In his 2020 State of the State speech in January, Gov. Phil Murphy outlined plans to unveil New Jersey’s new Energy Master Plan, and hand-in-hand with that, discussed ongoing efforts to eliminate lead from water and sewer pipes throughout New Jersey.
“We’re working to protect every school and home in New Jersey from the dangers of lead,” Murphy said. “I applaud Mayor Ras Baraka, Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, Freeholder President Brendan Gill, and many legislators, for their partnership to fast-track the elimination of lead service lines in the City of Newark.
“But, we all know this is a statewide problem. It extends far beyond just lead in old water lines — lead paint is a much bigger problem — and it extends to our suburban and rural communities.”
Murphy said the effort would require a “significant investment” that will involve funding to replace ol lead lines, as well as “a veritable army of union workers — plumbers and pipefitters, remediation experts, carpenters and laborers, among so many other tradespeople.”
Plans call for a proposal to be put together to go before voters in a November 2020 referendum.
Senate President Steve Sweeney echoed his sentiments, saying the senate should prioritize a clean water plan that would include drinking water protections for lakes, streams and aquifers.
“Clean water is a basic necessity and any formula for success must include quality education and a fully functioning transportation system,” Sweeney said. “These are major challenges that will require a major commitment of resources but we cannot afford to be intimidated. We have to be willing to invest political willpower if we are to make real and lasting progress.”