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Clean Water, Healthy Families, Good Jobs Campaign brings together Environment, Labor & Business Groups to call for increased investment in water infrastructure

Clean Water, Healthy Families, Good Jobs Campaign brings together Environment, Labor & Business Groups to call for increased investment in water infrastructure

Clean Water, Healthy Families, Good Jobs Campaign brings together Environment, Labor & Business Groups to call for increased investment in water infrastructure

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 2, 2022

 

New Brunswick, NJ Today, the Clean Water, Healthy Families, Good Jobs campaign announced a historic coalition that includes labor, environmental groups, and business groups. They are calling for increased investment in water infrastructure. According to the U.S. EPA, New Jersey will need $8.5Billion over the next 20 year for drinking water projects and $17.5B for clean water projects. The total cost of these projects is estimated at $26B.

 

New Jersey receives $1 billion over five-years from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and should contribute an additional $1.2 billion from its share of American Rescue Plan funds. This will ensure that every community has safe, affordable drinking water and flood protection.

 

New Jersey has an opportunity once in a generation to improve the quality and health of its residents. This is possible by making bold commitments to upgrade aging drinking water lines, remove chemicals like PFAs and fix our combined sewer systems, stated Mo Kinberg, Program Manager at New Jersey Future. This proposal builds upon the solid steps taken under the Murphy administration and will make New Jersey an international leader in providing clean water for healthy, thriving communities. Chris Sturm, New Jersey Future’s Managing Director of Policy and Water, said that it will be a major step towards making New Jersey a national leader in water quality.

 

New Jersey’s outdated water infrastructure is in dire need of major upgrades. The water that comes out of the tap is filtered through the drain. So we don’t really think about it. Kennedy said that the pipes that transport water to and from our homes is in poor condition. Too many children live in areas without safe drinking water, which is free of lead and chemicals such as PFAS. Our sewers are also outdated and over-capacity from increased rainfall and extreme weather.

 

New Jersey’s water infrastructure aging is costly. Leaky pipes cause the loss of 130,000,000 gallons of treated drinking waters each day. Flooding last year caused hundreds of million dollars in damage and lead-contaminated drinking waters have caused immense damage to the health of children in some of the most vulnerable communities in the state.

 

The broad nature of this coalitionlabor, environment, and businessspeaks volumes to the fact that the benefits of accelerating investment in water infrastructure are universal, said Ciro Scalera, Director of Government Relations for the NJ Laborers Union – Labor-Management Trust Fund. Scalera stated that our members rely on clean drinking water as much as everyone else. But more than that, this is an opportunity for New Jersey to grow high-quality jobs. This is a win/win situation.

 

Ray Cantor, Vice President for Government Affairs at NJBIA, stated that clean drinking water and infrastructure are fundamental to New Jersey’s economy. He said that increased infrastructure investment demonstrates a genuine commitment to the economic health of New Jersey.

 

Let’s face it, expanded investment in water infrastructure is needed across New Jersey, but there are some communities that are especially vulnerable to flooding, lead in drinking water contamination, sewage-related overflows and a host of additional environmental and social impacts, said Nicole Miller, Principal Consultant at MnM Consulting and co-chair ofNewarkDIG (Doing Infrastructure Green)).All families have the right to clean drinking water, rivers and basements that are free from sewage. These are basic quality-of-life considerations,” Miller continued. “New Jersey can use these funds to help build a healthier future.

 

“Our cities represent some of our state’s most overburdened communities when it comes to the impact of deteriorating and aging water infrastructure,” said Barbara George Johnson, Executive Director of the New Jersey Urban Mayors Association and Vice President of External Affairs and Urban Policy and Research at Kean Universitys John S. Watson Institute. “Making a big, bold investment in water infrastructure demonstrates that there is value in our communities, improves health and shows a commitment to equity and justice for all New Jersey residents,” she continued.

 

Our crumbling water infrastructure is what causes the most damage to communities of color, and low-income communities. Thousands of New Jerseyans drink water from dangerous lead pipes. The sewer and waste systems often become overloaded and dump raw sewage in waterways and streets. One in five residents cannot keep their tap on, according to Larry Levine (Natural Resources Defense Council), Senior Attorney and Director for Urban Water Infrastructure at NRDC. New Jersey can now tap into American Rescue Plan funds to boost its generational investment in clean and affordable water for a more prosperous future.

See Also

 

Governor Murphy and the state legislature have the opportunity to make an historic investment in water infrastructure. This will demonstrate that New Jersey is a leader in one of the most critical issues we face, said Ed Potosnak (Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters).

For more information and to sign up to be an endorsing Member, visit www.ourwaternj.org

 

About the Campaign

 

The Clean Water, Healthy Families and Good Jobs Campaign is a coalition made up of individuals and organizations representing the environment, labor, and business.

 

The Steering Committee members include:

 

  • Chris Sturm (New Jersey Future), Co-chair
  • Mo Kinberg, New Jersey Future Co-chair
  • Chrissy Ballard, Association of Environmental Authorities
  • Ray Cantor (NJ Business & Industry Association)
  • Tom Churchelow (NJ Utilities Association)
  • Kim Gaddy, South Ward Environmental Alliance
  • Kate Gibbs ELEC 825 Operators
  • Barbara George Johnson, NJ Urban Mayors Association
  • Dan Kennedy, Utility Contractors Association
  • Larry Levine, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Andy Kricun, US Water Alliance
  • Nicole Miller, MnM Consulting
  • Doug OMalley, Environment New Jersey
  • Ed Potosnak NJ League of Conservation Voters
  • Ciro Scalera, NJ Laborers Union – Labor-Management Trust Fund
  • Cheryl Stowell, NJ SHARES

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