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Senator Lautenberg an "Environmental Champion" Retires

Date : Thu, 14 Feb 2013 16:23:16 -0500

  For Immediate Release
February 14, 2013 Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100

Senator Lautenberg an "Environmental Champion" Retires Today it is being reported that Senator Frank Lautenberg will not seek reelection in 2014. Senator Lautenberg has a longstanding commitment to the environment and has been a leader on environmental issues throughout his legislative career. The Senator has been at the forefront on issues impacting our environment including cleaning up Superfund sites, addressing global warming, preventing offshore drilling on the Atlantic Coast, chemical safety, and protecting the nation's wild places. Senator Lautenberg has been a critical leader on environmental, transportation, public health and green jobs issues. He is a leader in protecting and securing funding for the Highlands and Sterling Forest, champions protecting our waterways and oceans, cleaning up our toxic sites, and cleaning up our air.

"We are very sad to hear that Senator Lautenberg will not be seeking reelection. He has been an environmental champion. He is someone who has worked tirelessly to protect the environment here in New Jersey and across the country. We have worked very closely with Senator Lautenberg on everything form preservation of Sterling Forest, protection of our beaches from offshore drilling, cleaning up toxic sites, chemical security and climate change. He has always been in the forefront in protecting our environment and has truly been our environmental Senator," said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. Senator Lautenberg goes beyond simply voting the right way on issues, he champions environmental causes. He is someone we do not need to lobby him on the issues as he is a dedicated environmentalist who is often leading on the issue and sometimes lets us know what is going on in Washington. He is widely considered a champion for reducing greenhouse gases and promoting the clean energy economy. Senator Lautenberg is an advocate for reducing the country's reliance on fossil fuels. The Senator's record supports his words; he has consistently worked against subsidies for clean coal and supported the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory authority over coal plants. He led the fight to stop ocean dumping in the 1980s. Instead he has promoted clean energy solutions and the green jobs they create, such as recently being the lead sponsor of legislation to close big oil tax loopholes and establishing cleaner and greener fleets by increasing the use of alternative fuels like natural gas, utilizing more electric vehicles, and through increased use of efficiency measures.

"In 2001 he received the lifetime achievement award from the New Jersey Sierra Club and he keeps achieving. He has done more to protect New Jersey's environment than almost any other elected official. He has been a fighter for the environment not just in New Jersey but nationally over the last 30 years. He has been considered one of the greenest Senators in the history of the US Senate," said Jeff Tittel. Senator Lautenberg also fought to keep the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind power in place as Republicans have called for its elimination. We want to see wind mills off our coast, not drilling rigs, and the PTC will help make that happen. The Republicans are standing in the way by opposing the credits. In addition to his work on energy and climate, Senator Lautenberg is a leader in protecting public lands. The Senator has been a leading advocate in the protection of the Highlands region, which provides drinking water to 5.4 million state residents. He was a co-sponsor of the Highlands Conservation Act which sets aside funds for preservation projects in the four state region. He passed legislation to set up the Walkill National Wildlife Refuge. His biggest achievement was saving Sterling Forest, once slated for a city of 35,000 people above New Jersey's drinking supply reservoirs. Because of his efforts it is now a 22,000 acre state park. To show how important his efforts were, the visitor center at Sterling Forrest is named for Lautenberg even though it is in New York.

"I've worked with Senator Lautenberg on so many issue, but I think the most important was his work in protecting the Highlands region. We have worked together very closely on preservation of Sterling forest. If it wasn't for his work instead of a state park we would have a city of 35,000 people and 5 million gallons of sewage going into New Jersey's largest reservoir. Whenever you travel around New Jersey he has not only worked to make our air cleaner and our water safer but when you see a superfund site being cleaned, a clean beach or important open spaces like the Wallkill Wildlife Refuge that is Frank Lautenberg's legacy," Tittel stated. Senator Lautenberg's environmental and conservation leadership extend well beyond New Jersey. Senator Lautenberg is committed to protecting our shores and coastal areas from the impacts of offshore oil drilling and pollution. Around the country he is known as a champion for protecting the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, the Tongass National Forest, Utah Lands, the Rocky Mountain Ecosystem, for cleaning up Superfund and Toxic sites, stopping air pollution from coal, and protecting our drinking water and waterways. When the Bush Administration tried to eliminate the reporting of Toxic Release Inventory it was Senator Lautenberg that led the fight to get that restored so that the public has a right to know what toxins are being release into their air and water.

"Senator Lautenberg has been an environmental hero and will be very hard to replace. There are very few Senators that have been willing to work as hard and push as hard as Senator Lautenberg did to protect the environment. It will be hard to replace him since he has been such an important national leader on the environment. He leaves a tremendous and important environmental legacy for the next Senator to live up to," said Tittel.

-- 
Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator 
New Jersey Sierra Club 
145 W. Hanover Street
Trenton, NJ 08618
609-656-7612
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Received on 2013-02-14 13:23:16

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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