DEP Issues Progress Report on New Jersey Sustainability
State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn today released
the first report measuring the progress that has been made since the adoption
of 11 sustainability goals outlined in the 1999 report, "Living with
the Future in Mind."
The new report, "Living with the Future in Mind: 2000," summarizes
New Jersey's headway in achieving those 11 goals. It also strengthens
the 41 indicators used to measure progress. The original report was prepared
by New Jersey Future, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization working for
sustainable development in the state.
"In 1999, New Jersey Future provided a blueprint of what a Sustainable
State should look like. It laid out the environmental, economic and social
qualities toward which we must strive so that New Jersey will continue
to improve the quality of life in New Jersey," said Shinn. "I'm heartened
by the many positive trends in this status report, but there is still
much work ahead. Accordingly, the involved agencies have begun to take
the next step of developing and implementing statewide strategies to advance
sustainability in New Jersey."
Order 96, signed by then-Governor Whitman in May 1999, required the
state departments and agencies to report annually on New Jersey's progress
in reaching the sustainability goals. The goals pertain to Economic Vitality;
Equity; Strong Community, Culture and Recreation; Quality Education; Good
Government; Decent Housing; Healthy People; Efficient Transportation and
Land Use; Natural and Ecological Integrity; Protected Natural Resources;
and Minimal Pollution and Waste.
Among the positive trends noted in the report were increases in the state's
average per capita income, rising productivity, the high rate of open
space acquisition, and decreases in many infectious diseases.
All departments of the Executive Branch and many independent commissions
and agencies, as well as New Jersey Future, contributed to the development
of the 2000 status report. The update was compiled by the Interagency
Sustainability Working Group under the direction of Commissioner Shinn.
The working group is now developing a companion report, Governing with
the Future in Mind, that outlines the strategic initiatives that state
government is pursuing to promote sustainability. The report is expected
to be completed in the spring.
"This updated report builds upon the strong foundation provided by the
original document and incorporates several improvements, including more
current data, simplified language, and specific targets for indicators.
It also begins to outline some of the key strategies - including the State
Development and Redevelopment Plan, the Greenhouse Gas/Sustainability
Action Plan and fundamental reforms in public education - that we are
using to attain our sustainability goals," said Shinn. "The significant
effort of the interagency working group and the report's many other contributors
is greatly appreciated. This is only the beginning of the high level of
interagency cooperation required to make sustainability a reality. The
ultimate result is expected to be a better future and a better quality
of life for all New Jerseyans."
John J. Degnan, chair of New Jersey Future, noted that four years of
extensive public participation helped shape the state's goals for a more
"On behalf of all the stakeholders in this process, I am pleased to see
the state taking steps to advance progress toward these goals. We need
to ensure continued public input into the creation of new and better targets,
as well as strategies to move New Jersey towards a sustainable state,"
Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Jane Kenny underscored the
relationship between the sustainability goals and the state Development
and Redevelopment Plan, noting, "Sustainability emphasizes a primary tenet
of the state plan: that we need to make a concerted effort to understand
that our society, our environment and our economy are all interrelated.
With that understanding, state agencies must refocus and redirect their
efforts so that we further support a Sustainable New Jersey."
"New Jersey has not only shown national leadership in promoting sustainability,
but we're ensuring that this commitment becomes an integral part of the
day-to-day activities of state government," said State Transportation
Commissioner James Weinstein in voicing his support for the principles
of sustainability. "DOT is committed to playing a vital role in achieving
success in a number of the goals in this report, including making our
transportation system more efficient and reducing emissions of transportation-related
"A clean environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand," said Commerce
Secretary Charles E. (Sandy) Hance. "The New Jersey Commerce & Economic
Growth Commission is committed to promoting sustainable business practices
throughout our state. Planning for the future is a key strategy for success.
This initiative is essential for New Jersey to remain a premier business
location and a leading tourism destination."
"Living with the Future in Mind: 2000" will soon be on the Department
of Environmental Protection website at www.state.nj.us/dep/.
A limited number of copies are available. The report also is being distributed
to libraries around the state.