TO:  Piscataway Township Council   

Dear Council Members:

This is a statement presented in formal opposition to the land use variance that you are considering in order to permit the construction of a large new warehouse across the street from the Randolphville K-3 Elementary School. The school is already in close proximity to three other warehouses. The construction of an additional warehouse would more than double the number of trucks entering and exiting the neighborhood on a regular basis. The combined diesel exhaust from those trucks presents an obvious health danger to the students who would be exposed to it for four continuous years and to adult staff working at the school for many years on end.

According to the American Lung Association, diesel exhaust is a mixture of many gases and ultra-small particles containing more than 40 toxic air contaminants, including benzene, arsenic and formaldehyde. These substances penetrate deeply into lungs and the bloodstream and can contribute to cell mutations that cause cancer. In fact, long-term exposure to diesel exhaust particles poses the highest cancer risk of any toxic air contaminant evaluated by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (https://oehha.ca.gov/air/health-effects-diesel-exhaust).

In prior public discussion of this issue, so-called evidence for community benefits of building the new warehouse failed to be convincing in the slightest degree. Furthermore, building the warehouse negates a prior township commitment to utilize the location, which is now in a natural state, for an ecological park of obvious health benefit to the neighborhood.

It is in clear contradiction of a democratic governing body’s paramount responsibility to advance the common good of its constituents to allow the construction of the proposed warehouse.

For these reasons, the MEPA Branch of the NAACP stands with the vulnerable Randolphville Elementary School community in staunchly opposing the land use variance under consideration by the Council.

Respectfully submitted,

Keith F. Voos, Chair,

Environmental Justice Committee,

MEPA Branch, NAACP