Thursday, May 25, 2017

New CDC report: Some in Bucks, Montgomery, Pa., near military bases, exposed to PFCs well over safe level


Kyle Bagenstose reports for the Bucks County Courier Times:
Local residents affected by water contamination from area military bases were exposed to unregulated chemicals at as much as 15 times the recommended safety limit before contaminated wells were taken off line over the past several years.
That’s according to a draft report released Wednesday by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings were included in a small section of a much larger report released by the ATSDR to a community panel in Pease, New Hampshire.
As in Bucks and Montgomery counties, Pease residents are dealing with the fallout of learning that the chemicals PFOS and PFOA contaminated local water supplies after being used in firefighting foams at area military bases for decades. Pease residents have organized a community action group — “Testing for Pease” — to demand action from regulators and the federal government. No such group exists locally, however.
The highest estimated contamination was in the central part of the Warminster system, near the former Naval Air Warfare Center. Four public wells were located in the vicinity, leading the ATSDR to conclude that some residents in the central part of the water system “received water containing concentrations at level up to 15 times (the EPA’s limit)."
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Kooper elected chair of NJ Bar Assn's public utility section

Middlesex Water Company's Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Jay L. Kooper, has been elected as Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Public Utility Law Section for the section’s 2017-2018 programming year.

The Public Utility Law Section, the legal organization for New Jersey’s public utilities attorney community, hosts monthly meetings and special programming throughout the year bringing together practitioners from both the private sector and state agencies including the Board of Public Utilities and the Division of Rate Counsel.

Jay L. Kooper, General Counsel of Middlesex Water Company
Jay L. Kooper 


Kooper was appointed Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of Middlesex Water Company in March 2014, and currently serves as the Secretary of the National Association of Water Companies’ New Jersey Chapter and on multiple committees for the National Association of Water Companies and the New Jersey Utilities Association.

He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Temple B’Nai Abraham in Livingston, New Jersey, where he resides with his wife Jessica and sons Jordan and Ethan. 
In 2016, Kooper was honored as a finalist for the New York Stock Exchange Corporate Governance and Leadership Awards’ Distinguished General Counsel of the Year and the NJBIZ General Counsel of the Year in the Public Company Category.
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PSEG to NJ: Encourage investment in energy-saving tech

Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:

Izzo’s message: there are ‘billions’ to be made from energy efficiency, while industry and regulators squabble ‘over tens of millions’

izzo profile
Ralph Izzo, chairman, president and CEO
of PSEG
New Jersey’s most prominent energy executive yesterday called for the state to revamp its regulatory system to make it easier for homeowners to use less energy and to have more access to energy-saving technologies — both with the support of and profit to utilities.
Ralph Izzo, the president and chief executive of Public Service Enterprise Group, mostly veered off from touting the benefits of nuclear power, a recurring preoccupation of the company in recent months, in a speech to the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey in Mount Laurel.
Instead, he called for broad changes to the utility business model that would let companies like PSEG shift investments away from big-ticket items like power plants to technology to help customers use less energy and have broader access to cleaner, renewable energy.

A familiar topic

The topic is a familiar one for Izzo over the past decade, especially for a company that has invested about $400 million in a series of energy-efficiency initiatives, but would like to ramp up those expenditures. It currently has a $93 million filing before the state Board of Public Utilities to do energy-savings projects at hospitals, schools, and multifamily units.
But Izzo expressed frustration at repeatedly going back to regulators for approval of projects that have proven to have broad support. “I marvel it didn’t sail right through,’’ he told reporters following the 20-minute talk to the business crowd, referring to the latest energy efficiency proposal. It was filed with the board in March.
“There are billions of dollars of energy efficiency (projects) we could be doing and we are squabbling over tens of millions of dollars,’’ Izzo said.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Study: Older Pa. gas storage wells threaten methane leaks

An academic study raised questions about the safety of underground storage of gas from wells like this in Dimock, Pa.
SCOTT DETROW / STATEIMPACT PA
An academic study raises questions about the safety of underground storage of gas from wells like this one in Dimock, Pa.

