NJ reviews climate change bills as drought looms

The joint committee did not vote on either bill at Thursday’s meeting. Supporters pleaded with committee members to move the measures forward quickly.

Carol Gay, a Brick resident and president of the New Jersey State Industrial Union Council, an organization that advocates for workers’ rights, said “climate protection and pension protection are intertwined,” and they’re both “necessary to protect workers” and for “retirement security”.

“Fossil fuel divestment is necessary, both financially and morally,” Gay said. “[The fossil fuel industry is] losing money and very much in decline.

Senate Environment Committee Chairman Bob Smith (D-Middlesex) said the committees plan to pick up the package this fall when lawmakers return from summer recess.

On Friday, Governor Phil Murphy signed two laws that authorize and fund environmental infrastructure projects.

One appropriates state and federal funding from the current budget to fund the New Jersey Water Bankwhich provides low-cost funding for projects that “protect and improve water quality” and “help ensure safe and adequate drinking water,” according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

The other law allows the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank, or NJIB, to spend up to $2.07 billion providing loans to local governments and private water companies for Water Bank projects.

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