Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sounding the alarm on region’s crumbling infrastructure

Hudson river tunnel  construction in 1905
Hudson River tunnel construction in 1905 

Brenda Flanagan reports for NJTV NEWS:

“This is a national disgrace,” said former Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden exhorted the movers and shakers at the 27th annual Assembly of the Regional Plan Association to sound the alarm about crumbling infrastructure, especially the century old train tunnel under the Hudson River. Biden noted, this crowd needs to push the Gateway Project and replace that tunnel.

“Congress is now totally led by one party. They don’t like to spend money. I get it. But folks, they have to hear from you or nothing’s going to change,” he said.

Biden keynoted a day of panels that actually sounded multiple alarms: from trains to buses, rails to terminals, our mass transit’s old and broken and so are the agencies charged with operating and maintaining these systems. That’s why trains recently derailed twice at New York’s Penn Station and got stuck in the Hudson tunnel on Good Friday, said RPA Chair Scott Rechler.

“After years of paying more and more for less and less, are we surprised that the public has lost faith in government’s ability to get things done?” he asked.

Ralph Cramden busdriver
Ralph Kramden era bus
Rechler — who just stepped down from the Port Authority — criticized the bi-state agency as disorganized and dysfunctional. He claimed it’s so backward, the proposed new bus terminal’s designed for “Ralph Kramden era buses.”

He also said New Jersey Transit would do a better job running PATH trains and questioned whether the Port Authority even needs its own police force.

“Virtually no elected official in either state is accountable for the agency’s success or failure,” he said. “The current Port Authority structure will continue to fail to fully meet the demands of either state or the region, unless there is change.”

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

NJDEP hearing May 5 on proposed standard for PFNA

Kristina Scala Nasuti reports for the Burlington County Times
If the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection approves a proposed groundwater limit for perfluorononanoic acid, it would be the first time the state's environmental regulator has formally adopted a final groundwater standard for an unregulated chemical found in firefighting foam that has tainted several sites on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
Earlier this month, the department announced that its seeking public input for a recommendation that would permanently establish a level of 10 parts per trillion of perfluorononanoic acid, or PFNA, that is allowed in groundwater.
See our video interview with Kristina Scala Nasuti  and
Kyle Bagenstose  who are covering the developing story
of groundwater pollution at regional military bases--
pollution that threatens nearby public drinking water 
The proposed limit mimics an interim standard that was established by the department in 2015 to regulate how much of the chemical can exist in groundwater before it becomes hazardous to human health.
The DEP is also recommending that the chemical be placed on a list of hazardous substances under the Spill Act, which would require owners and operators of facilities that handle chemicals with PFNA to be responsible for discharge prevention and discharge control.
In its proposal, the department is also looking to amend the Groundwater Quality Standards to set interim standards for 23 chemical components found in groundwater.
Before a decision is made, the department has 60 days from the time the recommendation was posted on April 3 to collect and review public comments. They have another 30 days to adopt it.
A public hearing is set for Friday, May 5, from 10 a.m. to noon in the state's public hearing room on the first floor at 401 E. State St. in Trenton.
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How cool, A jet plane that needs no runway or fuel

Have you heard about vertical take off and landing jets?

Until now, they've been more theoretical than practical.
No longer.

A company in Bavaria has conducted successful flights of
its Lilium Jet.

It takes off straight up, like a helicopter. Then it hovers, then moves forward like any other plane. It also lands vertically, again like a helicopter. And it's electric. No pollution.

Stop reading. Click on the company's dramatic video above.
It's very cool. 

The Lilium is a beautiful aircraft that is guaranteed to shake things up.

Best of all, until they figure out how to get it to hold more than two people, there's little danger of airline enforcers dragging you out of your seat, claiming the fight is overbooked.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

March for Science - Earth Day - Philadelphia and Trenton

Plan to participate? Bring an umbrella
(showers possible but not before 2 )

Also arm yourself with the quick details
you'll find on our Enviro-Events Calendar 

Care to share your favorite event photos?
E-mail them to
Provide your name and appropriate details
We'll be sure to give you a photo credit

EP Podcast: #20 - Toxics in tap water of military neighbors

Episode #20 is the first of a two-part podcast in which we interview  Kyle Bagenstose and Kristina Nasuti, investigative reporters for the Bucks County Courier-Times and the Burlington County Times.

They are part of a team that has been researching and reporting on toxic groundwater pollution at military bases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that now threatens public drinking water supplies.

If you have a history with Air Force and Naval bases in Warminster and Horsham, Pa or Fort Dix, McGuire or Lakehurst in New Jersey, you should listen to this and the forthcoming episode.

