If you are concerned about having clean water and clean air in New Jersey, you should vote YES on Ballot Question Number 2 on Nov. 7. Voting yes on this question is voting to use funds collected from natural-resource damage claims against polluters to fix the damage done, or, if that’s not possible, to restore nearby areas. If passed, it would prevent these moneys from being siphoned off for other purposes, as has been happening for a number of years.

Both the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters are asking for a yes vote on this issue.

Despite the small size of the state, New Jersey has 116 superfund sites, more than any other state (California is number 2, with 98 sites). Of the sites in NJ, 105 are on the national priorities list to be cleaned up under the federal Superfund program. Other badly polluted sites — such as Pompton Lakes — aren’t even on the list. Ideally, the companies that do the polluting would pay for the cleanup, but normally taxpayer dollars are used for it. According to an article in the Washington Post on Sept. 20, 2017, taxpayers have spent more than $21 billion in cleanup and oversight costs. 

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Prior to 1995, petroleum, chemical and corporate taxes paid for the cleanup, but these taxes expired and now most of the program’s funding comes through taxpayer dollars. Industries and businesses must be held accountable for irresponsible behavior, and when we are successful in holding them accountable, the funds must be used for the cleanup. 

Nancy Griffeth
Environmental Justice Task Force of UU Faith Action NJ