Above: Councilman Roger Tashjian, Council President Tracy Schoenberg, Oradell Mayor Dianne Didio, and Congressman Gottheimer at the Oradell Public Library electric vehicle charging station.
ORADELL, NJ — Today, October 15, 2021, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) visited the electric vehicle charger station at the Oradell Public Library to fight for critical provisions to combat climate change in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the reconciliation package — including boosting electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Northern New Jersey and nationwide, as well as provisions to protect our air and water.
“We are in the middle of a major climate crisis. It’s not something we can just ignore and hope will get better,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer. “When you talk about fighting climate change, at first it seems like an insurmountable task. But then you dig into it, and you realize we can take immediate steps now that will have both an immediate and long term impact on our lives – on our health, on our economy, on our planet. The cost of inaction on climate change is incalculable.”
Gottheimer added, “Electric vehicles are one small part of solving the climate puzzle – but an important one that we need in our climate action.
While North Jersey has some electric vehicle charging stations in different communities, there are far too few. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will help expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure in towns and on highways across the nation, to make it easier for more families to transition to EVs.
“I look forward to congressman Gottheimer working to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill which will give more money to municipalities to install these,” said Oradell Mayor Dianne Didio. “I was personally looking to purchase an electric vehicle but because of the lack of charging stations along long distance routes it was not feasible for me, so I look forward to the day when we have the money from the infrastructure bill to install these so that people like me can help the environment, and keep our air safer and purer for everybody.”
Gottheimer has also helped pass critical climate legislation out of the House, including:
H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act — to prohibit any funds from being used to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and to require the President to update a plan each year for the U.S. to meet its nationally-determined contribution under the Paris Climate Agreement, to tackle climate change nationally and globally.
The Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act — to ban drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The PFAS Action Act — to get rid of forever chemicals in our water supply, remediate PFAS in the environment, and limit PFAS use going forward.
The Great American Outdoors Act — landmark conservation legislation to make historic investments to protect and improve our open public lands, national parks, and the incredible natural resources that our great nation has to offer.
Watch the press conference here.
Gottheimer’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are below
I’m here today at the Oradell Public Library, to show the possibility of practical, pragmatic action in our fight against climate change. Behind me, as the Mayor mentioned, is an electric vehicle charger. It’s one small part of solving the climate puzzle – but it’s an important one that we need in our climate action.
We’re making good progress in our fight against climate change, but it’s incredibly clear that we must do more. Like right here at the Oradell Library, we have some electric vehicle charging stations in our community, but far too few. To get more people into EVs, not just here in Northern New Jersey but across our country, we will need chargers like these in towns and on highways across America.
When you talk about fighting climate change, at first it seems like an insurmountable task. But then you dig into it, and you realize we can take immediate steps now that will have both an immediate and long term impact on our lives – on our health, on our economy, on our planet. Our bipartisan bill infrastructure has historic investments in beefing up our climate resiliency to deal with the once in a century flooding, fires, and storms that seems to happen now once every year. Just look at Hurricane Ida and what it did here. It will help Jersey clean up our polluted areas with funding for superfund sites, and historic resources to get lead and forever chemicals out of our drinking water and clean up our air – something that I’ve been fighting even before I was elected. The President’s reconciliation bill will include never before incentives for folks to purchase electric vehicles and green their homes, for wind and solar, and utilities to upgrade their power grids and use alternative energy.
That’s what I want to talk about today – the steps we are taking in Washington right now to fight climate change.
Look, there’s no denying it. We are in the middle of a major climate crisis. It’s not something we can just ignore and hope will get better. Just look at the last few years — the unprecedented wildfires in California, Washington State, Montana, and Oregon. The heat levels. The rising water levels off the Jersey shore. The constant tornadoes off the southern coasts — and Hurricane Ida here a few weeks ago. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, it’s not a red or blue issue — it is simply the reality we are facing and something we must address — it’s an issue that affects every American. Our planet, their health, and our economy. I mean, every time we have a storm or a fire, it’s costing insurers, taxpayers, small businesses, and families a fortune. People lose their homes, their businesses, communities literally burn to the ground or flood out. It’s on the rivers. It’s on the oceans. It’s at the Jersey shore and on the banks of the Passaic River.
The cost of inaction on climate change is incalculable.
That’s what brings us here today: we are on the verge of taking historic action in our fight against climate change in both the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which passed the Senate with 69 votes in August and is ready for a vote in the House, and the reconciliation package, which we’re continuing to work on.
First, we must pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which includes key provisions to combat climate change and boost climate resiliency — and that’s just one part of why it’s so important that we get this to the President’s desk without delay.
In fact, as we just talked about, this bill will be the largest investment in clean energy transmission and Electric Vehicle infrastructure, including the power grid, in history — helping ensure clean air and water for future generations, and helping make it possible for more of our families to move over to Electric Vehicles.
