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Sierra Club hails passage of ballot question

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On Nov. 7, New Jersey voters approved a ballot question that will dedicate environmental settlement funds to environmental cleanups. The question passed with approximately 970,000 people voting yes and approximately 450,000 people voting no.

The New Jersey Sierra Club hailed the passage of the question.

“This is a win for the environment and the people who want to make sure it is protected. With the passage of ballot question No. 2, money that comes from environmental settlements will serve environmental purposes,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “It means we can clean up and make our communities whole again after they have been devastated by toxic pollution.

“The money will go toward restoring wetlands, cleaning up streams, planting trees, rebuilding parks, protecting our drinking water and other issues that arise after a community has been devastated by toxic contamination,” Tittel said.

According to the Sierra Club, in New Jersey, under the Spill Act, if an entity spills chemicals and destroys natural resources, it not only has to clean up the pollution, it must also compensate the public for loss of use.

The Sierra Club said environmental settlements have been used to plug budget holes and to give tax breaks to certain segments of the population instead of being used in accordance with the Spill Act.

Tittel said, “Now that these (settlement) monies must be dedicated, we can make sure they are put toward cleaning up the contaminated sites and helping restore the communities involved.

“This constitutional dedication on environmental settlements will prevent (governors) from violating the public trust. We want to thank the people of New Jersey for standing up and voting to protect these funds and making sure polluters pay to clean up their messes,” he said.

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