By John Reichman
This is an urgent moment with regard to our climate crisis. We need your help next week to ensure that New Jersey has a real plan to combat our climate emergency and to address the needs of our most vulnerable communities. There is an important opportunity for each of you to be heard a week from Thursday, August 8th, in Newark.
The last few weeks offer us potent reminders about the urgency of our climate crisis. From dangerous heatwaves combined with exceeding levels of smog pollution, to destructive flash flooding events and the toxic algae blooms shutting down two of our largest freshwater recreational lakes, New Jersey continues to suffer the compounding impacts from dirty energy and climate destabilization. The increasing urgency to act on climate is why Governor Murphy campaigned on a plan to move New Jersey quickly onto 100% clean energy.
However, the draft Energy Master Plan released last month by the Administration fails to meet the climate crisis with the required urgency. It does not include either an immediate moratorium on new fossil fuel projects -- incredibly there are more than a dozen on the drawing board -- or the immediate regulation of greenhouse gas pollution. These are the minimum first steps we need to take if we are serious about averting climate catastrophe. The draft EMP is not your usual wonky government study; it will set energy policy for the next 30 years and most crucially in the next 5 years during which we must take immediate action if we are going to lessen the most draconian effects of climate change. We need to get this right now or suffer the irreversible consequences.
The draft plan also fails to adequately address the needs of low income communities of color like Newark, who have long suffered the disproportionate impacts of environmental degradation. These environmental justice communities face higher rates of premature death from cancer, respiratory disease, asthma, heart attacks, and strokes from rising temperatures and pollution, which hit our cities the hardest. Much of Newark including low-income housing communities and the airport lie in flood-prone areas and are increasingly vulnerable to climate change impacts, and many lack the resources to get out of harm’s way and rebuild after extreme weather events.
On August 8th, the NJ Board of Public Utilities will be taking public comments and holding public hearings on the Governor’s Draft Energy Master Plan. We need as many people as possible to join us then to have our voices heard. We will be holding a rally with our many coalition partners at noon before the afternoon public comment session and we need people to make public comments at either the afternoon or evening sessions. Sample talking points on the energy plan are attached to help get you started, and a lengthier analysis can be found at www.empowernewjersey.com. We will also be available to help you craft your comments. Please let us know.
If you would like to testify please contact John Reichman at [email protected]
Public hearing, rally and press conference on New Jersey's Draft Energy Master Plan
Join us on August 8th for public hearings, a rally, and a press conference as we lobby for a real plan for the climate crisis. This is an urgent moment. We need a strong presence in Newark to demonstrate that the people of New Jersey demand a real plan for a healthy and renewable New Jersey!