The recent introduction of two new environmental-justice bills aims to protect overburdened communities from undue pollution and provide them access to clean-energy development opportunities.
The first bill (S-232) requires evaluation of environmental and public-health impacts on overburdened communities when reviewing certain permit applications, including power generation facilities.
The second (S-2484) creates within the BPU the Office of Clean Energy Equity and seeks to ensure those living in low- and moderate-income communities share in the benefits associated with ratepayer investment in the state’s clean-energy future.
Many questions need to be addressed. Among them:
- What are the practical steps to ensuring environmental justice (EJ), as well as making certain that low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities benefit from clean-energy advances in New Jersey?
- How will a 21st century clean-energy economy improve air quality and create long-term jobs for these communities?
- What needs to be done to bring community solar, expanded opportunities for reducing energy usage, and emerging technologies (such as energy storage) to these communities?
- How can community energy-planning contribute to equitable clean-energy outcomes?
- What is the utility’s role in these challenges?
At our June 30 NJ Spotlight Roundtable we explored potential paths in clean-energy development that will help realize environmental justice in New Jersey.
U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Member U.S. Senate Committees on Foreign Relations, the Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Environment and Public Works
John Mooney, Founding Editor, NJ Spotlight
Ana Isabel Baptista, Ph.D., Chair of Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management Program, Assistant Professor, Professional Practice, Director, Tishman Environment & Design Center, The New School
Maria Lopez-Nuñez, Deputy Director, Organizing and Advocacy, Ironbound Community Corp.
Dr. Nicky Sheats, Esq., Center for the Urban Environment, John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy, Thomas Edison State University; New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance
Rick Thigpen, Senior Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, PSEG (NJTV Trustee)
Tom Johnson, Energy & Environment Reporter, NJ Spotlight