"Environmental injustice impairs the health, economic well-being and quality of life of the urban and diverse residents I represent and I will not sit still for that," said Payne, who is running for state Senate in district 29.
"New Jersey needs to be able to say no when folks are unfairly and disproportionately impacted and my legislation will do just that," added the candidate.
The legislation will give the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) power it currently lacks to consider cumulative and disproportionate impacts from diesel exhaust, toxic waste sites, garbage incinerators, and other sources of pollution when determining whether or not to approve certain environmental permits and development projects.
"The environmental injustices we have experienced in our communities have gone on for generations – making us sick, unable to learn and/or earn a living to our full potential. We have had enough. We cannot afford to sit in the back or ride out the injustices any longer," added Newark native Kim Gaddy, the N.J. Environmental Federation's (NJEF) environmental justice organizer.
Citing his leadership on this and many other urban and environmental issues, NJEF also used the occasion to announce its endorsement of Payne for state Senate.
"Bill Payne is just the kind of senator (that) Newark and Hillside residents need — a passionate, independent leader with a proven track record championing urban parks, environmental justice, and safe drinking water that will only get better in the Senate," said David Pringle, NJEF's campaign director.