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Environment New Jersey Holds Clean Air Rally Wednesday

A rally will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on the north side of the Westfield train station to urge legislators to reconsider their position on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Asthma attacks are a leading health problem for more than 165,000 children in the Garden State, according to Environment New Jersey, a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization.

That statistic coupled with Gov. Chris Christie's decision to remove New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has motivated the group to host a rally from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8 on the north side of the Westfield train, where Elm Street and North Avenue intersect.

The event, Westfield Rally for Our Kids’ Future, hopes to encourage citizens to call on legislators to block the Governor’s plan to leave the RGGI program and urge them to fight for stronger clean energy policies. 

The rally commences just 90 minutes after Christie begins at the Westfield Armory. Organizers said they plan to attend the meeting and ask the governor about RGGI if possible.   

"The Governor's primary argument has been that RGGI is not working and costing residents money; quite the contrary," said Dan DeRosa, field organizer for ENJ. "According to an independent report released by the Analysis Group, RGGI has added $151 million dollars to New Jersey's economy and supported 1,772 local jobs in New Jersey."

The RGGI program caps power plant pollution, requires polluters to pay for fouling our air, and invests that money in clean energy, according to ENJ. 

"Senator (Tom) Kean Jr. (R-21) voted the wrong way and that's why we are coming to Westfield to encourage him to be a leader on clean air and clean energy," DeRosa said. "The senator has a history of leading on environmental issues and RGGI should be no exception. We're encouraged by the fact that his father, former Governor Kean, came out in support of RGGI in the fall saying it was a 'shame' that Gov. Christie had pulled the state out of RGGI."

Organizers said they are also calling on Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz and Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, who represent District 21, to fight for stronger clean energy policies.

Stephanie Quinton, an ENJ intern who plans to attend the rally, said removing New Jersey from the RGGI would "allow power plants to create more pollution that is put into our air supply."

"I am a local resident of Westfield and environmental activist," she said. "I love my community and my state and would not want to see it deteriorate due to lack of environmentally-friendly initiatives."

The rally is the first of the year but comes on the heels of four successful rallies in Asbury Park (District 11), Princeton (District 16), Rutherford (District 33), and Ridgewood (District 40) in the fall, DeRosa said.

As of Monday afternoon, between 20 and 30 citizens are expected at the rally along with speakers from environmental and concerned groups from across the state, organizers said.

All are welcome. Anyone interested in joining the rally should RSVP to attend the event.

Jim February 07, 2012 at 07:34 PM
These people crack me up. "Green energy" is some pretty nasty stuff. Sure, generating the power is ultra clean, but take a look at the environmental impact of the production of solar panels or the resins for the manufacture of composites for wind turbines. These people need to do their homework first, because the reality is green energy alternatives really aren't as green as they want to believe. Local natural gas plants to supplement regional nuclear power plants is the solution for America. Before cry babies come out screaming about fukushima, people need to realize modern reactor designs (IE not flawed designs from 1950) are extremely safe and reliable.
PJ February 08, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Smog hanging over cities is the most familiar and obvious form of air pollution. But there are different kinds of pollution—some visible, some invisible—that contribute to global warming. Generally any substance that people introduce into the atmosphere that has damaging effects on living things and the environment is considered air pollution. Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is the main pollutant that is warming Earth. Though living things emit carbon dioxide when they breathe, carbon dioxide is widely considered to be a pollutant when associated with cars, planes, power plants, and other human activities that involve the burning of fossil fuels such as gasoline and natural gas. In the past 150 years, such activities have pumped enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to raise its levels higher than they have been for hundreds of thousands of years. source: National Geographic
Monk February 08, 2012 at 05:22 PM
The Wall Street Journal recently had an amusing piece on "the Prius Fallacy: a belief that switching to an ostensibly more benign form of consumption turns consumption itself into a boon for the environment." A good quote ... "A new car and better-tasting tomatoes: These are the sacrifices we're prepared to make for the future of the planet." (I certainly hope all of the attendees walk or ride bicycles to the rally.) The bottom line is that it is a consumption problem, not a manufacturer problem. Punishing business people for responding to consumer demand is a backwards way of approaching pollution. Actually, it is worse. It leads to more government regulation and less individual liberty. Government regulation becomes an industry unto itself, not regulated by voluntary consumer demand.
Concerned Citizen February 09, 2012 at 02:48 PM
"Green" is the synonym for awareness of our surroundings and how we contribute to pollution! We need to go back to the basics, trucks and busses need large fines for idyling! It's the law but Vogel bus company still sits outside our school buildings for hours on end spewing toxins into the air. We (the Tax Payer) pay for Environmental Science classes for our Students teaching awareness, where's the role model?
Sunny Forrest February 22, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Speaking of air pollution just thought the residents of Westfield should know... Westfield Health Department does not care about air pollution. It turns a blind eye to residents who use their outdated extremely polluting wood stoves 24 hours a day causing major air pollution in some neighborhoods. They will do nothing to curtail air pollution residentially. Wood smoke has particulate matter that damages developing lungs in children and aggravates the health of any person suffering from pulmonary or heart disease. Make sure your children wear gas masks when walking past homes with smoke oozing from their chimneys or they could suffer permanent damage to their little lungs. The town officials in Westfield will not do anything to curtail wood smoke related air pollution in the towns that their Health Department governs. In other words, Don't hold your breath if you care about unpolluted air in your neighborhood.

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