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By Gita Bajaj | November 12th, 2012 - 11:26pm
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McKEON CALLS FOR ACCLERATION IN FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE AS HE RECEIVES NJ SIERRA CLUB OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP

Increasing Storms & Hurricanes, Historic Surge in Sea Levels, Underscore Urgency of Protecting Environment from Global Warming, Says Lawmaker

(PRINCETON) Assemblyman John F. McKeon called for an acceleration in the fight against climate change as he received New Jersey Sierra Club's Outstanding Achievement Award for his leadership in protecting and preserving the environment and for shepherding some of the state's most significant environmental legislation in a generation.

"The severe storms and hurricanes that have ravaged New Jersey in the past year and a half and the historic highs in sea levels, underscore the urgency of protecting the environment. Scientists say global warming is a major factor in the severe weather conditions that we have been experiencing and that have claimed thousands of lives, destroyed tens of thousands of homes and property, distrupted transportation and cost billions of dollars to the state's economy. We must move forward aggressively to accelerate our fight against climate change," McKeon (D-Essex\Morris) said.

"I am deeply humbled by this award from the New Jersey Sierra Club and dedicate this honor to the countless heroes in the environmental community and in our state's citizenry. By working collaboratively with advocates and in a bipartisan manner with environmental champions in the New Jersey Legislature like Senator Bob Smith, we have enacted some of the state's most significant environmental legislation in a generation," he added.

McKeon was recognized for securing the passage of the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act he sponsored and which protects the Highlands Region, the source of clean drinking water for an estimated 64 percent of the state's population. He was also honored for sponsoring measures to clean up Barnegat Bay and fund Open Space as well as for stewarding other critical legislative initiatives to make New Jersey's environment safer and healthier.

Senator Christopher (Kip) Bateman (R-Somerset\Hunterdon\Mercer\Middlesex) and Congressman Rush Holt (D-12) were also recognized with Outstanding Achievement Awards that were presented at the Sierra Club's annual Appreciation Day. Held at the Pretty Brook Farm at the Princeton Day Club on Sunday, the event's goal was to honor exemplary work to protect the environment by lawmakers, activists and volunteers.

John Kashwick, a New Jersey Sierra Club volunteer, was given the Volunteer of the Year Award.

“The people that were honored have all demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the environment. Their work has helped make the state of New Jersey better for everyone,” said Ken Johanson, Chapter Chair of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

“During his entire time in the New Jersey Legislature, Assemblyman John F. McKeon has been a leader in protecting the environment. He has worked tirelessly to not only help preserve New Jersey’s last remaining open spaces, but also to protect our air and water. He has championed legislation from the Highlands to Climate Change and everything in between," said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

"As chairman of the Assembly Environment Committee, he helped shape every major piece of environmental legislation that has been enacted into law. He has also worked to prevent the weakening of environmental protections and rollbacks. He has stood up to special interests in order to make the environment better for all of us in New Jersey. For these reasons, the New Jersey Sierra Club is giving him an award for outstanding achievement,” Tittel added.

Last year's recipients of Sierra Club's Outstanding Achievement Award were Senator Linda R. Greenstein and Ed Rodgers, environmental reporter of the former NJN state television network. Greenstein (Middlesex\Mercer) was among the attendees at Appreciation Day.

“Appreciation Day is a great day where we get to recognize our environmental champions and all the accomplishments they have made in protecting New Jersey’s environment. Sometimes, when you are going from issue to issue and battle to battle, you forget how much has been accomplished,” Tittel said.

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CONTACT:
Gita Bajaj
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