Quote of the Day comes from last night’s APP coverage of Gov. Christie’s decision to let slide a bill to fund the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund. That adds New Jersey in with Michigan as states with Republican governors comfortable letting mostly little black and brown poor kids continue to get exposed to a toxin that affects children’s brain development, which can stunt their ability to think well, shorten attention spans, and so alter personality that young children can become antisocial. Yesterday in his State of the State message, Michigan governor Rick Snyder “apologized” to the people of Flint and promised to “fix” the problem. But those are empty and self-serving words. The damage has already happened, as it is happening right now to some kids in New Jersey. Flint kids were exposed to lead because the state of Michigan was trying to save some bucks, and Snyder ignored local doctors, scientists and officials who showed the state evidence of rashes, hair loss, and alarming levels of lead in Flint toddlers. Sound familiar?
Here in New Jersey, our own detached and self-serving governor really screwed this up. We had a structure – an existing program – to fund lead abatement. It didn’t cost much money. But Christie – and governors before him too – have taken money out of this program to make the budget numbers crunch right. For years. Doug O’Malley of Environment New Jersey wrote about the accumulated effect of budget raids last year here at Blue Jersey, calling the raid on the lead abatement fund ‘the epitome of environmental injustice’. After Christie pocket vetoed S1279. this is what our friend Phyllis Salowe Kaye said.
“Last year more than 3,100 of New Jersey’s children, primarily in low-income and minority communities, were poisoned by lead. And yet, every single year of his administration, Gov. Christie has raided the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund in order to balance the budget.”
– Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, New Jersey Citizen Action
You’d think Christie would learn something from watching Snyder on the hot seat. But maybe he’s counting on his own environmental injustice never making the national news.