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Earth Day is Every Day

Date : Wed, 22 Apr 2009 13:23:18 -0400

  For Immediate Release
April 22, 2009 Contact: Jeff Tittel, Chapter Director

  (609) 558-9100

Earth Day is every day The good and the bad: An Earth Day report card

Today, people will mark Earth Day today by going to events, participating in stream cleanings, picking up litter, and generally celebrating the Earth. For many people, Earth Day is an important day to not only get in touch with the environment, but also work to improve the world around us.

More and more people are green every day, not just on Earth Day. There are others that try to use Earth Day for environmental cover. They do photo ops or put on a flannel shirt and act green for the day while doing the opposite the rest of the year.

Today on Earth Day, we are releasing a list of people and organizations that have actually worked to make the environment better this year, as well as those who have undermined environmental protections. On Earth Day, besides looking forward and improving environmental policy, it is important also to look back over the past year and assess both the problems and the victories.

Cheer: President Barack Obama, who is living up to his campaign platform of protecting the environment, promoting clean energy, and fighting climate change. He also deserves credit for his appointment of Lisa Jackson to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Jeer: Governor Jon Corzine for privatizing site remediation, cutting the DEP budget by more than 30 percent, pushing thought the biggest expansion of sprawl highways in a generation, and failing to implement global warming legislation. We're also giving him a jeer for trying to close state parks, inaction on the Delaware deepening and the weakening of many other environmental rules. However, Corzine does deserve some credit for his work on offshore wind and Petty's Island.

Cheer: Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA, who we worked well with in New Jersey and is now reversing many of the harmful Bush Administration policies. Jackson has declared carbon dioxide a health risk, allowing the EPA to now regulate carbon emissions.

Jeer The New Jersey Legislature for the most anti-environmental legislative session in more than a decade. They approved Permit Extension, which was so bad that even the Bush Administration thought it weakened environmental protections, the Licensed Site Professional bill, and Sunday Hunting. They passed the RGGI bill, which was more about pork than clean energy. All this while failing to pass any major environmental legislation or establishing funding for open space

Cheer Congressman Bill Pascrell for working diligently to get the Paterson Great Falls declared a National Park.

Jeer: The Pinelands Commission, for pushing through the biggest weakening of Pinelands protections since the Pinelands Act was passed 30 years ago. They approved the pro-development cluster ordinance in the forest preservation areas and the illogical septic swapping in Buena Township. They also failed to do any mitigation for the widening of the Parkway.

Cheer: Senator Frank Lautenberg for getting $100 million to New Jersey to help cleanup contaminated sites.

Jeer: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for pushing through a sewer plant amendment in Holland Township that will not only promote sprawl but will also deplete groundwater in the Highlands. DEP took the builders site and promoted a rule on substantive reliance, which is the biggest weakening of wetlands protection in NJ since the Wetlands Act was passed.

Cheer and Jeer: Highlands Council gets a cheer for taking their job seriously on wastewater management plans and recommending against sewer amendments for Holland Township, Pinnacle in Oakland and the Trump Golf Course.

But they get a jeer for adopting the Highlands Plan that allows for development in watershed basins that are in deficit and approving a bad clustering provision on farmland.

Cheer: Frank Pallone for getting chairmanship of the Health Subcommittee on the Energy and Commerce Committee and taking it away from congressional smog that would have blocked key legislation. We're glad to have a strong ally leading a key subcommittee.

Jeer: New Jersey's Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), for adopting rules that would promote sprawl and overdevelopment in environmentally sensitive areas while failing to adequately meet the needs of affordable housing in the state. COAH's numbers are so skewed that they counted cemeteries and highway medians as open space. This resulted in towns like Ringwood having higher COAH obligations than growth towns like Secaucus in Hudson County.

Cheer: Senator Robert Menendez for being a key leader in the Senate on climate change and energy legislation. Senator Menendez has also worked to make sure that New Jersey gets its fair share from the budget and the stimulus to apply to clean energy, clean water and other environmental programs.

Jeer: NJDOT, which should be called the New Jersey Department of Traffic, for promoting the biggest highway widening programs in a generation. DOT's proposals to widen the Turnpike and Parkway will promote sprawl. Other bad programs proposed by the NJDOT include the Lakawana cutoff, the Route 206 widening, and the widening of the Atlantic City expressway.

Cheer and Jeer: The Energy Master Plan gets both a cheer and jeer. The plan started out weak by promoting fossil fuels and nuclear power, and ended up strong by supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency. We give credit to Jeanne Fox and Lisa Jackson for helping to make this plan better and to Governor Corzine for adopting it. We also give it a jeer because we've yet to see action on implementation.

Jeer: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission for re-licensing the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant, the oldest and one of the most unsafe plants in the country. By allowing this plant to operate for another 20 years, the NRC is showing that cares more about protecting the profits of the nuclear industry than public health and safety.

Cheer: Margot Pellegrino from Medford Lakes, who has paddled thousands of miles along the Eastern Seaboard to draw attention to the importance of protecting our oceans. Not many people could paddle from Maine to New Orleans, so we give Margot a lot of credit for her effort.

Kara Seymour, Program Assistant NJ Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618

609.656.7612

(f) 609.656.7618

<http://www.newjersey.sierraclub.org> www.newjersey.sierraclub.org

Received on 2009-04-22 10:23:18

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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