Press Releases


Return to EEdNews Homepage

UL Innovative Education Award Program Announces Winners
USDOE Green Strides
Hackettstown Hatchery Feature On
Encouraging Nature Play
New Jersey's Forest Resource Education Center Offers Free Summer Programs for Families
Is the climate crisis creating a global consciousness shift?
What has the environment got to do with justice?
State We're In - Summer Music Playlist
New SITES rating system for landscapes
USDA-NRCS Press Release: NRCS honors New Jersey winners of national volunteer awards
US GRS 2015 winners
Oysters, Cape May, and the Rutgers connection.....
PANJ green hour and ANJEE...
EPA Issues Rule To Protect 4,000 miles of NJ Streams
UL Innovative Education Award Program Announces Winners             (Posted: 8-6-15)

Click HERE.

USDOE Green Strides             (Posted: 8-3-15)

In the News

States Launch U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Competitions

State education authorities are launching their 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) competitions with deadlines to submit to them in the winter.  For applications, interested colleges and universities should contact their state higher education authorities, while schools and districts should contact their state education agencies.  Schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions are only eligible if nominated by state authorities; they cannot apply directly to ED. State education authorities’ participation is voluntary. Not every state has run a competition and nominated candidates every year of the award.  Hearing from interested applicants can be helpful to those states considering participation.  State education authorities can find updated criteria and other state implementation guidance on our website and should contact U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for more information.


Meet More of the 2015 Honorees

As the examples below indicate, U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees are demonstrating innovative practices for all to follow:


Timber Creek Regional High School, Erial, N.J.

Timber Creek Regional High School produces a whopping 58 percent of its energy onsite with a 1.3 megawatt solar array.  The school’s wellness coordinator organizes biometric screenings, conducts health risk assessments, and establishes weekly goals for individual staff members.  Timber Creek has an organic raised-bed garden, which was supplied with plants nurtured from seeds of two sister high schools’ greenhouses, and constructed from untreated, repurposed solar panel wood shipping boxes.  The garden is supported by a 300-gallon off-grid rain collection system that collects roof rainwater and uses a 12-volt battery recharged with solar to power a pump with a capacity of four gallons per minute.  Garden produce goes to the cafeteria, culinary classes, local food banks, and community senior centers.  Timber Creek is also home to a Rutgers Cooperative rain garden and bioswales.  Composting is collected by Organic Diversion, a company that coaches students and staff on how to collect materials, and provides the school with reports on collection quantities and strategies to improve composting and recycling efforts.  The compost is used in the science curriculum, where students study microbes and decomposition rates.  In chemistry, topics include alternative energy, environmental chemistry, and global warming.  Students learn about food contamination, organic foods, healthy food choices, and composting in the nutrition, culinary, and hospitality courses.  Environmental Science classes study climate change, fossil fuels, and alternative energy sources.  Biology classes address the relationships between resource use and sustainable development and how humans impact the diversity and stability of ecosystems.  Art students use trash, newspapers, recycled materials, drips of paint, and found items to create sculptures and paintings.  >>>>


Resources and Opportunities

The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues All Summer Long

The Green Strides Webinar Series promotes sessions offered by federal agencies and nonprofit organizations that provide free tools to reduce schools' environmental impact and costs; improve health and wellness; and teach effective environmental education.  This summer, check out the new webinar calendar and submit suggestions of webinars regarding school, district, and postsecondary sustainability to so that we may promote them.


