FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lead-Free NJ Members Deliver Senate Budget Testimony
Heather Sorge | Lead-Free NJ Program Manager
TRENTON, April 26, 2022 — Lead-Free NJ members Yvette Jordan, NEW Caucus; Ruth Ann Norton, Green & Healthy Homes Initiative; and Chris Sturm, New Jersey Future delivered the following senate budget testimony on Thursday, April 21:
“Clearly, we can all agree that exposure to lead in any form is an extremely harmful contaminant and specifically leaves a deleterious effect on our most vulnerable population—our children,” said Lead-Free NJ Advocacy Coordinating Committee and Steering Committee co-chair Yvette Jordan. “As a teacher, I am acutely aware of the effects of lead on children. It limits their ability to function in the classroom by impairing cognitive function and is a contributor to the high numbers that are designated as special needs.”
“Remediating lead-based paint is the lynchpin in the creation of housing that supports health and long-term success, advances racial equity, and helps New Jersey achieve our climate goals,” said Lead-Free NJ member Ruth Ann Norton. “Once we invest in eliminating the toxic risk of lead in our housing, we open the door to interventions that reduce energy burdens, allow older adults to age at home, and link homes to affordable clean energy. We increase housing values—driving the transfer of intergenerational wealth in Black and Brown families—and create pathways to sustainable, well-paid careers in the housing field.”
“This year, the Legislature has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to accelerate investment in clean water infrastructure by dedicating $1.2 billion in American Rescue Plan funding for use by community water and sewer systems to upgrade water infrastructure,” said Lead-Free NJ member Chris Sturm. “Investing these additional dollars will help close the $6 billion clean water funding gap we have over the next five years. An additional dedication of $300 million for remediating lead in paint will help achieve a lead-free environment for our children.”
Lead-Free NJ was founded in 2021 as an equitable and inclusive collaborative. The organization works to ensure that New Jersey’s children are free from lead poisoning and that our environment is lead-safe by advocating for changes to state and local policy. Lead-Free NJ seeks to eliminate racial and economic inequities by focusing on legacy lead hazards in low-income communities and/or communities of color, while also creating the conditions for children to be free from lead poisoning statewide.