Click to listen to Episode 20  

You can subscribe to our podcast for fee on:
iTunes (Podcast App on  your iPad, iPhone)

Stitcher (Android)
Player FM

and other popular podcast services.

It's easy to do and you'll never miss a future episode.

Hear all previous episodes 

Questions? Email: or 609-577-9017

Editorial : Swallow sewage at the Shore? Thank Trump

feet in water

While we spend zillions on security at Mar-a-Lago and shuttling Trump children around the world and leaving Melania's son in private school in Manhattan, the President is cutting money to check if we're all swimming in fecal swamps.
Yes, his budget would eliminate the funding that pays to test the water at our beaches every week for nasty bacteria. Namely, "enterococcus," the sign of fecal contamination - causing maladies from gastrointestinal illness to ugly rashes.
This is the result of raw sewage overflows that are the worst after heavy rain. Last summer, our beaches were either under advisory or closed 134 times for that reason,
the Asbury Park Press reports. It was the worst season in five years.
One week of testing found 19 beaches in Monmouth and Ocean counties had water teeming with so much bacteria, it wasn't safe to swim in.

Read the full Star-Ledger editorial

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Amidst dispute, NJDEP proposes forest stewardship rules

State agency hopes to preserve critical tracts of privately owned woodlands by requiring professional stewardship for program participants

Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:

The state is proposing broad new rules governing stewardship of privately owned forested land, a measure aimed at keeping more of New Jersey’s woodlands intact.
The program, mandated by a law passed in 2009, encourages the conservation of privately held land as forests, tracts viewed as critical to protecting water supplies, preserving critical habitat for wildlife, and providing recreational opportunities for residents.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is proposing the forest stewardship program at a time when there is an ongoing dispute over management of state-owned land and other forests and whether those activities are enhancing the natural resources there.

Read the full story

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Princess Cruises hit with big fine for waste dumping at sea

Caribbean Princess - Photo y Princess Cruise Lines LtdCruise line ordered to pay a record $40 million for illegal dumping of oil contaminated waste and falsifying records

Eric Haun reports for MarineLink:

Princess Cruise Lines Ltd. was sentenced to pay a $40 million penalty – the largest-ever for crimes involving deliberate vessel pollution – related to illegal dumping overboard of oil contaminated waste and falsification of official logs in order to conceal the discharges.

The sentence was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood for the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg for the Southern District of Florida in Miami.

The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz in Miami, who also ordered that $1 million be awarded to a British engineer, who first reported the illegal discharges to the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which in turn provided the evidence to the U.S. Coast Guard. The newly hired engineer on the Caribbean Princess reported that a so-called “magic pipe” had been used on August 23, 2013, to illegally discharge oily waste off the coast of England without the use of required pollution prevention equipment.

The evidence gathered by the whistleblower, including photographs of the magic pipe, led to an inspection of the cruise ship both in England and then when it reached New York on September 14, 2013. During each of the separate inspections certain crew members concealed the illegal activity by lying to the authorities in accordance with orders they had received from Caribbean Princess engineering officers.

Read the full story here

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American Lung Association: Hold your nose in New Jersey

Most New Jersey communities got an 'F' grade for air quality in a newly released American Lung Association report.

Tom David reports for Montclair Patch:

No matter where you go in New Jersey, you're probably breathing in bad air. And that includes the places that are far away from the smokestacks of Elisabeth and Linden.

That's the conclusion of a newly released American Lung Association report that says New Jersey has perhaps the worst air quality in the nation. Most of the state received an "F" grade for the air we breathe.

Indeed, 11 of the 21 counties in New Jersey got an “F” rating when it comes to ground-level ozone pollution, according to the report. The New York-Newark area and the Philadelphia area were also listed among the 25 most polluted cities.

Efforts to get comment from the state Department of Environmental Protection were not immediately successful.

Read the full story and learn what grade your county received

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What happens if NJ Transit stops paying Amtrak?

Larry Higgs reports for

NJ Transit pays Amtrak $93 million a year so that more than 400 of its trains can use the Northeast Corridor, but Gov. Chris Christie wants to stop making the lease payment until he gets answers to maintenance questions after an April 3 derailment in Penn Station.
Christie wants NJ Transit inspectors to look at the tracks with federal and Amtrak officials and to have a voice in any procedural changes. That's after Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman said the derailment was caused by a bad wooden tie that officials knew needed replacement, but didn't consider an immediate problem.
Both sides are still talking. But, if the governor decides to stop writing the checks, can Amtrak cut-off NJ Transit? Here are five things to know.
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