on a project meets the standard of overburdening a community, but we don’t know what that standard is or if they will actually do it. When DEP does grant permits for new air polluting facilities, we want to make sure there are reductions and offsets in those communities to make up for the new sources of pollution,” said Jeff Tittel. “This legislation will help these communities deal with pollution and polluting facilities. It will give the public and towns a say on project permits.”
S331(Smith/Codey): Requires environmental sustainability plan for State House Complex. The plan would encourage water and energy conservation, green building technology, and carbon pollution reductions. This plan would improve the environment while saving taxpayer money.
“This bill is a step in the right direction to save us money and energy in the long-run. However, many of these programs for green building and blue roofs should be required as part of building codes in governmental expenditures, not offered as suggestions. We have not updated our building codes in more than seven years. The administration and Legislature have robbed the Clean Energy Fund which could help pay for a lot of this work to balance the budget,” said Jeff Tittel.
S349 (Smith): Requires developers to offer electric vehicle charging stations as option in certain new home construction.
“Making sure new homes are wired to allow for electric vehicle charging stations to be installed will save ratepayers and homeowners money. This legislation will make it easier for people to access EV infrastructure, and will encourage more EV use in our state. Over 45% of our greenhouse gases in New Jersey come from automobiles, but these emissions can easily be cut by implementing EV technology. We also need to make EV technology available to people from all communities, and we need to address range anxiety by creating a statewide charging network,” said Jeff Tittel. “Making sure that new homes are wired for EV charging stations should be addressed by building codes, but since it isn’t the legislature has to step in.”
S1016 (Smith): Directs DEP to classify neonicotinoid pesticides designed for outdoor use as restricted use pesticides.
“Instead of restricting the use of these harmful pesticides, we should be banning them. New Jersey needs to phase out neonicotinoids, especially imidacloprid as quickly as we can. These insecticides are not only harmful to human health, but are destroying our bee population who are critical to our ecosystem and food supply. These toxins have also posed a risk to other animals like birds. Without bees, many crops would cease to exist and will make human existence much harder,” said Tittel. “We are entering into an environmental crisis because of loss of bees, and pesticides are the main factor. This has a dramatic impact on farming and the environment.”
S337 (Smith/Greenstein): Authorizes NJ Infrastructure Bank to issue up to $20 million in bonds to finance cost-effective energy efficiency improvements in State, local, and school district buildings.
“We need to step it up when it comes to funding critical environmental programs for New Jersey. We need to tie fixing our infrastructure to energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as green building including blue and green roofs to reduce flooding. If we don’t consider climate change, we could end up wasting billions of dollars of taxpayer money. We have also have major problems with lead including $8.2 billion worth of pipes that need to be fixed, $4.6 billion for getting lead out of our water, and a $6 billion combined sewer overflow fix. Overall, we need at least $46 billion to fix New Jersey’s environmental problems,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.