Murphy backs New Jersey environmental justice bill

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has pledged support for a bill on environmental justice, that would give the state authority to deny a permit to a company due to concerns about pollution.

Landfills, power plants and incinerators are often built in low-income areas, and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver says people of color are sick and tired from it. The health issues from air, water and soil contaminants are well-documented, and she says Black and brown people are most affected.

"How we treat our environment is a measure of how we treat one another," Oliver said. "And we cannot stand by as the pollution created by the quality of life so many of us enjoys harms our most vulnerable communities."

The evidence is there, she said, to prove health problems are a direct result of contaminants in the air, water and soil.

"The environmental justice legislation won’t just level the playing field, it will set a tone for the nation about how we must ensure social justice and equality happens in all forms. And we all deserve justice no matter our zip codes," Oliver expressed.

The bill lays out specific requirements facilities must meet to obtain a permit. Companies would have to provide data and get DEP approval to operate. It still needs to pass the state legislature and the state senate before Murphy can sign the bill into law.