Over the last two days, as the summer season kicks off in earnest, U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5th District, introduced new plans to combat toxic algae, pollution in New Jersey lakes and a clean water action initiative to protect families from lead in water and forever chemicals.
Gottheimer announced June 3 that he is leading an effort to claw back new federal investment from Washington to North Jersey for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to address the algal blooms that are impacting North Jersey lakes, which is a major issue for tourists and small businesses.
In an effort to combat fertilizers and pollutants flowing into lakes, the grant program, which is funded by the American Rescue Plan, will invest in projects to mitigate and runoff.
“With the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress, we’re now clawing back federal investment to New Jersey to help fight back against harmful algal blooms and their detrimental impacts on our recreation, tourism, local small businesses, and residents,” said Gottheimer. “We’ve continued to sound the alarm, we’ve successfully pushed the state for targeted local investment, and now, with this new federal investment, we’re continuing our work to prevent another summer of algae that has wreaked havoc on our lakes, our businesses, our families, and our broader community. This investment is good for our environment good for our economy, good for our eco-tourism, and good for the health and safety of our families. It’s a win-win-win.”
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Gottheimer joined with local leaders and water providers in Ridgewood to announce a Clean Water Action Plan that would focus on helping towns across his district remove dangerous lead and forever chemicals from drinking water.
The three-part plan calls for clawing back federal dollars to North Jersey for clean water projects, ensuring transparency in schools, and replacing lead service lines.
“For years now, it’s my top priority to get clean drinking water for our children and families and I’ve been fighting in Congress to claw more tax dollars back to Jersey. A critical $2.8 million federal investment has now been signed into law for Ridgewood Water to address lead in the water, PFAS, and other forever chemicals impacting more than 62,000 residents across Ridgewood, Wyckoff, Midland Park, and Glen Rock,” said Gottheimer.
“Ridgewood Water has encumbered significant costs to update its infrastructure, vital treatment technologies, which will be ongoing. As a customer, I appreciate the updated technology to protect our drinking water,” said Glen Rock Mayor Kristine Moriecko. “However, the rate payers will ultimately be saddled with the financing. By securing this new federal investment, the Congressman will help not only the Glen Rock rate payers, but our neighbors in Wyckoff, Midland Park, and Ridgewood, too.”
“Ensuring drinking water in Fair Lawn in safe and free of forever chemical is and will always be my top priority,” said Fair Lawn Deputy Mayor Cristina Cutrone. “Keeping residents safe is the most fundamental job of any elected official.”