NJ spends $21 million on projects fighting climate change

New Jersey spent $21 million on projects to help fight climate change, including buying electric trucks for several cities and distributing grants for projects to restore salt marshes, seagrass meadows, forests and other areas.

The state Department of Environmental Protection announced a program Thursday to spend $6 million to help the public buy electric trucks. This will help the city pay for a total of 16 new electric vehicles statewide, including dump trucks, dump trucks and ambulances.

It also includes an electric car-sharing project in Jersey City.

On Wednesday the department announced $15 million in funding for nature-based infrastructure projects.

Both initiatives will use the money raised through auctions that New Jersey has received through the regional greenhouse gas initiative, a collaboration between the states of Mid-Atlantic and New England working to reduce carbon emissions from power generation.

Countries receive auction proceeds through programs to fund initiatives that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

“Climate change is the greatest long-term threat to New Jersey’s people, communities, and economy,” said Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat. “This year’s Earth Week theme to invest in our planet reflects our New Jersey values ​​as we aim to set an example for the nation.”

The grant program will enable local governments, academic institutions, non-profit organizations and others to receive grants to restore coastal, forest and urban ecosystems to reduce greenhouse gases.

“Natural solutions are important because they have the potential to do more than just sequester carbon,” said Katrina Angarone, DEP associate commissioner. “Trees planted in our urban areas also help cool our cities, clean our air, provide habitat, reduce flooding and provide green spaces in highly urbanized spaces. Restored tidal wetlands provide important wildlife and fisheries habitat and can increase the resilience of our coastal areas. These projects have the potential to be multiple-fold winners for communities on the front lines of climate change.”

On Thursday, the American Lung Association released its annual report on air quality in the US, ranking the New York metropolitan area, including parts of New Jersey, as one of the worst in the country for ozone pollution, despite improvements from previous years.

The report looks at ground-level ozone air pollution and particulate matter – soot – pollution from 2018 to 2020.

The “State of the Air” analysis classifies the New York-Newark metro area as the 14th worst for ozone air pollution. The Philadelphia-Reading-Camden Corridor was ranked the 29th worst in ozone air quality and 18th worst in average particle pollution levels.

The study found that ozone air quality has improved over much of New Jersey since the association’s 2021 report (which covers 2017-2019), with no area worse off. Two counties—Gloucester and Hunterdon—received passing marks for the first time, earning a D. And Monmouth County got New Jersey’s first A for ozone, making it one of the cleanest counties in the U.S.

But six counties—Bergen, Camden, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, and Ocean—continue to receive failing scores in ozone air quality.

New Jersey fared much better in the particulate pollution category, which Michael Seilback – the pulmonary association’s assistant national vice president for state public policy – told NJ Advance Media as “microscopic particles in the air, caused by things like diesel exhaust or fires.” Forest. “

Seilback attributes increased particulate pollution levels in New Jersey to clean air measures, including electric commercial trucks replacing polluting diesel-powered trucks.

“We’ve cleaned the diesel exhaust. It’s a major source of particulate pollution in New Jersey,” Seilback said.

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NJ Advance Media Staff Writer Elizabeth Llorente contributed to this report.

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