Gov. Murphy calls for environmental justice for NJ’s minority communities

Gov. Phil Murphy marked Juneteenth by focusing on the need for environmental justice.

News 12 Staff

Jun 19, 2020, 11:05 PM

Updated 1,395 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy marked Juneteenth by focusing on the need for environmental justice.
The governor says that decades of industrial pollution in poor and minority neighborhoods have left those who live in those communities to be more vulnerable to health issues like COVID-19. Murphy says that this is why he is throwing his support behind legislation he says will help reduce a legacy of discrimination in New Jersey that extends to the quality of the environment.
“No community deserves dirty air and water or a lack of access to health care or fresh food or the absence of good transportation alternatives,” Murphy said. “But that’s what years of inaction has allowed to happen in our environmental justice communities right here in New Jersey.”
Murphy says that for decades industrial sites have been disproportionately centered in low-income and non-white communities – in cities like Trenton.
“This has created a concentration of these pollution-causing, sickness-causing, death-causing facilities in lower-socioeconomic communities,” said state Sen. Troy Singleton.
Murphy says that he is supporting a bill to mandate that the Department of Health take the history of overburdened communities into consideration when approving permits for new, pollution-causing facilities, including landfills and incinerators. He says that the need for environmental justice has a direct connection to heightened mortality rates for people of color due to COVID-19.
“Especially when we know that the health impacts from years of dirty air and water put people at greater risk for COVID-19. It’s not hard to put two and two together. COVID-19 did not create the disparities in our state, it has simply laid them bare,” Murphy said.
“Black Lives Matter when it comes to policing. Yes, that’s true. But it must matter when it comes to environmental law, must matter when it comes to housing policy, must matter when it comes to education policy and must permeate every aspect of our policy agenda here in this state,” Singleton said.
Murphy said that he also supports legislation that would make Juneteenth a state holiday as soon as next year.


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