America Loses Environmental Champion, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, at 89

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Environment America

Washington, D.C. – Longtime New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg died early this morning of viral pneumonia at age 89. Margie Alt, executive director for Environment America, issued the following statement:

“Frank Lautenberg was a relentless and stalwart protector of public health and the environment. We deeply mourn his passing.

“Since the people of New Jersey elected him in 1982, Sen. Lautenberg led the charge on many environmental priorities, including passing the Toxic Right to Know Act, which reinstated stronger requirements for the reporting of toxic chemical releases; and cosponsoring and eventually helping to pass new fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. A staunch protector of our beaches from oil drilling, Sen. Lautenberg also wrote and passed the BEACH Act, which improved water quality monitoring standards and better informed the public about the conditions of their beaches.

“His final days in the Senate were marked by extended absences due to his illness, but he returned in a wheelchair last month to cast a key vote to expedite Senate approval of Gina McCarthy, the president’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. He recognized the importance of getting the agency back to work with someone like Gina at the helm.

“We hope to honor Frank Lautenberg’s legacy by continuing the fight to protect our air, water and land for generations to come.”