We want to celebrate the year’s achievements with you and share the spirit of the holidays. We are also requesting your financial support so that we can continue our fight to protect New Jersey’s environment. There is much unmet need for our legal services, and we turn down requests because we do not currently have enough capacity.
We are especially proud of having an attorney fully devoted to environmental justice (EJ) issues. Maggie Broughton’s first year at EELC was a resounding success. Our individual donors and foundation supporters deserve great thanks. Funds set aside from individual giving and new foundation grants allowed us to hire and focus a full-time attorney on EJ issues. Maggie expanded our work to new clients in communities of color and lower-income communities throughout New Jersey that are overburdened by environmental hazards and facing climate change.
Severe contamination in homes and neighborhoods is a common problem in EJ communities. EELC works in Newark on these issues, and, with Maggie on board, we were able to expand the work to Camden. A new client, Martha Chavis who heads Workforce and Economic Revitalization for Communities, writes that an illegal toxic waste dump in Camden has “threatened the health and revitalization of the Bergen Square neighborhood for decades.” Only now, after EELC and this client have focused attention on both the health of residents as well as financial accountability of those who created the illegal dump is the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) “finally taking steps to clean up the site and address this environmental injustice.”
Working with another Camden client, EELC has demanded that solid waste regulations be followed at a scrapyard where, three times in the last two years, toxic smoke spread through the neighborhood from burning industrial waste stored on the site.
Increased flooding due to climate change and clean energy are other concerns of EJ clients. Ivy Hill community members and New Jersey Progressive Equitable Energy Coalition (NJ PEEC) are working with EELC to ensure community voices are heard to address flooding, worsened by climate change, and industrial siting in EJ neighborhoods.
These matters put EELC in the forefront of implementing New Jersey’s new first-in-nation environmental justice law that makes it possible to prevent polluting development in communities because of already high levels of contaminants. “This is the trial run,” Maggie has said. “People are going to see and governments are going to see how it’s working in New Jersey and possibly adopt it as well or use New Jersey’s law and regulations as a model.”
EELC is as busy as ever on the transition to clean energy, representing clients who are pushing state government to move more quickly on infrastructure for the electrification of vehicles. In addition, we continue to oppose unneeded pipelines for fossil fuels. EELC has received a grant from the Energy Foundation to continue representing New Jersey and national greens at the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) in anticipated public hearings on how the State’s continuing transition to electric vehicles and the electrification of power will be accomplished in an equitable and fiscally responsible way. Our clean energy clients include Environment New Jersey, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, the Sierra Club, the NJ League of Conservation Voters, EDF, Tri-State Transportation, Green Faith, and NRDC.
Along with attorneys around the country, EELC advocated in Washington that pipeline approval must include a comprehensive analysis of greenhouse gas emissions both upstream and down, and new guidance has been drawn up.
Skyland Preservation Alliance and EELC saved Tobias Farm from warehouse sprawl. Photo courtesy of Patrick Banes.
EELC is continuing its work on open space, sustainable development, clean air, and clean water. In brief, warehouse sprawl continues to plague the State, and EELC has helped clients to save farmland from overdevelopment. EELC’s watershed clients and our attorneys are bringing the public’s knowledge to bear on changes to state law as the NJDEP makes an historic upgrade in New Jersey regulations to protect streams.
We are a small team of well-regarded and sought-after attorneys who serve NJ and national environmental organizations, environmental justice organizations, and community groups, all of whom are pushing for a cleaner environment, clean energy, water and air, and open space for us all to enjoy.
Would you consider contributing to EELC so we can continue to expand our services and meet new requests that frequently come through our door?
We wish you much joy and peace over the holiday season.
Edward Lloyd, Esq. Alexi Assmus, PhD Chris Miiler, Esq.
Co-Chair, Board of Trustees Co-Chair, Board of Trustees Executive Director