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The original item was published from 4/22/2020 4:08:01 PM to 5/1/2020 12:00:04 AM.

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Posted on: April 22, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Happy Earth Day from NJDEP

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Happy Earth Day! Today marks the 50 Anniversary of Earth Day, the international celebration that launched the modern environmental movement and the 50th Birthday of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

The first Earth Day, which was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin, was celebrated by some 20 million Americans on 2,000 college campuses, at 10,000 primary and secondary schools, and in hundreds of communities across the country. In New Jersey, then Governor William Cahill created the NJDEP, making New Jersey the third state in the country to combine environmental activities into a single, unified agency. Since then, New Jersey has been on the cutting edge of environmental protection, developing programs, setting standards, and creating regulations to ensure that you have clean air, water, and communities without contamination.

Some of the Department’s many milestones include: being the first state to enact a mandatory recycling law; passage of the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act; being an original member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative; leading the way in scientific research, such as establishing maximum contaminant levels for PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals in drinking water; preserving more than 700,000 acres of land through our Green Acres Program; and holding polluters accountable for contaminating our communities through our strong enforcement programs.

While we are unable to celebrate these accomplishments with all of you as we had planned, we hope that you are able to recount the day with actions in and around your homes. Some opportunities for a Virtual Celebration can be found in the attached and on the DEP 50 website.

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