Participants Thank Rep. Andy Kim for his Commitment to Climate Action and Urge Senators to Pass Important Climate, Clean Energy, and Jobs Investments
(Mount Laurel, NJ) – Today, Mount Laurel Councilwoman Karen Cohen and New Jersey State Senator Troy Singleton (D-7) joined climate advocates for a press conference to highlight New Jersey’s Community Solar program and call on the U.S. Senate to create good-paying jobs in New Jersey and mitigate the climate crisis by passing historic investments to address climate change. In late 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed $550 billion in investments for climate, justice, and jobs. If passed by the Senate, these investments will help expand programs like New Jersey’s Community Solar, and put the U.S. on a course to cut carbon pollution by at least 50 percent by 2030, create good-paying clean energy jobs, and mitigate the threat of extreme weather events. The speakers also thanked Rep. Andy Kim (NJ-03) for his vote in favor of these investments and his broader commitment to climate action.
“The immense potential of the clean energy economy puts to rest the old notion that New Jersey has to choose between economic progress and climate protection. They are not mutually exclusive,” Senator Singleton said. “We’ve already seen that the same clean investments that give us sustainable energy and clean air in our communities can also deliver high-quality jobs and a more just economy. The $550 billion of climate initiatives that Rep. Kim helped to pass in the House is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for New Jersey, and we need the United States Senate to follow his example and get this done.”
“As a local representative, I’m concerned first and foremost with the real-life impacts that climate change is having on my constituents,” said Mount Laurel Councilwoman Karen Cohen. “We have a lot of people working at the local and state levels to both protect our communities from the impacts of climate change and to foster the kind of growth in the clean energy economy that creates high-quality, family-sustaining jobs. We need the U.S. Senate to approve the $550 billion in climate investments and be real partners with us on these local and state efforts.”
Speakers stressed that time is running out to address the climate crisis. Climate change is making extreme weather events more frequent and severe with communities across the state paying the price. From 2010 to 2020, New Jersey experienced 23 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $50 billion in damages. More than 40% of Americans experienced a climate change-fueled extreme weather event in 2021 alone.
“As a grandmother and someone who cares deeply about the future my grandchildren will inherit from us, I’ve been deeply concerned by the threat of climate change and widespread feelings of powerlessness to fight it,” said Judith Levine, a Community Solar Subscriber who lives in Collingswood. “Like a lot of people, I care about clean energy but thought my options were limited as someone who lives in a condo and is on a budget. I want more people to be aware of the availability of options like Community Solar, whose services have given me access to renewable energy with guaranteed discounts and have given me a sense of agency in my efforts to do more for the environment.”
These investments in clean energy will not only help fight climate change but also will bring massive economic growth to New Jersey. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, clean energy jobs were growing faster than the economy as a whole. As of 2019, there were 57,139 New Jersey residents working in clean energy.
“Passing the kind of transformative legislation that Representative Kim voted for in November is our best opportunity, not only for environmental security but also for economic prosperity,” said Ed Cohen, President of Sustainable South Jersey. “This investment will create new jobs, stimulate economic growth, cut carbon pollution, and cement New Jersey’s place at the forefront of a 21st century clean energy economy. The House did their job, now we need the Senate to act swiftly to pass these critical investments.”
“New Jersey’s clean energy economy is powered by people,” said Brendon Shank, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Asbury Park-based Solar Landscape. “As a New Jersey-based company, Solar Landscape employs more than 100 people, many of them installing solar panels on warehouse roofs across the state. We have seen right here in Burlington County that community solar promotes our clean energy economy by creating good-paying, family-sustaining jobs.”
A video of the press conference can be found HERE. B-Roll from the event featuring footage of the Community Solar program in Mount Laurel is available HERE.