Thursday, May 21, 2015

To no one’s surprise, the Pinelands pipeline is back in play



The much debated and twice-rejected South Jersey Gas proposal to build a natural gas pipeline through the Pinelands is back in the news.


As before, South Jersey Gas is seeking to construct the pipeline so that the coal-dependent B.L.England power plant can convert to natural-gas fueled turbines that will generate cleaner energy and avoid an environmental regulation shutdown.


“This project is being built primarily to benefit the Pinelands,” says South Jersey Gas's VP Bob Fatzinger with a straight face. (See the video).

Liar, liar pants on fire is basically the response from the Sierra Club's Jeff Tittel and Pinelands Alliance's Jaclyn Rhoads.

There is no surprise that the proposal is being revived. The company and its political backers, including Governor Chris Christie, his Department of Environmental Protection, and local state Senator Jeff Van Drew, who has close ties to local utility workers, all pushed mightily to get Bob Barr appointed as a new member on the Pinelands Commission so he could provide the crucial 'yes' vote to break a 7-7 deadlock.

The only plot twist so far this round is that Barr proclaims that he will not play a rubber stamp role. Perhaps for that reason, pipeline advocates now are taking the position that a vote of the commission is not necessary. The Pinelands plan, they contend, already allows for approval since the pipeline will run along existing roadways, will not impact forests, and won't require the filling of wetlands.


In the video above, NJTV News’ Brenda Flanagan introduces the latest sequel in this multi-season, eco-drama. Feel free to supply your own fuel in the comment box below.
    


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Environmental attorney sounds off on smelly stormwater



"Rather quietly, there's a major storm brewing over stormwater -- how to regulate it, who does the regulating and on what criteria" 


potter
R. William Potter - Amanda Brown photo
Writing in NJ Spotlight today,veteran New Jersey environmental attorney R. William Potter of the Princeton-based law firm Potter and Dickson, provides his opinion on why stormwater runoff continues to add to New Jersey's highly polluted waterways and how the challenge of correcting the problem falls primarily to local zoning boards, followed by the courts and the state Department of Environmental Protection. Credit: Amanda Brown

If that description sounds too dry, the title of Mr. Potter's essay might activate your attention: If it looks and smells like sewage, it  could be stormwater.    

Speaking of opinions, yours may differ. If you are a land-use attorney or other expert with another point of view, we would consider your submission as an Op-Ed. Send to: Editor@EnviroPolitics.com with information on who you are and who you represent on the issue.



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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Will Rutgers research torment dolphins?



On its blog today, Clean Ocean Action writes:

As soon as June 1st, Rutgers University intends to begin a seismic study approximately 15 miles off of the coast of Long Beach Island, New Jersey. The study has been approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which has permitted the “takings” of 18,457 marine mammals— 26 times more mammals than originally proposed — during the 30-day research period so long as these incidents are classified as “Level B Harassment” under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. However, there is no scientific way to observe and assess all of the physical and physiological damage done to the populations of marine mammals to ensure that these damages do not surpass Level B Harassment into Level A Harassment.

The organization is urging its friends to call on Rutgers President Robert Barchi to cancel the study. What do you think? Let us know in the comment box below.


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New recycling system for old paint passes NJ Senate

Legislation designed to keep out of landfills those partially full cans of latex and oil paint piling up in your basement or garage, passed the New Jersey Senate yesterday on a 27-6 vote and now heads to the Assembly Commerce Committee. 

S-1420, sponsored by Senator Jim Beach (D-Burlington/Camden) is modeled on legislation developed by the paint industry as a proactive solution to the potential problem of improperly discarded paint seeping through the ground into water supplies. 

To avoid this, PaintCare, a nonprofit creation of the paint industry's D.C.-based American Coatings Association, has created a program, already operating in eight states, that provides free collection of the old paint from dealers and public recycling programs. The paint can be recycled into new paint, or other products such as non-structural concrete, asphalt and even landscaping stones.

The legislation is supported by a number of New Jersey environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, the New Jersey Association of Household Hazardous Waste Coordinators and the Association of New Jersey Recyclers (ANJR). 

Disclosure: Our sister company, Brill Public Affairs, provides consulting services to ANJR.,

The bill is opposed by the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association.  

Related news story
Paint recycling bill gets NJ Senate approval


Monday, May 18, 2015

Cindy Dunn nomination to lead PA-DCNR advances

Cindy Adams Dunn - Frank Brill photo
Despite some legislators' concerns about positions she took as CEO of the environmental organization, PennFuture, the nomination of acting Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn to head the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources was approved on Wednesday by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy committee.
Ms. Dunn said she will use her independent judgment in her new role and be responsive to the interests of all citizens.

