Newsletter: Fall greetings from Eastern Environmental Law Center!

Environmental Justice

We’re thrilled to announce that EELC will be hiring a new staff attorney to focus primarily on environmental justice – including the implementation of New Jersey’s groundbreaking new Environmental Justice Law.  The staff attorney will work in partnership with community groups and environmental justice organizations to address the cumulative impacts of pollution on New Jersey’s overburdened communities.  The establishment of this position would not have been possible without the support of our partners at The Fund for New Jersey, Victoria Foundation and Mertz Gilmore Foundation.   

We’re also partnering with the New Jersey State Conference of the NAACP to work on environmental justice issues throughout the state. EELC recently assisted NJ NAACP in joining comments submitted by the Columbia Environmental Law Clinic and the Center for Environmental Transformation to DEP on a draft air permit for the Georgia-Pacific gypsum plant in Camden.  NJ NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice Committee Chair, Marcus Sibley, notes that “DEP needs to make sure that community stakeholders are given all the information they need about proposals like this, and a meaningful opportunity to fully engage in the decision-making process.”

Clean Energy

We’ve won important battles against the “NESE” fracked-gas pipeline project, but the fight is not over yet.  NESE (Northeast Supply Enhancement) would transport fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania through New Jersey wetlands, wildlife habitat and residential communities and require digging a trench under Raritan Bay to bring gas to energy markets on Long Island.  Critical state permits for NESE were denied in 2020; however, the pipeline developer, Williams Transco, has signaled it will reapply for these permits this year.  Meanwhile, the fight continues around the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) 2019 certificate conditionally approving NESE. We’re challenging the FERC certificate in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on behalf of NY/NJ Baykeeper, Food and Water Watch, Central Jersey Safe Energy Coalition and Princeton Manor Homeowners Association, and holding FERC accountable for failing to quantify and consider the significance of greenhouse gas emissions from NESE – including gas customer usage.  

Open Space & Sustainable Development

EELC represents a coalition of environmental advocacy groups that are helping to defend the State’s recent upgrade of surface water quality protections for approximately six hundred miles of New Jersey rivers – the first such upgrade in over a decade.  These upgrades – known as C-1 designations – are being challenged in New Jersey appellate court by Raritan Township, Hunterdon County and the Raritan Township MUA, who claim the upgrades will restrict future land development.  EELC’s clients, the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, Raritan Headwaters Association and The Watershed Institute, are supporting DEP’s new regulations in court in an effort to ensure the continued viability of these enhanced protections for water quality and wildlife habitat.     

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As New Jersey’s only nonprofit, public-interest environmental law firm, we rely on your support to help fight for environmental justice, advocate for clean-energy solutions and defend New Jersey’s open space and natural resources – please consider donating here at whatever level is right for you.  

From all of us at EELC, thank you and best wishes for a happy and healthy spring!  

Christopher Miller, Executive Director