August 3, 2015, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.  Exploring Ice in the Solar System (NASA)

August 4, 2015, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Robotics in the Classroom (NASA)

August 4, 2015, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. How School Districts Are Saving Money (EPA)

August 5, 2015, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Transitioning to After School Meals (USDA)

August 6, 2015, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.  NASA Engineering Design Challenges (NASA)

August 11, 2015, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Introduction to CHPS (CHPS)

August 11, 2015, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.  Green Cleaning Award (HSC)

August 12, 2015, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.  Don’t Mess with Mercury (ATSDR)

August 19, 2015, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.  Integrating Engineering into Science (NASA)

August 20, 2015, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.  How to Apply for the ENERGY STAR (EPA)

August 20, 2015, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.  What’s This Drought Stuff About?  (NASA)

August 25, 2015, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.  Operation Report Card (CHPS)

August 25, 2015, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

August 26, 2015, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

August 27, 2015, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)


Resource Spotlight: Plum Landing Explores Your World, One Mission at a Time

Plum Landing is an environmental science project that helps kids develop a love for, and connection to, this planet we call home.  Plum Landing invites kids ages six to nine to get to know their world through a collection of fun and engaging games, apps, videos, and hands-on science activities. Media resources for teachers include extension ideas that encourage kids to put down their devices and head outdoors to explore their world, real-life explorations, activities, and educational content focused on the environments that Plum and her human friends explore.  >>>>


Proposals to Promote School Integrated Pest Management Due Aug. 10th  

EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs is soliciting proposals to provide education, training, resources and technical assistance to increase Integrated Pest Management (IPM) implementation in kindergarten to 12th grade schools nationwide. The grantee will conduct a national program, using its existing organizational structure and established relationships with school districts throughout the United States, to further IPM adoption by schools. >>>>


Submissions for the World Food Day Art Contest Due Sept. 30th

The World Food Day Poster Contest is one of the oldest United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization outreach projects involving students across the globe.  Since its launch, the World Food Day poster contest has inspired thousands of children and young people to put their creativity and talents to work and figure out ways to fight poverty and hunger in their countries.  The 2015 theme is social protection and the deadline is Sept. 30th.  >>>>



Green Apple Day of Service is September 26th

The Green Apple Day of Service gives parents, teachers, students, companies, and local organizations the opportunity to transform all schools into healthy, safe, and productive learning environments through local service projects.  Check out project ideas, pick up helpful event resources, read about last year's impact, find an event in your area and register your 2015 project.  Watch this video where Secretary Duncan gets painting at a local school on Green Apple Day of Service.  >>>>


The North American Association for Environmental Education Annual Conference is Oct. 15-18th in San Diego

The North American Association for Environmental Education has its annual conference Oct. 14-18th in San Diego under the theme of “Building a Stronger and More Inclusive Movement.”  Diversity, equity, and inclusion are critical success factors for everyone working in the field of environmental education. This year's conference will explore ways to enrich and expand this work and workforce, along with other strategies for strengthening the field and achieving greater collective impact.  Strands include: Conservation and Education; Environmental Education in Urban Settings; Inspiring Connections to the Outdoors; Research-Based Practice in Environmental Education; Teaching About Environmental Issues and Systems Thinking; Greening Pre-K–12, Higher Education, and Vocational Training.  >>>>


Food Day is Oct. 24th, 2015

Every October 24th, thousands of events all around the country bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to encourage improved food policies.  It’s a day to resolve to make changes in diets and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level. This annual event involves some of the country’s most prominent food activists, united by a vision of food that is healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment, farm animals, and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it.  This year, Food Day has the theme "Toward a Greener Diet."  Hundreds of events are being planned on and around October 24th in all 50 states.  >>>>


The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Annual Conference is Oct. 25 – 28th in Minneapolis

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) 2015 Conference & Expo, themed Transforming Sustainability Education, will convene a diverse group of campus representatives including faculty, students, sustainability officers, staff, administrators and presidents together with business, non-profit, government and community members for a sustainable celebration.  >>>>


Greenbuild is Nov. 18-20th in Washington, DC

Greenbuild 2015 is gearing up to be a Monumental Green event scheduled to take place Nov. 18-20th in Washington, DC.  Greenbuild is the premier event for sustainable building, featuring three days of uplifting speakers, networking opportunities, showcases, LEED workshops and tours of green buildings, Greenbuild offers a place for thousands to gather and renew their commitment to the green movement.  >>>>


Connect with Green Strides

Green Strides: Resources for School Facilities, Health, and Environment
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools
Facebook: @EDGreenRibbonSchools
Twitter: @EDGreenRibbon
If you received a forwarded newsletter, sign up to receive us directly next month.

