NEWARK — Gov. Phil Murphy signed into legislation Friday a measure giving state regulators energy to disclaim growth permits to companies whose operations pollute predominantly Black and different minority communities.
Murphy, a Democrat, forged the laws in sweeping phrases, calling it historic and saying it amounted to a “monumental reform” that places New Jersey on the forefront nationally of what’s referred to as environmental justice laws. He signed the invoice alongside state lawmakers and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, who has launched comparable laws in Washington.
The brand new legislation in New Jersey — which is the frequent butt of jokes for its factories and air pollution and leads the nation within the variety of Superfund websites — goals to deal with years of companies placing incinerators, refineries and different companies that foul the air and water in cities and cities with principally Black residents.
Advocates for the laws hailed it as lengthy overdue. The measure has been pending since 2008.
“We do not need to be canaries within the coal mine anymore,” mentioned Maria Lopez-Nunez, a deputy director at Newark’s Ironbound Neighborhood Company. “We do not need to simply survive in our communities. We need to thrive.”
The measure arrived on Murphy’s desk after he publicly supported it June 19, referred to as Juneteenth, the vacation commemorating phrase of the Emancipation Proclamation reaching African Individuals in Texas in 1865.
The laws requires the Division of Environmental Safety to guage public well being and environmental results when sure companies like energy crops, incinerators, sewage remedy services and trash-processing crops apply for permits in sure communities.
They’re outlined as census tracts the place 35% of the inhabitants has low revenue, or the place 40% of households are minority or have restricted English proficiency.
There are greater than 300 cities accounting for half the state’s inhabitants that match the invoice, Murphy mentioned.
The legislation offers regulators the authority to disclaim permits in such situations for the primary time. Present legislation applies broadly and makes it tough to disclaim permits, in keeping with state officers.
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