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ALISON MITCHELL, POLICY DIRECTOR
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Former NJ Governors and Legislators Issue Bipartisan Challenge to Washington to Uphold and Defend Environmental Protections

Group Calls on Congressional Delegation to Fight for Principles to Protect our Public Lands, Water, Air and Wildlife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/ 04/04/17

FAR HILLS - A bipartisan group of former elected officials widely known for their environmental advocacy and achievements joined together today on behalf of protecting public lands, water, air and wildlife.

Former Governors Brendan Byrne, Tom Kean, Jim Florio and Christie Whitman, together with former Congressman Rush Holt and former New Jersey Assemblywoman Maureen Ogden, called on New Jersey's Congressional Delegation to fight for a set of Principles to Protect our Public Lands, Water, Air and Wildlife. Their call comes at a time when the nation's environmental laws and regulations are facing unprecedented efforts to rescind and weaken them in Washington.

Principles to Protect our Public Lands, Water, Air and Wildlife

We, the undersigned former Governors and elected officials, and leaders of New Jersey Conservation Foundation, embrace our responsibility as environmental protectors. We affirm that land and natural resources must be protected and conserved for the health and enjoyment of current and future generations.

We call upon every Member of New Jersey's Congressional Delegation to honor New Jersey's legacy of environmental protection and progress and join us in advocating for these Principles to Protect our Public Lands, Water, Air and Wildlife.
We acknowledge that clean water, clean air, parks, forests, and farms are fundamental to the economic success and vitality of the State of New Jersey and the United States of America.

Moreover, the quality of our environment is fundamental to our health, wellbeing and quality of life.
We acknowledge that environmental protection must remain a bipartisan matter.

Therefore;

We will support and defend environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Wilderness Act and Antiquities Act, which provide the basic underpinnings for the protection of our environment and the public good.

We will protect and defend public lands and continued public funding for land preservation to celebrate our natural heritage, safeguard our drinking water and secure quality of life for future generations.

We will promote renewable energy and energy conservation, knowing that such action will create millions of jobs without generating pollution or relying on fossil fuels. Renewable energy and energy conservation provide vast health and economic benefits while securing our energy independence.

We will demand that all federal agencies, policies and laws be grounded in sound science.

We will work to address the critical and impending threat of manmade climate change that faces our Nation and our world.

Signed,

Hon. Rush D. Holt
Hon. Brendan T. Byrne
Hon. James J. Florio
Hon. Thomas H. Kean
Hon. Christine Todd Whitman
Hon. Maureen Ogden

Governor Christine Todd Whitman: "New Jersey boasts a rich and diverse environment. We have some of the toughest parts of the Appalachian Trail, 127 miles of coastline, the biodiversity of the Pine Barrens, and the abundant farms of Salem and Burlington Counties. We owe it to future generations to protect and deliver these treasures in the most pristine state possible. Our nation's federal environmental laws and policies play a key role in this effort."

Governor James Florio: "Clean water is fundamental to the health of our citizenry and the functioning of our economy. I urge our federal congressional delegation to maintain the integrity of the Clean Water Act and the regulations that safeguard the quality of our water for our children and grandchildren."

Governor Thomas Kean: "We must reject the false premise that protecting our environment is harmful to the economy, when in fact the opposite is true. Undermining environmental protections will only cost us more down the road as we pay the price to clean up pollution and address public health impacts. Our country's economic health and prosperity depends on maintaining our essential environmental laws and regulations."

Governor Brendan Byrne: "I view the protection of the Pine Barrens as the most significant achievement of my eight years as governor as Governor of New Jersey. Knowing that I prevented an airport and urban sprawl from obliterating that pristine wilderness is humbling and I will fight vigorously against any efforts to encroach on that important national treasure. I urge all of our representatives in Washington to staunchly defend our national lands and landmarks for current and future generations."

Dr. Rush Holt: "Sound science is the underpinning of sound environmental policy. I urge New Jersey's congressional delegation to pay heed to what science tells us, resist special interests, don't substitute hunches or wishful thinking, and follow the scientific evidence. That is the best way to ensure the long-term good of millions of citizens."

Assemblywoman Maureen Ogden: "During my time in the Legislature, I worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect our precious wetlands and to secure funding to preserve important lands in New Jersey. As residents of the most densely populated state in the U.S., New Jerseyans understand the value of preserving open space to protect our water supply, purify our air and mitigate global warming, protect natural habitat, and provide multiple recreation opportunities. At a time when the President and many in Congress seem to be backing away from a commitment to these values, we need our representatives in Congress to be strong in their support of the gains we've made on the environment and to help us continue critical preservation efforts going forward."

Michele S. Byers, Executive Director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation, helped convene this effort of bipartisan leaders. "For nearly six decades, New Jersey Conservation Foundation has worked with every administration to ensure that New Jersey's land and water are preserved for future generations," she said. "Unfortunately, the current Administration in Washington and many in Congress are taking steps to dismantle the bipartisan legacy of environmental protections that we depend on. As new political leaders help shape policy that will affect our past and future efforts to preserve and protect the land, we thank our esteemed former Governors and elder statesmen and women for their bipartisan work in defending our environmental safeguards against these attacks in Washington."

For more information on how the public may participate in this effort,
visit: http:// act.njconservation.org/principles.

About New Jersey Conservation Foundation:

New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a private nonprofit that preserves land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all. Since 1960, New Jersey Conservation has protected 125,000 acres of open space - from the Highlands to the Pine Barrens to the Delaware Bayshore, from farms to forests to urban and suburban parks. For more information about the Foundation's programs and preserves, go to www.njconservation.org or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728).

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