Hackettstown Hatchery Feature On             (Posted: 7-27-15)

Click HERE.

Encouraging Nature Play             (Posted: 7-23-15)

Click HERE.

New Jersey's Forest Resource Education Center Offers Free Summer Programs for Families             (Posted: 7-23-15)

Click HERE.

Is the climate crisis creating a global consciousness shift?             (Posted: 7-20-15)

Click HERE.

What has the environment got to do with justice?             (Posted: 7-16-15)

The recent publication by Pope Francis of the encyclical "Laudato Si', on "Care for Our Common Home" prompted us to take a look at the subject of environmental justice. We want to better understand the history of the environmental justice movement in the US, what the impacts of current energy and environmental policies are on, in particular, disadvantaged communities, and what this statement by the Pope, and other moves by faith groups (including the recent announcement by the Episcopal Church to divest from fossil fuels), means.

And, are we now moving away from a debate about the science of climate change to one about the morality of acting (or not acting) upon climate change and other environmental challenges?

To help us understand these issues better, we will have as guests on our next show Ana Baptista, who grew up in the Ironbound area of Newark where she was part of the environmental justice struggle and is now Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management at The New School, the Reverend Paul Jeanes of the Trinity Church in Princeton and Chad Pedlock, author and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the Catholic University.

Listen in to what should be a thoughtful and insightful show at 6pm on at 6pm next Monday or on following days next week at 3 and 6pm. More details on

State We're In - Summer Music Playlist             (Posted: 7-15-15)

by Michele S. Byers
Executive Director 
Michele S. Byers  

A summer playlist  

Summer is time to be outdoors ... hiking, swimming, bicycling, fishing, camping, kayaking, horseback riding, birding, surfing and more.

Whether you're at the shore, on a mountain, by a river or in the forest - or stuck inside WISHING you were outdoors - a soundtrack can come in handy.

Here's a playlist of songs about nature and the outdoors to inspire you, pump you up or put a smile on your face.

For inspiration to get out and enjoy sun and fresh air, it's hard to beat the energetic U2's "It's a Beautiful Day". "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie is sure to get you itching to hit the road and explore our country's lovely places.

The mother of all conservation songs has to be Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," with its oh-so-true lyrics about not knowing what you've got 'til it's gone. On the flip side is "Nothing but Flowers" by the Talking Heads, a humorous riff on the opposite of paving paradise and putting up a parking lot.

The Beatles sang more about love, love, love than nature, but "Mother Nature's Son" is a good addition to any outdoor playlist. Another classic about getting back to nature is "Apeman" by the Kinks, actually a protest against nuclear war.

If the heat and humidity are getting you down, try "Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful. Gotta get away? The antidote is Canned Heat's "Going Up the Country," a Woodstock era classic.

Sunny days are the very essence of summer, and a couple of good songs are "Blue Sky" by the Allman Brothers and "Mr. Blue Sky" by the Electric Light Orchestra. "Sunshine on my Shoulders" by John Denver also fits the bill, although just about anything by John Denver is outdoorsy.

If the shore is your thing, you'll need songs about the beach and water. No shore playlist would be complete without the Beach Boys - how about "Catch a Wave" or Otis Redding's soulful "Dock of the Bay" tells how nature can be a refuge from loneliness. And Weezer's popular "Island in the Sun" practically makes you feel warm rays on your skin.

