Tuesday, October 19, 2021

We hear the phrase “environmental justice,” but what does that really mean?  Under the landmark Environmental Justice Law, NJSA 13:1D-157, it means a lot. The law requires the State DEP to assess the impact of a proposed power plant or any other kind of industry on a community and allows for one community to comment on proposals in neighboring communities.

Citing pollution concerns, the Edison Township Council voted against a power plant in neighboring Woodbridge and has urged the State DEP to reject the plan. The interim regulations require the company applying for a permit to address questions raised by what are called “overburdened communities.”

This law serves as a model for other states with communities, usually poor and minority, that have served as dumping grounds for polluting industries. Just as New Jersey has its strip along the Turnpike, Connecticut has its Bridgeport and Massachusetts its strip along Route 24 south of Boston.  Renewable energy and environmentally friendly transportation can help to resolve these problems.  We just need the will to change.

Prayer for the Day

We look for you, O God in the crisp cool air of the morning

   And hear your voice just as daylight emerges;

We find you, O Lord, in the sound of geese as they fly by,

   Reminding us of the change of season upon us.

May we also find you in the streets and alleyways

   Of backwater communities filled with people.

In the name of him who shows you to be everywhere,

   Even Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.

Thoughts for the Day

The truth is: political reality changes quickly, so it's best to pick the things you want to see happen, and do your best to try to make them happen.

            Nathan J. Robinson, journalist, editor of Current Afairs magazine

We have been trained to see our issues in silos; they never belonged there.

            Naomi Klein, American political writer

You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it?

    From this time forward I make you hear new things, hidden things you do not know.

They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them,

   So you could not say, “I already knew them.”

You have never heard, you have never known, your ear has never been opened.

            Isaiah 48: 5-8a