You don’t want to have to worry about whether there will be a charger wherever you have to park, and — because of that uncertainty — long drives can be difficult. This bipartisan bill will help fix that, help us fight climate change, and help us ensure clean air for generations to come.
This bill will also be the largest investment in climate resiliency in American history. Our changing climate is making storms like Hurricane Ida even worse, and it’s laying bare just how weak and deteriorated our aging infrastructure really is. This time around, historic levels of flooding caused massive damage, roads were washed away, with damage here in Oradell and nearby in Lodi and Hackensack; power was knocked out for so many residents and businesses, bridges nearly floated away, and hundreds of thousands were put on boil advisories.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill will also invest in our Superfund clean-ups, which is key here in New Jersey. Because, while we are fortunate to have a beautiful landscape filled with a broad coastline, lakes, and parks, unfortunately, with the densest population in the nation, we also have a history of pollution. New Jersey has the most superfund sites in the country. I was just in Secaucus urging that we clean up the lower Hackensack river.
On top of all of this, the Bill would also make the largest investment in clean drinking water in history — taking aim directly at an issue I’ve spent my time in Congress fighting for: the critical need to remove lead, PFAS, and forever chemicals from water in our schools and communities.
Back in May, I announced a request for federal funding for the Ridgewood Drinking Water Treatment Facilities Construction Project in order to combat the harmful effects of lead in water, PFAS, and other forever chemicals. And I have consistently fought to protect our children from lead in school drinking water through my introduction of the Lead-Free Schools Act and my work in New Jersey — successfully calling for more frequent testing and a public database of schools’ lead-testing results.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is an important step and makes key investments to directly combat climate change, and shows that fighting climate change is no longer an issue confined to one party — it’s something both Republicans and Democrats understand we have to address together.
The other bill, called reconciliation or Build Back Better, includes robust climate provisions that build on what is already included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. As we continue working on the reconciliation package, I am fighting to ensure that the climate provisions do not get left behind.
Among other important provisions, it includes critical provisions to incentivize clean energy usage for businesses, communities and individuals. For instance, the legisation willl put in place more easily accessible Electric Vehicle tax credits to bolster the use of EVs across the country and enact tax incentives for commercial and residential energy efficiency improvements. In other words, New Jersey families will be incentivized to equip their homes with high-efficiency HVAC systems and climate-friendly roofs and water heaters — and it would be easier on the pocketbook. It will also build on the climate resilience measures and clean water measures in our Infrastructure Bill. The plan will help our whole country ensure our children and grandchildren have clean air to breathe.
The reconciliation legislation will also help us modernize our power grid, and tap more into wind and solar energy, in which New Jersey is a real leader, Governor Murphy has made this a top priority. Solar energy production is key here in New Jersey, and we are poised to lead the country with the largest offshore wind farm – a project that was approved this summer.
It’s clear: the climate provisions in both of these bills are extremely important to the Fifth District, to Jersey, and to the whole country — and fighting for clean air, clean water, and a planet that our kids and grandkids can live on is something that has been a focus of mine throughout my time in Congress.
Last Congress, I announced my Five Point Green Action Plan, which laid out concrete steps to protect our air, water, and all of our open spaces now and for generations to come. My plan also called for clean, lead-free water in our schools and communities — an issue I’ve been fighting for non-stop since I was first elected — as well as protecting our open lands, our Jersey shore and lakes, working quickly to tackle climate change, and cleaning up Jersey’s toxic dumping. These bills will help deliver on my Green Action Plan. In fact, one of my key points has already been achieved: our nation is now back in the Paris Climate Agreement.
And thanks to this work, and my legislative record, I was honored to receive an A rating from the League of Conservation Voters.
All of this builds on the vital climate legislation I’ve helped pass out of the House.
Last Congress, I helped pass the Lead Free Schools Act, to get lead out of our drinking water.
H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, which passed the House last Congress — to prohibit any funds from being used to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act, critical legislation to ban drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The PFAS Action Act, to get rid of forever chemicals in our water supply, remediate PFAS in the environment, and limit PFAS use going forward — all steps that are hugely beneficial for North Jersey families.
And the Great American Outdoors Act — landmark conservation legislation which makes historic investments to protect and improve our open public lands, national parks, and incredible natural resources that our great nation has to offer.
I’ll keep working around-the-clock with Democrats and Republicans, in the House and Senate, and with the White House to make it happen.
Both of these bills are critical for securing the climate protections we need. I’m committed to getting both across the finish line in a commonsense way that’s good for Jersey.
For the Garden State and for our whole planet, we must tackle climate change and so, here in the greatest country in the world, our best days will always be ahead of us.
Thanks and God bless.