Jon Hurdle reports for StateImpact
:
 Pennsylvania has hundreds of underground natural gas storage sites that are vulnerable to methane leaks because they were built at least 60 years ago, and were probably never designed to store gas, according to a Harvard University study released on Tuesday.
The national study said Pennsylvania has 830 such sites that are in active use for gas storage, 370 of which are older wells that likely have design deficiencies such as only one casing.  One hundred twenty-three of them were built more than 100 years ago.
Older wells are increasingly vulnerable to leaks as has been happening in California’s Aliso Canyon. Beginning in late 2015 leaks there forced nearby residents to leave their homes, and resulted in the biggest accidental leak of greenhouse gases in U.S. history, according to the authors of the study. They said the older storage wells in Pennsylvania and other states are likely to have been built to similar standards as in California.
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NJ senate floor votes on environment bills tomorrow


The following bills are posted for votes in the New Jersey Senate tomorrow (May 25) 

A-4350  Eustace, T. (D-38); Diegnan, P.J. (D-18)
Precludes DEP from imposing certain certification requirements on installers of individual subsurface sewage disposal systems.  Related Bill: S-2914
      
A-4583  Zwicker, A. (D-16); Conaway, H. (D-7); Land, R.B. (D-1); Downey, J. (D-11)
Appropriates $2,988,859 from 2009 Historic Preservation Fund and constitutionally dedicated CBT revenues to provide capital preservation grants for certain historic preservation projects.  Related Bill: S-2991
     
A-4701  Eustace, T. (D-38); Zwicker, A. (D-16); Vainieri Huttle, V. (D-37); Gusciora, R. (D-15); Kennedy, J.J. (D-22); Benson, D.R. (D-14); Jasey, M.M. (D-27)
Requires State's full participation in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Related: S-3059
   
ACR-192  McKeon, J.F. (D-27); Spencer, L.G. (D-29); Muoio, E.M. (D-15)
Determines that DEP's proposal to amend septic system density standards in Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act Rules is inconsistent with legislative intent.
Related Bill: SCR-148
      
S-481  Oroho, S.V. (R-24); Cunningham, S.B. (D-31)
Revises definition of "landlord" to include rooming and boarding house owners and operators with regard to ordinances holding landlords to certain standards of responsibility.
     
S-771  Smith, B. (D-17); Bateman, C. (R-16)
Requires large food waste generators to separate and recycle food waste and amends definition of "Class I renewable energy."  Related Bill: A-2417
     
S-806  Weinberg, L. (D-37); Gordon, R.M. (D-38); Eustace, T. (D-38)
Requires owner or operator of certain trains to have discharge response, cleanup, and contingency plans to transport certain hazardous materials by rail; requires NJ DOT to request bridge inspection reports from US DOT.  Related Bill: A-2463
     
S-2360  Allen, D.B. (R-7); Greenstein, L.R. (D-14); Bateman, C. (R-16); Smith, B. (D-17)
Requires Department of Agriculture to develop voluntary guidelines to encourage school districts and institutions of higher education to donate excess food; extends "Food Bank Good Samaritan Act" protections to school districts.  Related Bill: A-3056
     
S-2834  Sweeney, S.M. (D-3); Greenstein, L.R. (D-14); Bateman, C. (R-16)
The "Water Quality Accountability Act"; imposes certain testing, reporting, management, and infrastructure investment requirements on water purveyors.  Related Bill: A-4569

S-2914  Greenstein, L.R. (D-14)
Precludes DEP from imposing certain certification requirements on installers of individual subsurface sewage disposal systems.  Related Bill: A-4350     
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Bill monitoring by BillTrak
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S-2991  Turner, S.K. (D-15); Kean, T.H. (R-21)
Appropriates $2,988,859 from 2009 Historic Preservation Fund and constitutionally dedicated CBT revenues to provide capital preservation grants for certain historic preservation projects.  Related Bill: A-4583
     
S-3027  Smith, B. (D-17); Greenstein, L.R. (D-14)
Establishes State food waste reduction goal of 50 percent by 2030.
Related Bill: A-4631