Are you a birder? If so, your soundtrack should include Jack Johnson's "Upside Down" since birds provide the best of Mother's Nature's songs. There's also the funny "I Like Birds" by The Eels. And for those who may be working on your life list, there is "Fly Like an Eagle" by the Steve Miller Band, "Blackbird" by the Beatles, "Hummingbird" by Seals & Croft, "Mockingbird" by James Taylor and Carly Simon and "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley. (And, yes, not all of those are really about birds!)

A reverence for nature is beautifully expressed in "Morning Has Broken," an old hymn updated by Cat Stevens. "One Sweet World" by the Dave Matthews Band is an ode to Mother Earth. And "Leaves that are Green" by Simon & Garfunkel uses nature as a metaphor for the passage of time.

Raising your environmental consciousness? Try Julian Lennon's "Saltwater," the Pretenders' "My City is Gone," Neil Young's "Who's Gonna Stand Up?" and "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" by Marvin Gaye.

For more contemporary songs, try "Back to the Wild" by Langthorne Slim, "Mount Marcy" by Frontier Ruckus, "Country Calling" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, "Time Forgot" by Conor Oberst, "Northern Lights" by The Cave Singers and "The Wild Hunt" by The Tallest Man on Earth.

You can probably think of lots more.

Enjoy music and nature together this summer! Look for our NJ Conservation Summer Playlist on Spotify.  


Write to me at and share what's on your playlist.

And for more information about preserving New Jersey's land and natural resources, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at

 Step Into Nature Challenge

THE STATE WE'RE IN is a weekly column by Michele S. Byers, Executive Director.  CLICK HERE  for archives of previous articles.
Established in 1960, New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a private, not-for-profit organization. Our mission is to preserve New Jersey's land and natural resources for the benefit of all.  Through acquisition, stewardship, advocacy and partnerships, we save land, manage environmental resources, promote strong land use policies, and forge alliances in order to permanently protect open space, farms and urban parks all over New Jersey.

For more information, visit our website at or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728). 

New SITES rating system for landscapes             (Posted: 7-7-15)

Click HERE.

USDA-NRCS Press Release: NRCS honors New Jersey winners of national volunteer awards             (Posted: 6-24-15)

NRCS honors New Jersey winners of national volunteer awards

Flemington, June 17, 2015 –  Four of the 16 Earth Team Volunteers recognized nationally for their work with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in New Jersey received their awards from State Conservationist Carrie Mosley on Wednesday. The award presentation took place at the Hunterdon County Complex where Mosley and the State Technical Committee were meeting following a conservation tour in Hunterdon County.

Clint Lehman of Toms River, Jennifer Nale of Marlton, and Kristy Northrup of Marmora were among the 15 volunteers who assisted with the Subaqueous Soil Survey of Barnegat Bay and earned the National Group Volunteer Award – Northeast Region for the many hours they spent on the water and in the lab, retrieving and documenting soil samples of the bottom sediments of the bay. This survey will help to inform crucial decisions made regarding the restoration of Barnegat Bay. The entire project was labor-intensive and could not have been accomplished without the 15 Earth Team volunteers who gave over 500 hours to the work. In addition to working on the Barnegat Bay project, Jennifer Nale assisted NRCS soil scientist Fred Schoenagel with field work.

Amanda Curry of Hillsborough won the National Individual Earth Team Individual Award – Northeast Region and also joined Mosley and the Committee for the presentation ceremony. A recent graduate with a degree in Environmental Science from Florida State University, Curry won the National Individual Volunteer Award for her work assisting the Frenchtown Service Center and four additional offices with a wide range of conservation work in both the field and office. She gave over 350 hours of her time throughout the summer and was nominated for the award by NRCS biologist Evan Madlinger.

Members of the Barnergat Bay group not present for the ceremony in Hunterdon include Ryan Sullivan (Forked River), Matthew Crane (Florham Park), Donald Arrington (Brick), Britta Wenzel (Lavallette), Mihaela Enache (volunteer through DEP Trenton), Bianca Reo (Parsippany), Alexa Ornstein (Manahawkin), Brian Nester (Virginia Tech grad recently hired as NRCS soil scientist in Kansas), Ruth Anderson (Virginia Tech student), Frank Tunstead (Brielle), Kevin Flynn (West Keansburg), and Michelle Gluck (Waretown).

