By GABRIELLA DRAGONE
PATERSON, NJ – Paterson officials joined President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) Joseph Fiordaliso, on Friday to celebrate Earth Day with a funding announcement for electric vehicles and a flag raising ceremony.
Paterson has taken a major step in its sustainable initiatives, including with an investment in 35 electric vehicles for various departments that include Fire, Police, Health and Economic Development, and has plans to purchase electric fire trucks and ambulances in the future.
“The theme for this year’s Earth Day is ‘Invest in our planet’,” Mayor Andre Sayegh said. “Paterson is not just talking about investment, we’re actually making the actual investment. We have electric vehicles that will help us protect our environment and also save our city some money.”
“These vehicles will be traveling around the city, keeping us safe, and are also going to contribute to the reduction of carbon footprint in the city,” Fire Chief Brian McDermott said. “We are going to be putting electric charging stations throughout the city as well. We’re also getting $6,000 per vehicle, which is $210,000 that is being reimbursed to the City.”
Earlier this year, Paterson was awarded a Sustainable Jersey Certification for its various efforts to become a greener city.
“I am so happy to be here in the Silk City where Alexander Hamilton saw the promise of Paterson to help build the industrial foundation of our nation here once he saw the Great Falls,” Fiordaliso said. “We [the NJBPU) are happy to be able to help support the City of Paterson in its pursuit of a cleaner environment.”
40% of carbon emissions come from transportation, Fiordaliso noted.
Also in attendance was the EPA Regional Administrator Lisa Garcia alongside community organizations including the Paterson Green Team, Clean Communities and Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey.
“It’s an honor to be here as we celebrate Earth Day and celebrate the commitment of Paterson partners to build a healthier and more sustainable future,” Garcia said. “Our world was dramatically different in 1970 when a movement to protect our people and our planet emerged, basically setting us on a court forced to make sweeping environmental changes, and now it’s been 52 years. We believe that every child and adult should be able to enjoy the outdoors and all its benefits once again of clean air.”
On Saturday, the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey will be hosting a clean-up at Commons Philip Park, on Oxford and North 8th Street at 9:00 a.m. where there will also be Earth Day activities until 12:00 p.m. Fabian Theater will then be hosting a special showing of The Lorax at 1:00 p.m.