Blue wave needed to see a green wave
Courier Post Opinion Editorial.
By Donald Norcross
As the weather gets warmer and beach season approaches, we should all be excited to be outside, taking in the blue skies and oceans and the fertile green ground beneath us. But now more than ever, as we enjoy our surroundings, our priority must be to protect and defend our environment from attack. So we need to send a message to Donald Trump and his corporate cronies in the 2018 elections: Go Green, Vote Blue.
Here in New Jersey, we know the awesome beauty and importance of the Jersey Shore, the Pinelands and the Delaware River. We also have more than our share of contaminated “Superfund” sites that the Environmental Protection Agency is charged with remediating. I’m proud of the work we’ve done in New Jersey to preserve our natural wonders, and in recent years I’ve successfully worked with local and federal officials to make corporations pay to clean up the toxic waste they left behind at old factories in Gibbsboro, Pennsauken and other Superfund sites throughout the state. But all of this is in danger because of Trump and the longtime opponent of the EPA that he sadly chose to run it, Scott Pruitt.
I say this as a lifelong environmentalist endorsed by the Sierra Club with a 100 percent voting record from the League of Conservation Voters. But don't take it from me; former Republican governor of New Jersey and EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman just told Time magazine that “during Pruitt's term at the EPA, the environment will be threatened instead of protected, and human health endangered instead of preserved, all with no long-term benefit to the economy.” Plus, Pruitt currently faces no less than 10 investigations into his questionable behavior as administrator. His ethical conflicts and wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars only confirm that he has no business leading the agency in the first place.
But he is. And along with Trump, they’ve already withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord and set back the world’s efforts to combat climate change, rolled back the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Rule, and announced plans for oil drilling off the Jersey Shore. An oil spill here on the scale of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico would devastate our coastal ecosystem and communities – not to mention our economy – for decades to come. It cannot be allowed to happen, and I will fight it at every turn with every tool I have available.
Thankfully, I won't be alone. Our leaders in the New Jersey Legislature, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, are already taking steps to protect our state from Trump’s harmful policies, and Gov. Phil Murphy just signed a new law intended to prevent coastal drilling. The governor also has an expert partner in first lady Tammy Murphy, who joined with former Vice President Al Gore to found the Climate Reality Action Fund. Together with our partners and allies in the environmental community, we will defend our land, shore and sky from this unprecedented attack.
But we’re still just playing defense for now. I wish the news was better this summer. I wish the Trump administration cared as much about climate change and the health and safety of our families as they do about the corporate profits of their billionaire backers. I wish we were playing offense, and that wish can become a reality – at the polls. Let’s support pro-environment candidates who will hold the administration accountable. Let’s send them a message that we want our leaders to preserve and protect our environment. A blue wave at the polls this year will start a green wave for many years to come.