Congressman Pascrell has spent 16 years in Congress fighting for the protection and preservation of our air, land, and water, in order to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all Americans. He believes that we must take back our finite natural resources from polluting industries that favor the bottom line over the public's interest in a clean and healthy environment, and has taken an active role in advancing legislation that achieves this goal.
As such, he was proud to fight for key energy provisions in the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," stimulus legislation signed into law by President Obama. To put people back to work today and reduce our dependence on polluting fossil fuels, this legislation increases renewable energy production and renovates public buildings to make them more energy efficient. It also provided funding to improve the energy efficiency of more than 1 million modest-income homes through weatherization, saving low and middle class families money and lowering our emissions of greenhouse gases.
In addition, this stimulus legislation provides $19 billion for clean water, flood control, and environmental restoration investments, which will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Bill was a member of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment for ten years, and has long advocated for these investments in clean water infrastructure.
But this is not enough. Much of the stimulus' water infrastructure funding is in loans, and communities simply can't afford to pay back loans in these tough economic times. Because of this, Bill has worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to craft legislation that authorizes grant funding for municipalities to upgrade clean water infrastructure, to protect the public health from dangerous pollution and create badly needed jobs. Congressman Pascrell's "Water Quality Investment Act", HR 895, was introduced in 2009 to ensure that our cities and towns have the funds they need to repair aging sewer systems that overflow during wet weather events. This critical legislation was passed in the House of Representatives during the 111th Congress.
He also continues to fight every day for tough clean water standards and the federal dollars to help states meet their commitments. He works hand in hand with the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA, steering dollars to important flood control and mitigation projects such as the Peckman River, while ensuring the protection of our natural habitats.
Bill has made it a priority to ensure the cleanup of polluted and contaminated sites that are the legacy of industrialization throughout the 8th Congressional District. Bill has worked to secure federal support to aid in the removal of thorium in Wayne, radium in West Orange, Montclair and Glen Ridge, and abandoned chemical facilities in Clifton. Bill is dedicated to the full and complete cleanup of the contaminated lower 17 miles of the Passaic River, and continues to hold polluters accountable for the cleanup and mitigation of environmental contamination in residential Pompton Lakes.
A lifelong resident of Paterson, Bill has dedicated himself to bringing much deserved recognition and resources to the Great Falls Historic District in Paterson, where Alexander Hamilton famously implemented his vision of an economically-secure America. In a fruitful partnership with community leaders, Bill has made important strides towards one day realizing the vision of the Great Falls as both a tourist destination and a refuge for local residents, most recently passing legislation to create a National Historical Park at the site.
Bill is one of the most stalwart supporters of environmental conservation in the United States Congress. He will work every day to promote policies that ensure that we give the next generation an environment as breathtaking as the one we have received.