Above: Gottheimer with environmental advocates
GLEN ROCK, NJ – Today, Monday, October 5, 2020, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) hosted a video conference call with groups working throughout the Fifth District to protect our air, water, and open spaces.
Gottheimer discussed work in Congress and in North Jersey to claw back resources to safeguard clean air and clean water for Jersey families.
“Throughout my time in Congress, during this crisis, and looking forward, I stand with all of you in our fight to keep our air and water clean for our families and for the generations to come,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) today. “Protecting our environment should be something that everyone, Democrats and Republicans, should come together around so we can protect our air and water, stop off-shore drilling, and combat toxic dirt piles wherever they may be.”
Gottheimer was joined on the call by, Nathaniel Sajdak, Director of Wallkill River Watershed Management Group; Kendrya Close, Executive Director of the Foodshed Alliance; Don Torino, President of the Bergen County Audubon Society; David Epstein, President of The Land Conservancy of New Jersey; Lorraine Thiel, from the Mountain Lake Community Association & Watershed Advisory Group; and Captain Hugh Carola, Program Director of Hackensack Riverkeeper, Inc.
In Congress, Gottheimer is working at every angle to help keep our air and water clean and to protect open spaces and public lands:
· Protecting North Jersey lakes and water from toxic algae: Gottheimer recently visited Greenwood Lake with local officials to call on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to release investment to address the Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) impacting the lake’s water, local businesses and recreation, and North Jersey residents. Four days later, NJDEP announced the release of $3.5 million in grants for lakes and organizations across New Jersey, and $1,240,000 went to lakes and organizations in the Fifth District. $10 million is now available through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund on a rolling basis.
· Addressing toxic algae from the federal level: In Congress, Gottheimer’s provision recently passed the House to address the HABs impacting many North Jersey lakes by ensuring a U.S. Geological Survey be reported to Congress on ways to combat toxic HABs like those found in Greenwood Lake.
· Preserving our national parks and open spaces: This summer, Gottheimer helped pass the Great American Outdoors Act, which the President has signed into law. The Problem Solvers Caucus, which Gottheimer co-chairs, officially endorsed this landmark conservation bill that will provide full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and addresses the approximately $20 billion maintenance backlog on federal public lands.
· Fighting for access to lead water results for military families: In July, the House passed bipartisan legislation that included Gottheimer’s provision to publicize lead water testing results at K-12 schools on American military bases both in the U.S. and abroad.
· Publicizing school lead water testing in New Jersey: Last October, after years of urging from Gottheimer, the State of New Jersey unveiled a new online database that provides parents and communities with easy-to-access and up-to-date information on dangerous lead water in their children’s schools.
· Implementing a comprehensive Five-Point Green Action Plan: Last year, Gottheimer announced a Five-Point Green Action Plan to ensure concrete steps are being taken to protect our air, water, and all of our open spaces today and for generations to come. Those steps include: fighting for clean; lead-free water in our schools and communities; protecting our cherished parks, natural treasures, and open spaces; working quickly and globally to tackle climate change; protecting the Jersey Shore from off-shore drilling; and combating toxic dumping in our communities.
· Protecting families and first responders from forever chemicals: Earlier this year, Gottheimer helped pass the bipartisan PFAS Action Act, to combat per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), forever chemicals linked to numerous adverse health effects, including cancers and impaired child development. The bipartisan bill improves drinking water standards, protects first responders involved in clean-up efforts, promotes comprehensive health testing and monitoring, and invests in local clean-up against harmful chemicals.
· Fighting to stop toxic dumping: Gottheimer is continuing to fight the illicit dumping of waste and other toxic materials, after working closely with former Vernon Mayor Harry Shortway and local community leaders to combat the Vernon Dirt Pile and illegal dumper Joe Wallace, who has been convicted and fined for illegal dumping and polluting our land.
· Protecting the Jersey Shore from off-shore drilling: To help protect the Jersey Shore from off-shore drilling, Gottheimer helped introduce the COAST Anti-Drilling Act, bipartisan legislation that will permanently prohibit drilling off the Atlantic Coast.