Toward a Sustainable East Amwell
Hotter summers, milder winters, storms on steroids – it’s no longer debatable that we humans are causing global warming. What to do about it? We can’t wait for a federal program to save the world. Every community needs to take its own meaningful and realistic steps toward a cleaner, more sustainable future. Democrats Tom Jarick and Philippe Marchal are committed to do that in East Amwell.
Under previous Democratic leadership, East Amwell took numerous steps toward sustainability. In 2010, two grants covered, at no cost to Township taxpayers, installation of energy-saving lighting, heating, and air conditioning in the municipal building. Our 35-year-old farmland preservation program prevented suburban sprawl and the pollution and congestion it would have brought.
Now, it’s time to do more, and that requires forward-thinking leadership. Here are three ways Tom and Philippe want to help East Amwell meet the challenge:
Preserve More Land from Development
As other parts of the country lose the ability to grow crops due to floods and droughts, East Amwell farms will play a key role in providing locally-grown produce. It is critical that we maintain and expand land preservation in agricultural areas and preserve our forests.
We need to reinvigorate the Environmental Commission/Green Team, sidelined by the Republicans. An active commission will qualify the Township for more grants, conduct environmental assessments of all zoning and planning applications, and update our Environmental Resources Inventory – an important tool for sustainable planning.
Invest in Clean, Renewable Energy
East Amwell should immediately install solar panels at the municipal building. A dramatic reduction in the cost of solar panels means that the time to repay their cost is reduced to about six years. After that, electricity will essentially be free for decades to come.
Electric vehicles (EV) are the future of transportation. East Amwell can move in that direction. When battery-powered vehicles become available for DPW uses, East Amwell should prioritize them over diesel or gasoline. We should aggressively pursue federal and state grants to install EV fast-charge stations at the municipal parking lot, a perfect location for highway travelers as well as residents.
Help Residents Conserve Energy
East Amwell should assist homeowners in obtaining information, loans, and grants for energy-conserving home improvements such as insulation, energy-saving windows and doors, and solar panel purchase and installation.
As stewards of our community, we owe it to ourselves and future generations to make sure East Amwell stays the great place to live that it is today. Sitting on the sidelines won’t accomplish anything. We need to make common-sense choices.