Tens of Thousands of Frelinghuysen Constituents: Where’s Rodney? Stop Trump's Devastating Clean Water and Clean Energy Budget Cuts
Morristown, NJ -- Constituents of US Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ Congressional District 11) and representatives of 31 environmental, community and labor groups with tens of thousands of members in his district rallied outside the Congressman's office today to demand he stand up against the Trump Administration’s attack on the environment especially the massive cuts proposed by Trump to the EPA and clean energy programs.
The action comes after the Congressman ignored the group's June 9th letter, which requested a meeting and explained how the proposed cuts to critical environmental, energy and public health programs will be particularly devastating to New Jersey and CD 11. BluewaveNj has collected more than 35,000 signatures on a petition demanding the Congressman not to allow the defunding of the EPA. Frelinghuysen is the Chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
“Frelinghuysen has not responded to our request for a meeting, despite our follow up” said John Reichman, co-chair of BlueWaveNJ’s Environmental Committee and Montclair resident / CD 11 constituent. “This is part of his pattern of ignoring his constituents and their concerns and putting the demands of his party before the interests of his district. Frelinghuysen has not held a town hall meeting for 4 years.”
As outlined in the letter and petition, the cuts will roll back 47 years of progress in protecting the environment. New Jersey will be especially hard hit because roughly 30% ($190+ million) of funding for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection comes from federal sources, and the environment is one of the few areas where New Jersey gets a fairer share of federal resources.
“Protecting EPA's budget is just simply the right thing to do for New Jersey. It's unbelievable that the Congressman has not only failed to speak out strongly against these cuts, but also continues to ignore his responsibility to listen to his constituents. He has shown active hostility to an agency that promotes energy efficiency and renewables, which are crucial for growing our economy. We cannot understand Frelinghuysen's insistence on being a representative when he clearly has no interest in representing the people,” said Clean Water Action's Alyssa Bradley, a Morristown resident and CD11 constituent.
"As an aspiring Eagle Scout, I grew up immersed in the environment. But I also grew up suffering from asthma and living close to Superfund sites. Clearly, that's why we have the EPA -- to protect our public health and our land and water," said Dan Tewes, a Jefferson native and current West Orange resident who is a long-time Environment New Jersey field manager. "Congressman Frelinghuysen says he supports environmental protection, but he hasn't said whether he will fully stand up to the draconian Trump EPA budget. It's time for him to put our environment first."
In the absence of the Congressman, the group's brought along a cardboard cut-out of the Congressman to provide the opportunity for people to tell him what they think of his environmental record and failure to stand up to Trump.
“We are here in front of Frelinghuysen’s office voicing our concerns to a cardboard Rodney because he won’t answer our letter or even meet with us. While we are faced with serious problems such as cleaning up toxic sites, climate change and contaminated drinking water, Frelinghuysen supports Trump rolling back environmental protections. We are coming together because Frelinghuysen must stop Trump’s dangerous environmental agenda and cutting 1/3 of the EPA budget,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “He would rather protect polluters and special interests than the people in his district.”
"Congressman Frelinghuysen is trying to have it both ways on the environment -- he wants to appeal to Trump conservatives and to play up his supposed green credentials," said Doug O'Malley, Environment New Jersey's director. "But there's nothing green about the largest budget cuts in EPA history that will decimate the programs -- like Superfund -- that he says he supports. Congressman Frelinghuysen won't meet with us, but he can't ignore his constituents who are waiting for him to commit to fully oppose the proposed EPA budget cuts."
“For years Representative Frelinghuysen has tried to get away with talking about protecting the environment, the climate, clean air and water in New Jersey while voting repeatedly to remove protections and defund crucial programs. We have no more time for games. It’s time to see if he will and can defend our interests over his big business donors and the extremes of his party,” said Montclair resident and CD 11 constituent Elizabeth Juviler, a co-founder of District 11 for Change.
“We will make our position known to Frelinghuysen even if he won’t meet with us," concluded Reichman. “The proposed cuts target program after program that protect the health, safety and well-being of all Americans. That may sit well with Trump and Ryan, but are contrary to the wishes and best interests of the district. One way or another we'll make sure Rodney gets the word.”