Newsletter December 23, 2016
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From the Executive Director's Desk

WEC began 30 years ago fighting for our right to know and today we continue fighting to Respect our Right to Know. WEC stands with 45 allies from labor, environmental and community organizations calling on Governor Christie to take specific steps to protect our lives, jobs, health, schools and businesses.

This week, WEC issued the report Access Denied: NJ Communities Remain in the Dark about Chemical Disasters, documenting how Governor Christie continues to violate federal law by blocking access to critical information needed by community members and workers to effectively plan for a chemical release. 

In the coming months, WEC will continue pushing for access to emergency response plans. However, we need your support to continue our work.

In order to make our budget goals, we need at least 5 new basic members and 10 sponsoring members before December 31. Please consider joining today

Wishing you and yours a healthy and happy holiday season,

Access Denied: NJ Communities Remain in the Dark about Chemical Hazards documents how Governor Chris Christie continues to fail in carrying out his legal responsibility under federal law for ensuring that the public has access to an up-to-date Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in each of New Jersey’s counties and municipalities in the event of a chemical plant fire, explosion, or other toxic emergency. The Governor’s State Emergency Response Commission is supposed to ensure public access to these plans. However, despite acknowledgment of the violation, they have not done so.

WEC wrote to the 59 municipalities and 19 counties that host the 95 most potentially hazardous facilities requesting to review the community ERPs as authorized by Emergency Planning and Community Response Act (EPCRA). Thirty-four municipalities (or 58%) and 16 counties (84%) denied the request, reflecting continued confusion about the federal law and an ongoing practice of the Christie administration to allow this clear violation of EPCRA.

Read the full report and press release.

2016 WEC Member Meeting Recap

Thanks to everyone that attended the 2016 WEC Member Meeting.
To see the slides of our panel presenters, please click here. 

Bad Book Deal Defeated

WEC was glad to see both the book deal and newspaper legal notice bills pulled from consideration on the last day of the legislative session. These bills were bad public policy, setting a negative precedent regarding ethics rules, and potentially creating right to know issues by limiting transparency and public oversight.

Dan Fatton co-authored an op-ed with Louis Di Paolo, legislative director for the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, entitled "No minimum wage hike for workers, but Christie gets a book deal?" which was printed in The Star Ledger on December 17: 

"As it is, this push from the governor is just the tip of a big iceberg. A visible example of a deeply rooted and sinister problem: the role of powerful, greedy, moneyed interests in New Jersey politics and the corruption, inefficiency and economic devastation it brings with it."
Need a speaker for an upcoming event, meeting, or training conference on workplace, environmental, or school safety issues? WEC staff would love to help. Contact Cecelia Gilligan Leto for more information.
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As a reminder, individuals and organizations can join WEC and you may pay for your membership online.

If you aren't yet a member, please join today!
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Keep generators outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Copyright © 2016 NJ Work Environment Council, All rights reserved.

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