Her nomination still must be considered by the full Senate.
Watch our video interview with Ms. Dunn when she was at PennFuture.
Read coverage of the nomination hearing by the Post-Gazette and PA Environment Digest 

Read Wallace McKelvey’s Patriot News interview with Dunn on fracking in state forests

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

NJ ag, energy, environment bills posted for votes - May 14

A total of eleven agriculture, energy and environment bills will be up for votes in a committee and on the Assembly floor in Trenton on Thursday, May 14, 2015.


Here's the lineup:


SENATE ECONOMIC GROWTH - 10:30 AM
Committee Room 1, 1st Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

A-1294  Dancer, R.S. (R-12); Space, P. (R-24); Andrzejczak, B. (D-1)
Extends Right to Farm Act protections to commercial beekeepers, with some restrictions.  Related Bill: S-1328

A-1295  Dancer, R.S. (R-12); Space, P. (R-24); Andrzejczak, B. (D-1)
Establishes exclusive State regulatory authority over apiary activities and allows for delegation of monitoring and enforcement authority to municipalities.
Related Bill: S-1975
    
A-1296  Dancer, R.S. (R-12); Space, P. (R-24); Caride, M. (D-36)
Establishes penalty for destruction of man-made native bee hive.
    
S-1328  Van Drew, J. (D-1); Oroho, S.V. (R-24)
Extends Right to Farm Act protections to commercial beekeepers, with some restrictions. Related Bill: A-1294

S-1975  Van Drew, J. (D-1); Oroho, S.V. (R-24)
Establishes exclusive State regulatory authority over apiary activities and allows for delegation of monitoring and enforcement authority to municipalities.
Related Bill: A-1295

S-2302  Van Drew, J. (D-1)
Establishes penalty for destruction of man-made native bee hive.
Related Bill: A-1296
 _______________________________________________________________

ASSEMBLY VOTING SESSION - 1 PM

A-3169  Greenwald, L.D. (D-6); Vainieri Huttle, V. (D-37); Webber, J. (R-26)
Requires DEP to submit annual financial report on status of certain fund balances.

A-3849  DeAngelo, W.P. (D-14); Eustace, T. (D-38); Mazzeo, V. (D-2)
Requires BPU to provide consumer information on third-party electric power and gas supplier pricing and services.  Related Bill: S-2466
    
 A-3850  DeAngelo, W.P. (D-14); Eustace, T. (D-38); Mazzeo, V. (D-2)
Requires BPU to establish procedures allowing electric power and gas supplier customers to switch energy suppliers.  Related Bill: S-2467
     
A-3851  DeAngelo, W.P. (D-14); Eustace, T. (D-38); Mazzeo, V. (D-2)
Imposes contract standards between customers and third-party electric power and gas suppliers.  Related Bill: S-2468
     
A-4258  Eustace, T. (D-38); Mazzeo, V. (D-2)
Clarifies liability for discharges of hazardous substances from drilling platforms that enter NJ waters.   Related Bill: S-2172
   
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Monday, May 11, 2015

Tonawanda Coke to pay $12M in NY pollution settlement

Under a $12 million settlement with the United States and the state of New York, Tonawanda Coke Corporation will pay $2.75 million in civil penalties, spend approximately $7.9 million to reduce air pollution and enhance air and water quality, and spend an additional $1.3 million for environmental projects in the area of Tonawanda, NY. 

The agreement was announced jointly by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck, U.S. Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Commissioner Joseph Martens and New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.


According to EPA's news release:

"Under the consent decree lodged today in federal court in the Western District of New York, Tonawanda Coke must improve its processes, operations and monitoring for coke oven gas leaks, assess key equipment, repair or replace equipment, install new pollution controls, and take many additional measures under a prescribed schedule.  This work, estimated to cost approximately $7.9 million, will secure significant reductions of benzene, ammonia and particulate matter emissions from the plant, improving air quality in Tonawanda and protecting public health. Benzene is a carcinogen.

"The settlement also requires Tonawanda Coke to pay a $1.75 million civil penalty to the United States to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act, and pay a $1 million civil penalty to the State of New York, which is a co-plaintiff with the United States.  In addition to the state penalty, Tonawanda Coke will pay another $1 million to fund projects that will benefit the environment and the residents of Tonawanda.  

"Additionally, $357,000 will be provided to Ducks Unlimited, a not for profit organization, to acquire and preserve wetlands. In addition to protecting and enhancing water quality, wetlands reduce flooding, filter pollutants, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife."


