June 16, 2021
Dear Friends,
This month, New Jersey Future honors Juneteenth, a date memorializing the end of slavery in the United States. We also celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month and commemorate the sacrifices and activism that have helped contribute to safer, more inclusive communities across the state. We recognize that the impact of our efforts to improve infrastructure, advance redevelopment, and cultivate greener communities will be limited without consideration of the unique identities and experiences of all New Jerseyans. As we forge ahead towards a more equitable future for people of all gender identities and sexual orientations, we welcome new opportunities to expand the scope and reach of our justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts.

New Jersey Future thanks all who attended last week’s 2021 Planning and Redevelopment Conference, which featured thought-provoking discussions, virtual networking opportunities, and ground-breaking projects from the most innovative professionals in the field. Check out our recap of the “All Boats Rise: Investing in Climate Resilience and Communities” plenary session. We are excited to announce that we will release a can’t-miss special edition newsletter on June 29 with additional session summaries and highlights!

Lead-Free NJ, a diverse collaborative including local and statewide organizations, launched its website last month. The website offers informational resources, opportunities to become a member of the collaborative, and valuable community organizing and social media toolkits. Visit the website and answer the call to help make our communities lead-safe for all New Jersey children.

Developing and tracking metrics can help effect substantive change in the realm of environmental justice. Read our blog post on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Climate Investments Dashboard, which users can explore to identify projects receiving RGGI funding in overburdened communities.

Peter Kasbach
Executive Director
The science is clear: climate change is here, and its threats are only going to grow more pronounced. But, carefully coordinated efforts can simultaneously protect New Jerseyans from these threats and spur economic activity, making our state that much stronger. That was the message from four senior-level officials from Governor Murphy’s administration at the 2021 Planning and Redevelopment Conference, hosted by New Jersey Future and the NJ Chapter of the American Planning Association. New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso, and New Jersey Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy Director Jane Cohen detailed how planning and redevelopment will play an important role in achieving Governor Murphy’s ambitious climate change goals at the All Boats Rise: Investing in Climate Resilience & Communities session moderated by Kathleen Ellis, New Jersey Future Board Chair.
Lead poisoning from myriad sources impacts thousands of New Jersey children every year, causing long-term medical and behavioral issues that do not always resolve when lead exposure ceases. Due to systemic inequities, exposure is particularly common in communities of color and low-income communities. Recent highly publicized examples of lead-contaminated drinking water have drawn attention to this important issue, but more work needs to be done. That’s why New Jersey Future, along with numerous partners including policy advocates and community members and organizations, launched Lead-Free NJ
One of the first situations in which New Jersey’s resolve for advancing environmental justice will be tested is in the spending of proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) program. Participating states are required to use the proceeds from CO2 allowance auctions for programs that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the use of clean energy sources, but it is up to each state to decide exactly where (geographically) this money will be spent. In theory, there is nothing to stop a state from spending its RGGI money mainly on charging stations for electric vehicles in upscale suburbs, for example, which would do nothing to improve conditions in the communities that have historically suffered the most severe pollution impacts. But, New Jersey has already taken steps to assure the public that this will not happen.
In response to the growing needs of older adult populations, New Jersey Future’s community guide is helping towns and cities optimize the built environment to enhance the accessibility and affordability of their communities. No aging-friendly community is complete without the implementation of compact, mixed-use development and the cultivation of walkable centers. These elements, combined with the integration of public green spaces, allow for safe, efficient movement in communities that support inhabitants’ physical and mental health. Aging-friendly community members can also benefit from a variety of housing options, such as shared housing arrangements and accessory dwelling units, which accommodate the unique circumstances and budget constraints experienced by many older adults.
New Jersey Future joined 37 organizations calling for the costs of the regional CSO Long Term Control Plan upgrades to be distributed among 48 municipalities in the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) region. Currently, the plan specifies that only those municipalities with combined sewer overflows would fund the upgrades, even though the entire service area would benefit. This inequitable funding plan ignores the environmental justice realities of these communities.
Legislative & Government updates
  • New Jersey Future submitted comprehensive comments on the New Jersey Climate Change Resilience Strategy.
  • Tim Evans testified at the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on S3688, which would curb warehouse sprawl.
Coming Up
  • 2021 Jersey Water Works Membership MeetingJuly 28 1-3pm. This is a pivotal moment for water infrastructure: Your work and passion for transforming New Jersey's water is essential to the conversation at the Membership Meeting. Register today to see how Jersey Water Works can serve as a platform for you to foster new opportunities, connections, and win-win solutions to New Jersey’s toughest water challenges.
  • Lead-Free NJ Membership MeetingJuly 19 1-2:30pm.With communities invigorated about removing lead from the environment and potential opportunities in place to fund these efforts, this is an important moment for lead-free advocates. Join us to network and discuss lead policy with others, learn more about Lead-Free NJ’s recent work to get the lead out, and find out how we can work together to make change. Register now!
Smart Growth for Everyone
Smart Growth is equitable growth. It is also restorative, as smart growth and redevelopment can help correct systemic racial and economic disparities. As New Jersey Future drives land use decision-making toward more equitable outcomes, we will be sharing useful resources and lessons in this monthly spotlight. Please give us your feedback and share with us any particularly insightful articles, talks, events, or videos that you come across.

On May 31, 1921, a white mob massacred Black Americans, destroying a thriving segregated community in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Today, Black Americans still struggle to recreate that same kind of prosperity. This article explores the history of the massacre and the resulting economic, infrastructure, and health disparities that Black Americans continue to face today. Read these interactive articles to further explore and understand the history of the Tulsa massacre: this New York Times piece that features a 3D tour of Tulsa before the massacre based on maps, newspapers, and testimonies, and this Wall Street Journal parallax scrolling article.
Come Work with Us
  • Director of Water Policy and Practice: New Jersey Future is looking for a highly motivated individual with a record of success to drive change in the policy and practice of two of the most timely and pressing water challenges, stormwater management and lead in drinking water, as well as water infrastructure policies more generally. Full job description.
  • Program Associate: New Jersey Future seeks a skilled, organized, and motivated individual to provide administrative and communications support to the program team involved with projects dedicated to improving the state’s water quality and infrastructure. Full job description.
New Jersey Future in the News
Featured Resources

New Jersey Future has prepared Creating Places To Age: A Community Guide to Implementing Aging-Friendly Land Use Decisions to provide communities with a step-by-step process to make designing for the needs of older residents easier.

The New Jersey Stormwater Utilities Resource Center is a one-stop shop, housing technical legal and financial information, case studies, and helpful guidance on stormwater solutions, community process, and public engagement.

The Developers Green Infrastructure Guide 2.0 breaks down New Jersey’s Stormwater Rule amendments and helps developers and decision-makers more clearly understand green infrastructure options and advantages, compare alternatives, and evaluate costs and benefits.

This report from the Jersey Water Works Lead in Drinking Water Task Force outlines actions New Jersey can take to virtually eliminate lead in drinking water in 10 years. New Jersey Future is a member of the Jersey Water Works collaborative.
Social Media Highlight
Founded in 1987, New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible growth, redevelopment, and infrastructure investments to foster vibrant cities and towns, protect natural lands and waterways, enhance transportation choices, provide access to safe, affordable, and aging-friendly neighborhoods, and fuel a strong economy. New Jersey Future does this through original research, innovative policy development, coalition-building, advocacy, and hands-on strategic assistance. Embracing differences and advancing fairness is central to New Jersey Future’s mission and operations. New Jersey Future is firmly committed to pursuing greater justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion through its programs, internal operations, and external communications.