Rob Tunstead, NRCS soil scientist, was also recognized as the recipient of the New Jersey NRCS Employee Earth Team Award for his outstanding leadership of the Subaqueous Soil Survey of Barnegat Bay Group. Rob coordinated and supervised their activities, attending to quality control and water safety.

The national
awards were announced in April during National Volunteer Week. To learn more about NRCS’s Earth Team program, visit and navigate through Topics to People-Volunteers or contact Laura Coover at or 732-462-0075 extension 108.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD)or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).

US GRS 2015 winners             (Posted: 6-24-15)

Administration Honors Schools, Districts and Postsecondary Institutions for Sustainable Facilities, Health, and Learning Practices

White House Council on Environmental Quality Managing Director Christy Goldfuss and NOAA Director of Education Louisa Koch joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan yesterday to congratulate the 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees on their achievements at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

At the event, 58 schools and 14 districts were honored for their leadership in reducing environmental impact and costs, promoting better health, and ensuring effective environmental education. In addition, 9 colleges and universities were honored with the first-ever Postsecondary Sustainability Award. Representatives from the schools, districts and postsecondary institutions received sustainably crafted plaques and banners in recognition of their achievements.

Duncan also announced a new and improved Green Strides website, which features resources and webinars for all schools to go green, as well as all past honorees. The new and improved website is sponsored by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.

“I congratulate these schools, districts and postsecondary institutions for their commitment to sustainable facilities, health, and classroom practices,” Duncan said.  “By exploring complex sustainability topics that affect our society, our environment, and our economy, students are learning to solve the challenges of the future and preparing for jobs that don’t yet exist.”

“President Obama believes we have a moral obligation to leave behind a cleaner, healthier, and safer planet for our children and grandchildren,” said Goldfuss. “That’s why inspiring and preparing the next generation of leaders to tackle the tough challenges facing our planet is so important. Today’s honorees have shown they are up to the task, setting an example that schools and districts across the country can follow.”

"We are building an environmentally literate world that will be cleaner and safer for future generations through programs such as U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools." said Koch. "The award touches upon elements of NOAA's mission of science, service and stewardship and we acknowledge the honorees as well as all nominees of this award."

The honorees include 52 public schools and six private schools serving elementary, middle and high school students. The public schools include two charter and three magnet schools. Of the 2015 honorees 34 (47 percent) serve a disadvantaged student body and 19 (23 percent) serve rural students. Of the nine postsecondary honorees, one-third are community colleges.

View the list and the annual highlights report summarizing the work of each of the 81 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees.

Resources for all schools to move toward the pillars of the award can be found at The three pillars are 1) reducing environmental impact and costs, including waste, water, energy use and alternative transportation; 2) improving the health and wellness of students and staff, including environmental health, nutrition and fitness; and 3) providing effective sustainability education, including robust environmental education that engages STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.

Oysters, Cape May, and the Rutgers connection.....             (Posted: 6-4-15)

The next time you sit down and enjoy a plate of plump, succulent, delicious oysters, most commonly known locally as Cape May Salts, take a moment to thank our very own State University of New Jersey, Rutgers, because it's more than likely that the oysters you are enjoying were bred, cultivated and began life at the Rutgers Aquaculture Innovation Center (AIC) situated off Bayshore Road on the north bank of the Cape May Canal.

After spawning, viable oyster "seeds" or "spats" are sold to independent entrepreneurs who go about the arduous and time consuming work of actually raising or "farming" the oysters. Locally, farming oysters is now an important growth industry since it creates good year-round jobs and is reviving a valuable niche food source that many thought was gone for good.