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How did Delaware's rivers and ponds get so polluted?



Over the past century, Delaware's industrial and agricultural past, poor wastewater management, as well as lax regulation over storm water runoff all had a hand in dirtying Delaware's waterways.


Today, except for the beaches, nearly all of Delaware's waterways are polluted.


WHYY is undertaking a two-year project to report on how the state's rivers, ponds and streams.
The first report with Shirley Min is an assessment of Delaware's water health.

If the video above fails to appear, you can open it here 


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NJ ag, energy, environment bills posted for votes - May 11
Only in New Jersey political ads–‘The Shady Bunch’ 
 
NJ Gov. Christie's latest nominations and appointments 
Trenton today: Two wind energy bills held, one moved
'Rent The Chicken'– One eggstraordinary business 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

NJ ag, energy, environment bills posted for votes - May 11

Fifteen agriculture, energy and environment  bills will be considered in two committees meeting in Trenton on Monday, May 11, 2015.
Here's the lineup:


SENATE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY

5/11/15 10 AM
Committee Room 10, 3rd Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ
SCR-163 (Smith, B) (pending intro and referral) - Amends Constitution to dedicate all State moneys received from settlements and awards in cases of environmental contamination for certain environmental purposes.

S-2690  Greenstein, L.R. (D-14); Bateman, C. (R-16)
Allows certain on-site generation facilities to deliver electricity without utilizing electric public utility infrastructure.
    
S-2691  Greenstein, L.R. (D-14); Bateman, C. (R-16)
Establishes microgrid pilot program.
  
S-2782  Turner, S.K. (D-15)
Requires New Jersey Turnpike Authority and South Jersey Transportation Authority to provide natural gas refueling, propane refueling, and electric vehicle recharging stations at certain rest areas on New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and Atlantic
Related Bill: A-1728
      
SCR-159  Whelan, J. (D-2)
Urges President and Congress to reinstate and extend production tax credit for wind energy.
Related Bill: ACR-143

SCR-163  Smith, B. (D-17)
Amends Constitution to dedicate all State moneys received from settlements and awards in cases of environmental contamination for certain environmental purposes.
Related Bill: ACR-230
     
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


ASSEMBLY AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
5/11/15 - 2 PM
Committee Room 15, 4th Floor, State House Annex, New Jersey
Continuation: A-4382 Establishes "Jersey Frozen Foods Program"; A-4383 Requires issue of "Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program" food vouchers in multiple monetary denominations and establishes pilot voucher program for community supported agriculture;

A-3944  Garcia, C.G. (D-33); McKeon, J.F. (D-27); Auth, R. (R-39); Eustace, T. (D-38)
Allows cultivation of commercial shellfish species in certain coastal and inner harbor waters for research and educational purposes.
Related Bill: S-2617
      
A-4055  Dancer, R.S. (R-12)
Prohibits NJ State Forest Nursery from undercutting private nurseries by selling forestation stock below average market price.
     
A-4376  Burzichelli, J.J. (D-3)
Clarifies definition of agricultural deed restriction.
     
A-4377  Mazzeo, V. (D-2); Burzichelli, J.J. (D-3)
Directs State Board of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture to develop and adopt certain terms and standards concerning local agricultural and horticultural products.
      
A-4378  Singleton, T. (D-7); Burzichelli, J.J. (D-3)
Allows collection of seeds from wild native plants.
       
A-4379  Mazzeo, V. (D-2); Burzichelli, J.J. (D-3)
Directs DOH to issue guidance concerning food safety at farmers markets.
      
A-4380  Andrzejczak, B. (D-1)
Establishes multi-species depredation permit.
      
A-4381  Taliaferro, A.J. (D-3); Mazzeo, V. (D-2)
Establishes "Jersey Canned Goods Program."
      
A-4382  Taliaferro, A.J. (D-3); Mazzeo, V. (D-2)
Establishes "Jersey Frozen Foods Program."
   
A-4383  Mazzeo, V. (D-2); Taliaferro, A.J. (D-3)
Requires issuance of food vouchers in "Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program" in multiple monetary denominations; establishes pilot program to allow Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program participants to obtain shares of farm products from community


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Friday, May 8, 2015

Only in New Jersey political ads–‘The Shady Bunch’

Politics in NJ's Hudson County can get downright nasty--and funny at the same time.

Witness this new ad from the incumbent North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco who is fighting a re-election challenge from Larry Wainstein.



For more on Sacco vs. Wainstein, check out: Briana Vannozzi's NJTV story and video


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