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Spencer: Hurricane Sandy, Climate Change Issues Compels Action to Protect NJ Future

Encourages Governor, Legislators to Act on Environmental Improvement Legislation as Part of Larger Rebuilding Efforts to Restore, Protect NJ Future

(TRENTON) – As the state continues to recover from Hurricane Sandy, Assembly Environment Chairwoman L. Grace Spencer (D-Essex) on Tuesday cited the storm’s devastating effects as a stern wake-up call for Gov. Christie to rethink his opposition to environmental legislation that would help lessen New Jersey’s vulnerability to increasingly extreme weather conditions.

As a coastal state, New Jersey bears the most severe impacts of storms such as Hurricane Sandy. In recent reports, scientists have agreed that such storms will occur more frequently and possibly be more ravaging down the line. Hurricane Sandy, called a hybrid storm due to it unusual size and power, is reported as the ninth such devastating storm to hit the Northeast coast in the last five years.

“There are no quick fixes when it comes to the environment and protecting it. However, we can no longer afford to ignore the dramatic changes in weather and its possible causes,” said Spencer. “While we work to restore our communities, we also can begin making changes that will improve the environment and make a difference by addressing regulations that allow us to reduce climate change pollution and promote clean energy.”

Christie removed New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which was enacted to further the fight against global warming by creating an emissions auction and trading mechanism to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions, namely carbon dioxide. Christie also vetoed legislation requiring the state to participate in the program. Climate science is an issue slowly evolving as more studies are performed to assess environmental changes and their influence on intense storms and weather events. According U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recent reports, over the last several decades, evidence of human influence on climate change has become increasingly clear and compelling. Warming of the climate system is well-documented–evident from increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising sea levels.

“We have seen firsthand the potential impact of future storms in Super Storm Sandy, and its merciless destruction along New Jersey’s shores and cities across the state,” said Spencer. “Climate change, the human implications and its environmental impact are very real issues. Unaddressed, these issues can become a real persistent threat to our way of life, our children’s future.”

“As we rebuild and restore our communities in the aftermath of the storm, we must also begin affecting long-term action that will help protect New Jersey’s future.”