The AIC also seeks to identify evolving markets for farmed oysters and new suitable locations to grow and farm even more oysters. Improving the quality of Jersey oysters is of paramount importance, but the overriding objective is sustainability. New Jersey's oyster industry was all but wiped out half a century ago by disease and over harvesting. The AIC's fundamental objective is to do everything possible to avoid a repeat of that collapse.

The resurgence of the oyster here in Cape May is a true success story. Now, New Jersey Audubon's Nature Center of Cape May in partnership with Rutgers has made possible an exclusive behind the scenes tour of this cutting edge scientific research facility. Scheduled tour dates are Saturday June, 13th, July 11th and August 8th from 9:30 to 10:30. Tour size is limited and preregistration is required. Contact the Nature Center of Cape May, 609-898-8848 for registration and directions, or to schedule private tours. Cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members.

PANJ green hour and ANJEE...             (Posted: 6-4-15)

Last night we saw the future and, perhaps for once, it looked good.

We were joined by four young people who gave us hope that they might be able to do a better job of protecting our future that we have.

Our four guests on the show were Keniah Newton from the Barack Obama Green Charter High School from Plainfeld, NJ, Anna Marsh and Danny Goldman from the Lawrenceville HS in NJ and Rekha Dhillon-Richardson from Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy in Pa.

Different backgrounds and experiences but all were smart, innovative, dynamic, competent, eloquent and passionate. Their joint achievements to date would take up too much space to list here but you can find out more on

As Anna noted, climate change should be the Civil Rights issue of today, energizing a new generation with the need to act. And those who currently have the power - their parents and their generation - need to listen to what these students have to say.

These students left me inspired and with real hope that today's youth just might be smart and passionate enough to avoid what Danny called, quite rightly, the possibility of catastrophic climate change. But we cannot wait until they have the levers of power. Let's do whatever we can to help them now.

Listen to what these young people had to say every day this week at 3 and 6pm on or later in the week via podcast on And share widely, particularly with educators and students - these young people deserve to be heard and others need to be inspired to raise the bar.

As Bob Dylan wrote;
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside and it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'

Gery Juleff
Host of the 'Green Hour'
609 529 0149

EPA Issues Rule To Protect 4,000 miles of NJ Streams             (Posted: 6-1-15)

Obama Admin’s EPA Issues Rule To Protect 4,000 miles of NJ Streams

Rule Will Provide Federal Backstop for Headwater Streams & Wetlands

Trenton – More than 4,000 miles of New Jersey’s streams, including those feeding the Delaware and the Jersey Shore, will gain federal protections under a final rule signed today by top Obama administration officials. The measure restores Clean Water Act safeguards to small streams and headwaters and wetlands that have been vulnerable to development and pollution for nearly ten years.

“From the Delaware to the D & R Canal, the waters that provide our drinking water can only be clean if the streams that flow into it are protected,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “That’s why today’s action is a huge victory for clean water.”

By closing a loophole created by Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006, today’s rule returns Clean Water Act protections to streams that feed the drinking water sources for more than 4 million New Jerseyans and one in three Americans. Millions of acres of wetlands, vital for flood control and filtering pollutants, will also again be shielded under federal law.

“For decades, the Clean Water Act has been a cornerstone of U.S. environmental protections—ensuring that millions of Americans have access to safe drinking water, pollution-free places for swimming, fishing, and hunting and reliable water sources for business operations and agriculture.  Unfortunately, these safeguards have been jeopardized by several conflicting court rulings that created confusion for businesses and made it difficult to go after polluters,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

“I’ve heard from thousands of my constituents about the need to restore these protections—and I’m pleased to see the Administration has done just that.  This rule will make clear which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act while maintaining appropriate exemptions for agriculture and creating greater certainty for business.  I strongly support the Administration’s proposal and will continue fighting to preserve clean water for New Jerseyans and all Americans for generations to come.”

