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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 2/6/01
01/09
CONTACT: Amy Collings
609-984-1795

DEP Issues Progress Report on New Jersey Sustainability Initiative

State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn today released the first report measuring the progress that has been made since the adoption of 11 sustainability goals outlined in the 1999 report, "Living with the Future in Mind."

The new report, "Living with the Future in Mind: 2000," summarizes New Jersey's headway in achieving those 11 goals. It also strengthens the 41 indicators used to measure progress. The original report was prepared by New Jersey Future, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization working for sustainable development in the state.

"In 1999, New Jersey Future provided a blueprint of what a Sustainable State should look like. It laid out the environmental, economic and social qualities toward which we must strive so that New Jersey will continue to improve the quality of life in New Jersey," said Shinn. "I'm heartened by the many positive trends in this status report, but there is still much work ahead. Accordingly, the involved agencies have begun to take the next step of developing and implementing statewide strategies to advance sustainability in New Jersey."

Executive Order 96, signed by then-Governor Whitman in May 1999, required the state departments and agencies to report annually on New Jersey's progress in reaching the sustainability goals. The goals pertain to Economic Vitality; Equity; Strong Community, Culture and Recreation; Quality Education; Good Government; Decent Housing; Healthy People; Efficient Transportation and Land Use; Natural and Ecological Integrity; Protected Natural Resources; and Minimal Pollution and Waste.

Among the positive trends noted in the report were increases in the state's average per capita income, rising productivity, the high rate of open space acquisition, and decreases in many infectious diseases.

All departments of the Executive Branch and many independent commissions and agencies, as well as New Jersey Future, contributed to the development of the 2000 status report. The update was compiled by the Interagency Sustainability Working Group under the direction of Commissioner Shinn. The working group is now developing a companion report, Governing with the Future in Mind, that outlines the strategic initiatives that state government is pursuing to promote sustainability. The report is expected to be completed in the spring.

"This updated report builds upon the strong foundation provided by the original document and incorporates several improvements, including more current data, simplified language, and specific targets for indicators. It also begins to outline some of the key strategies - including the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, the Greenhouse Gas/Sustainability Action Plan and fundamental reforms in public education - that we are using to attain our sustainability goals," said Shinn. "The significant effort of the interagency working group and the report's many other contributors is greatly appreciated. This is only the beginning of the high level of interagency cooperation required to make sustainability a reality. The ultimate result is expected to be a better future and a better quality of life for all New Jerseyans."

John J. Degnan, chair of New Jersey Future, noted that four years of extensive public participation helped shape the state's goals for a more sustainable future.

"On behalf of all the stakeholders in this process, I am pleased to see the state taking steps to advance progress toward these goals. We need to ensure continued public input into the creation of new and better targets, as well as strategies to move New Jersey towards a sustainable state," Degnan said.

Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Jane Kenny underscored the relationship between the sustainability goals and the state Development and Redevelopment Plan, noting, "Sustainability emphasizes a primary tenet of the state plan: that we need to make a concerted effort to understand that our society, our environment and our economy are all interrelated. With that understanding, state agencies must refocus and redirect their efforts so that we further support a Sustainable New Jersey."

"New Jersey has not only shown national leadership in promoting sustainability, but we're ensuring that this commitment becomes an integral part of the day-to-day activities of state government," said State Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein in voicing his support for the principles of sustainability. "DOT is committed to playing a vital role in achieving success in a number of the goals in this report, including making our transportation system more efficient and reducing emissions of transportation-related pollution."

"A clean environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand," said Commerce Secretary Charles E. (Sandy) Hance. "The New Jersey Commerce & Economic Growth Commission is committed to promoting sustainable business practices throughout our state. Planning for the future is a key strategy for success. This initiative is essential for New Jersey to remain a premier business location and a leading tourism destination."

"Living with the Future in Mind: 2000" will soon be on the Department of Environmental Protection website at www.state.nj.us/dep/. A limited number of copies are available. The report also is being distributed to libraries around the state.

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