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Legislative Attack on the Environment, Hearing at 2 p.m. Today

Date : Thu, 4 Mar 2010 13:50:05 -0500

For Immediate Release
March 4, 2010 Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Chapter Director, 609-558-9100

Legislative Attack on the Environment

The Sierra Club strongly opposes A2464, a bill that would prohibit New Jersey rules and regulations from exceeding Federal standards. The bill, being considered by the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee, undermines public health and safety as well as environmental protections. The Committee hearing is at 2 p.m. today.

This bill is an attempt by the Legislature to push through dangerous Executive Orders by the Christie Administration that aim to rollback environmental protections. We believe this bill will not only weaken environmental protections but will also hurt our economy.

"New Jersey has always had stricter rules and regulations than most areas because we're not Kansas or Minnesota. We're the most densely populated state in the nation and therefore have more environmental problems than anywhere else," NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said. "New Jersey is denser per square mile than Japan, China or India. The only thing that's denser is the legislators who don't get it."

Because New Jersey is such a small state, there's less area to dilute the air and water pollution that comes as a result of our dense population. In addition to the air pollution generated here in New Jersey, we pick up pollution from other states as well.

In light of our size and population, as well as our desire to protect our natural resources, New Jersey has established stricter standards than those implemented by the Federal Government. By taking away our right to implement these stronger standards, we will jeopardize our water and air and put the public at risk.

Regulations that would be affected by A2464 include:

* Coastal dumping rules: In New Jersey, we do not allow the dumping of garbage or contaminated waste off our coasts, making our rules stricter than Federal standards. * Rules on air toxics: We have stricter standards for mercury, nitrous oxide and sulfur dioxide. * Stormwater standards, flood hazard rules, and water quality planning rules, all of which are stricter in New Jersey. Our right to know regulations are more stringent. * Arsenic Standards: The Bush Administration chose to ignore science and play politics by refusing to strengthen Federal arsenic standards from 10 parts per million. To protect the public, New Jersey strengthened its standard to 3 parts per million. New Jersey has more than 15 other standards on drinking water that are stricter than the Federal Government's. * The Inherently Safe for Technology rule under TCPA (Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act) * Regulations on solid waste and garbage * Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards and our Energy Efficiency Standards could be affected

In the past, the New Jersey Legislature has demonstrated it knows we must pass strong laws to protect our environment. That's why our standards that protect drinking water and regulate contaminated sites are based on a one in a million cancer risk, while the Federal Government's standard is one in 10,000. By adopting the Federal standard, we'll see cancer risk in our population increase by a factor of 100 times, with increased health care costs and tragedy.

"The Legislature used to know we had to pass stricter laws to protect the people of New Jersey," Tittel said. "We're concerned that they'll start trying to rollback these laws as well."

Through the Global Warming Response Act, New Jersey requires reductions in greenhouse gases, and the Federal Government has not. We've passed laws that protect the Highlands and Pinelands. Our coastal rules, CAFRA, are stricter than Federal standards.

New Jersey passed clean car legislation that is stronger than the federal standard to protect citizens from air pollution. We also require higher standards for diesel motors. Our wetlands law provides a higher level of protection than the Federal Government's. Our stream buffers and wetlands buffers afford protection to our waterways that Federal rules lack. New Jersey's TCPA, Spill Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Pollution Prevention, and Clean Water Enforcement are all laws that protect our state beyond Federal standards.

Often, the Federal Government has not raised standards even though there is sound science to do so because of politics.

"Instead of doing their job, the Legislature is already trying to rubber stamp Gov. Christie's anti-environmental Executive Orders," Tittel said. "This legislation has nothing to do with dealing with red tape or helping business. This is just an attack on the environment, pure and simple. This is about taking care of special interests and rolling back protections that ensure the health and safety of the people in New Jersey."

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 2010-03-04 10:50:05

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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