Rally Held In Wayne To Protest Trump's Paris Climate Withdraw

Group of 'regulars' gather to discuss, protest assorted issues in front of Congressman Frelinghuysen's officex

The Record ( — June 7, 2017

By Jai Agnish , Staff Writer

WAYNE — About 30 people gathered at Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen's Wayne office Wednesday morning to bend the Republican's ear on a range of topics.

The environment was on the mind of many, who included members of the New Jersey Sierra Club, and NJ 11th for Change. They are opposed to President Donald Trump's intention to withdraw from the Paris agreement.

"We need Frelinghuysen to stand up to President Trump's dangerous plans to pull us out of the Paris climate agreement that will threaten the future of our planet," said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club in a news release leading up to the event. "By eliminating 1/3 of funding from the Environmental Protection Agency, he is going after environmental programs to protect our air, water, and help tackle climate change."

Last week, Trump announced the United States will begin withdrawal from the historic Paris Climate Accord. The 2015 pact, signed by 195 countries, seeks to fight global warming by preventing the Earth from heating up by 1.8 degrees between now and 2100 by limiting the amount of greenhouse gas levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb.

Groups of people took turns raising issues inside with a staffer for the congressman verbally and on paper. Anthony Pryer, a constituent case worker, listened to their concerns prior to moving them onto Frelinghuysen.

Wayne resident Susan Hendler was among those in one of the groups and she said Trump needs to be held in check by Republican leaders.

"When people are concerned about climate change or the lying that is going on in D.C., I don't see Republican voices saying 'our President can't do that.' Hendler said. "There's no push back."

A joint letter was submitted to the congressman by Tittel and members of the NJ Citizen Action, Clean Water Action, and Environment New Jersey. In it the group said Trump's actions are "dangerous for a state like New Jersey that is one of the most vulnerable to climate impacts."

By denying climate change, they said Trump is siding with fossil fuel industries over the best interests of the American people. The budget would end coastal resiliency funding, while increasing flooding, sea level rise, and storm surges, the letter states. Another Superstorm Sandy event is 17 times more likely to happen again, they write.

"He has moved forward with plans for offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, which would threaten our $38 billion coastal economy if there was a spill," the letter states. "We are concerned that these projects will also increase dirty air in our lungs and public health impacts."

The group requests that Frelinghuysen fight the budget cuts and works to stop offshore drilling, and demands the country takes immediate action on climate change.

They also want the congressman to sign on to a Republican resolution H. RES. 424 that expresses commitment to environmental stewardship and acknowledges the need to address climate change, they said. Additionally they urge him to join the Climate Solutions Caucus.

Bob Mulman, a Wayne resident, was among those visiting Frelinghuysen's office Wednesday. He said he is part of a group of regulars who make their way to the congressman's Wayne office every Wednesday and his Morristown office on Fridays.

"It's different issues every time," Mulman said. "It's whatever is on people's minds but it seems to be whatever the latest debacle is in Washington that inspires us."

Mulman said he supported most of the policies of former President Barack Obama's administration and he is outraged by what he described as Frelinghuysen's shift from "a moderate congressman" to "a strident conservative who is backing up a president who seems to be demolishing all the things that I hold near and dear."

"I want my congressman to stand up to the outrages that are taking place," he said. "If he isn't going to stand with the rest of the world in trying to protect the planet then we've got some big problems here."

Mulman also complained that Frelinghuysen won't meet face to face with his constituents. This was a sentiment repeated by another Wayne resident Wednesday, Richard Kushnier. Kushnier is an organizer for NJ 11th For Change.

When he went in to meet with the congressman's staffer he read a letter he had addressed to Frelinghuysen.

"It is disturbing that you have turned away from those of us who have assembled at your district offices and have respectfully requested the opportunity to meet with you," he said.

"Mr. Frelinghuysen has not had a town hall meeting," added Ellen Buttolph, of Verona. "He has not shown up at his offices. He's avoided his constituents and just doesn't want to listen to what we have to say or even tell us what he wants to do."

Other concerns that were raised had to do with health care, public school funding, and economic policies.

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