The court rulings had put small streams, headwaters and certain wetlands in a perilous legal limbo, allowing polluters and developers to dump into them or destroy them in many cases without a permit. In a four-year period following the decisions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had to drop more than 1,500 cases against polluters, according to one analysis by The New York Times.

First proposed in March 2014, the joint rule by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is backed by robust scientific review and has gained broad support across a wide range of constituencies. Mayors, brewers, kayakers, anglers, small businesses, and farmers have signaled their support.  New Jerseyans joined Americans across the country to submit 800,000 comments in favor of the rule last fall.

Environment New Jersey, Clean Water Action, Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, the New Jersey Sierra Club and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network in conjunction with local farmers and businesses are holding a town hall meeting on the EPA Clean Water Rule tonight in Pennington and released a video – produced by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network – outlining public support for the rule.

“The Raritan, the Passaic, the Hackensack, the Delaware, the Hudson and Barnegat Bay – these water bodies define New Jersey. But they rely on a network of streams and wetlands that have been at risk for nearly 10 years. We are so thrilled that the Obama administration has finalized the Clean Water Rule and ensured that New Jersey’s vital streams and wetlands are once again protected,” said Dave Pringle, campaign director for Clean Water Action. 

New Jersey’s environmental advocates are among those pushing for restored stream protections for the better part of the last decade, gathered more than 70,000 comments from New Jerseyans and held more than 150,000 face-to-face conversations about the need to close the loophole in the Clean Water Act in the last year alone.

“We applaud the Obama Administration for proposing a new rule that will help protect important waterways, wetlands, and drinking water for the American people. This rule closes loopholes and ends different interpretations on how to protect clean water under the Clean Water Act. These are called ‘Waters Of The United States’ because they belong to all of US. They do not belong to developers, agribusiness, or polluters. They belong to the people of this country. The same politicians in Washington that want to drill in the Arctic, drill off of coast, prevent action on reducing greenhouse gases and deny climate change, are now trying to deny us clean water. This rule will help protect habitat, species, and fisheries, as well as prevent flooding and provide clean drinking water. We are supporting the rule and will fight with those in Congress with a dirty water agenda that will take the side of polluters and try to stop this rule from going forward. When Woody Guthrie said this land is your land, he also included the waters. Waters belong to all of us,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. 

Despite broad public support for restored clean water protections, oil and gas companies, developers, and other polluters have waged a bitter campaign against them. The U.S. House has passed multiple bills to block or severely weaken the rule, including one measure as recently as two weeks ago.

“We welcome EPA’s adoption of rules that provide clarity and consistency to the implementation of the Clean Water Act.  The rule will help improve protections for water resources that are vital to a healthy environment and to the health of our state and the nation,” said Mike Pisauro, policy director for the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, which is hosting tonight’s town hall meeting.

While today’s action signaled the final chapter in the decade-long fight for small streams and headwaters, advocates warned today that U.S. Senate leaders were more determined than ever to use their authority derail the Clean Water Rule. Last Tuesday, a key subcommittee adopted a measure by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to thwart the rule. This summer, the Senate is likely to use the Congressional Review Act block the clean water protections, setting up a veto fight with the president.

“Every one of the 216 waterways that feed the Delaware River Basin in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, first begins as a series of many tiny creeks and streams or wetlands that bubble-up out of the ground or flow down a mountain side.  But it is precisely those small waterways, vernal pools and wetlands that are not adequately protected and, in fact, are often filled, paved-over and piped underground for one form of development or another.  EPA’s proposed Clean Water Act Rules will help better protect these critically important waterways for the humans and wildlife that depend on them,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.

****Please note our new office address in New Brunswick*****

Doug O'Malley

Director, Environment New Jersey

104 Bayard Street, Sixth Floor

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Cell: 917-449-6812; Twitter: @DougOMalleyENJ

Archived PRESS-RELEASES are available upon request throught the webmaster.