Top 6 Bills Targeting Environmental Issues
By: Maggie Garbarino
It is important this Earth Day to reflect on the most pressing environmental protection issues of our time. Currently, human activity is on track to do significant, permanent damage to our planet and it is our responsibility to take a stand.
Change is necessary, and it is coming. There are things we can do as individuals and as a community to mitigate the impact of climate change and protect our planet. At the Lesniak Institute, we know just how important this cause is. We have made it our mission to empower environmental protection advocates by giving them the tools they need to push environmental policy priorities through the New Jersey State Legislature.
In an attempt to combat the irreversible damage being done to the planet, elected officials in Trenton have introduced several bills addressing environmental concerns. In honor of Earth Day, I have compiled a list of the top 5 bills in the State Legislature that can help the environment.
This bill would establish the Office of Clean Energy under the Board of Public Utilities to oversee the deployment of programs related to clean energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage in overburdened communities. The bill would also require workforce development training, outreach, and coordination with community-based organizations to ensure the success of the energy efficiency programs.
The bill was passed in the Senate in November 2020 and has been referred to the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee. If you would like to advocate for this bill, contact your Assembly Members and ask them to co-sponsor and support this legislation.
This bill would establish a utility-scale solar energy development program to be created by the Board of Public Utilities under the Electric Discount and Energy Competition Act. The goal would be to have utility-scale solar facilities producing at least 3,000 megawatts of power by the year 2030.
This bill has been introduced in both houses. Currently, it has been referred to the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee and the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. To help pass this legislation, contact your Senator and Assembly Members and ask them to co-sponsor and support the bill.
This bill would establish statewide targets to reduce the disposal of organic waste in landfills. Biodegradable waste takes up valuable landfill space and produces pollutants and methane gas, much of which escapes into the atmosphere and contributes to climate change. The bill would see a 50% reduction in the level of the Statewide disposal of organic wastes from the 2016 levels by January 1, 2022 and a 75% reduction by January 1, 2027.
This bill has been introduced in both houses. It has been referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee and the Assembly Energy and Solid Waste Committee. To help pass this legislation, contact your Senator and Assembly Members and ask them to co-sponsor and support the bill.
This bill would establish post-consumer recycled content requirements for certain containers. The bill will require manufacturers to produce single-use plastic products with a certain percentage of recycled content. Recycled plastics will thus be in higher demand, putting more pressure on our state to improve our recycling systems. It not only will help the environment as a whole, but it will also keep our beautiful New Jersey beaches and shores clean
This bill was introduced to the Senate in June 2021 and has now been sent to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. To help pass this legislation, contact Senator Sarlo, who is the Chairman of the committee, and ask them to put the bill up for a vote.
This bill would establish the Climate Change Mitigation and Resilience Financing Program in the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank. This program would provide low-interest loans and other financial assistance to projects whose primary purposes are to eliminate, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions or to protect human health and safety, the environment, and public infrastructure from the effects of climate change.
This bill was introduced to the Assembly in January 2021 and referred to the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee. To help pass this legislation, contact your Senator and Assembly Members and ask them to co-sponsor and support the bill.
This bill proposes an amendment to the State’s Constitution, referred to as the Green Amendment, ensuring that every citizen of New Jersey has the right to a clean and healthy environment. This amendment would make the State’s public natural resources common property of all people and would appoint the State as the trustee of those resources. The State would be responsible for conserving and maintaining all resources for the benefit of all people.
This bill has been introduced in both houses. It has been referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee and the Assembly Agriculture Committee. To help pass this legislation, contact your Senator and Assembly Members and ask them to co-sponsor and support the bill.
About The Author: Maggie is a PR and Social Media Intern at the Lesniak Institute for American Leadership. She is also a senior at Fairleigh Dickinson University where she is double majoring in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and Political Science. Maggie aspires to help her community by advocating for progressive social justice policies.
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