NEWARK, NJ – As lawmakers outline funding priorities through annual letters to the Senate Appropriations Committee, U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ) are pushing for robust federal investments in energy and environmental initiatives to fight climate change, create new clean energy jobs, boost New Jersey’s coastal economies, and protect our environment for future generations.

“It is well-past time we stopped investing in the foreign, dirty fuels of yesterday and transition to the clean energy economy of tomorrow,” said Sen. Menendez. “I have always said that budgets are a reflection of our priorities and that’s why we need to make strong investments in the kinds of clean energy and environmental initiatives that will help fight climate change, create new jobs, boost New Jersey’s coastal economies, and protect our environment for future generations.”

"As government and business leaders from across the globe came together in December for COP 21, I was proud to join my colleagues in Paris to support an ambitious international climate agreement and reaffirm our nation’s role in combating climate change,” said Sen. Booker. "The potential threats to New Jersey and our planet are real, which is why we must stand committed to investing in clean energy production that will help create a sustainable economy, reduce our carbon footprint and protect the health of our planet for future generations."

Sens. Menendez and Booker led and/or signed on to letters to Senate appropriators requesting funding to monitor water quality at our beaches, to clean our waters and contaminated sites, and to preserve the Garden State’s diverse ecosystems. In addition, they urge the prioritization of energy efficiency and clean energy programs so that New Jerseyans and Americans can reduce carbon emissions and lower personal energy costs.

Overview of energy and environment letters sent to appropriators:


· BEACH Act Coastal Water Quality Monitoring
Sen. Menendez led a letter signed by Sen. Booker and 24 Senate colleagues to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies requesting $9.5 million per year for the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act grant program, which provides funding for coastal water quality monitoring, testing, and public notification. (Download letter here.) Menendez has introduced legislation to make the BEACH Act permanent to ensure this program continues under future Congresses and Administrations.

· Coastal Habitat Restoration Programs
Sen. Menendez led a letter signed by Sen. Booker and 20 Senate colleagues to the Chair and Vice Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies requesting $68.4 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Habitat Restoration Programs including the Community-based Restoration Program, the Estuary Restoration Program, and Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants. These programs support conservation projects to restore coastal habitats, which strengthen commercial and recreational fisheries, provide storm surge protection, and stimulate local economies. (Download letter here.)

· Wild and Scenic River Preservation
Sen. Menendez led a letter signed by Sen. Booker and 10 Senate colleagues to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies requesting $3.0 million for the National Park Service’s Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers program. This program supports a collaborative, locally-driven process to preserve rivers in a natural, free-flowing state. In New Jersey, the program supports Great Egg Harbor, the Lower Delaware River, the Maurice River, and the Musconetcong River. (Download letter here.)

· Land and Water Conservation Fund
Sens. Menendez and Booker, along with 45 Senate colleagues, sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee Chair and Vice Chair, as well as the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies requesting strong funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is the nation’s premier program for preserving the nation’s land, water, and historic and recreational heritage. (Download letter here.)

· Brownfields Redevelopment
Sens. Menendez and Booker, along with 21 Senate colleagues, sent a letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Chair and Ranking Member requesting $165.4 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields program, which supports community-driven economic growth by providing the funds and technical assistance to clean up contaminated property sites for redevelopment. (Download letter here.)

· Low-Income Heating Assistance
Sens. Menendez and Booker, along with 39 Senate colleagues, sent a letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Chair and Ranking Member requesting strong funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program which helps low-income households and seniors with their energy bills. The program provides a vital lifeline, ensuring that recipients do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and affording other necessities like food and medicine. (Download letter here.)

· Diesel Emissions Reduction
Sens. Menendez and Booker, along with 13 bipartisan Senate colleagues, sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, as well as the Senate Appropriations Committee Chair and Ranking Member requesting strong funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction program, which helps retrofit heavy-duty diesel vehicles to significantly reduce pollution. (Download letter here.)

· Weatherization Assistance & State Energy Programs
Sens. Menendez and Booker, along with 36 bipartisan Senate colleagues, sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development requesting $300 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program and the State Energy Program. These programs helps low-income families make energy efficiency improvements to their homes, and efficiency improvements for large buildings like schools and hospitals. (Download letter here.)

· Fusion Energy Research
Sen. Menendez and Booker, along with 12 Senate colleagues, sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development requesting $916 million for fusion energy research programs within the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences. Fusion power has the potential to be a safe, clean, and sustainable energy source that could provide the United States with a nearly limitless energy supply. (Download letter here.)

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