S-3059  Sweeney, S.M. (D-3); Smith, B. (D-17)
Requires State's full participation in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
Related Bill: A-4701

S-3065  Smith, B. (D-17); Bateman, C. (R-16)
Provides gross income tax credit for costs to purchase and install smart thermostats.
Related Bill: A-4740
     
SCR-144  Sweeney, S.M. (D-3)
Commends Rutgers University Coastal Ocean Observation Laboratory for contributions to ocean research, data collection, technology, and forecasting.  Related Bill: ACR-231

SR-107  Smith, B. (D-17); Bateman, C. (R-16)
Urges relevant federal and State authorities to investigate actions taken by Argentinian state oil company to discharge Superfund obligations through bankruptcy proceedings.  Related Bill: AR-219

SR-110  Smith, B. (D-17); Greenstein, L.R. (D-14)
Urges BPU to adopt goal to equip 500,000 homes with energy-saving smart thermostats by 2023.  Related Bill: AR-227
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Bill monitoring by BillTrak
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Hold on to your wallet, NJ, power prices are heading north

PSEG Power’s decision to retire two coal-burning plants contributes to steep increase, along with continuing problems of congestion on the grid

Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:

natural gas power plant
After months of mostly good news about energy costs, the price consumers will pay to power their homes and businesses is shooting upward once again.  
Electricity prices spiked higher in an obscure auction this week that helps determine what customers pay on their monthly bills, a sign of the continuing volatility of the competitive energy marketplace.  
The auction, conducted by PJM Interconnection, the operator of the nation’s largest power grid, locks up power supplies the region will require in the future, but this year the prices for customers in New Jersey increased dramatically, a year after they fell sharply.  
PJM conducts the auction to ensure there is enough power to meet demand for the 65 million people it serves. In doing so, it purchases so-called capacity, reserve power to call on from electricity suppliers to provide to customers. PJM secures supplies three years in advance to ensure reliable capacity.
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Monday, May 22, 2017

Christie runs into yet another Trump son-in-law roadblock

Gov. Chris Christie (right) and Jared Kushner are supporting different candidates for U.S. Attorney for NJ (AP) 

 &  report for The Inquirer


Gov. Christie is pushing to have a former colleague and Bridgegate lawyer appointed as U.S. attorney for New Jersey, but he faces stiff headwinds from within the White House, where the governor has frequently clashed with President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to interviews with a dozen political and legal sources familiar with the maneuvering.

Christie enlisted the state’s Republican congressmen to send a letter to Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions endorsing Craig Carpenito, a former federal prosecutor who defended Christie in a citizen’s complaint accusing him of official misconduct in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scheme.

But Carpenito, who worked under Christie in the U.S. Attorney’s office, is running behind Geoffrey S. Berman, another ex-prosecutor who served on Trump’s transition team and has backing at the top levels of the White House. Berman’s allies, both inside and outside the Trump administration, have Kushner’s ear and support, said three sources with knowledge of the jockeying, all of whom requested anonymity to discuss the private wrangling involving two major political figures.



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Christie budget shifts climate money to brownfields


T
om Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:


Budget proposal shifts $6 million from Global Warming Solutions Fund to general budget to help restore
contaminated sites

The Christie administration is putting cleaning up contaminated brownfields ahead of trying to ease climate change in its current budget proposal. 

In language in the fiscal year 2018 budget, the administration is shifting $6 million in un-expended funds in the Global Warming Solutions Fund to the general budget to provide assistance to developers seeking to return contaminated sites to productive use.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hiring, promotion at Partnership for the Delaware Estuary


The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary has hired
Claire Birney
Claire Birney, CFRE as its new director of development. She leads a three-person team working to attain the funding needed to restore the tidal Delaware River and Bay in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Birney has been a leader in nonprofit fundraising across the Delaware Valley for over 25 years. Most recently she was the director of philanthropy at The Nature Conservancy’s Pennsylvania chapter. Before that she was director of development at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. Other employers have included the West Chester University Foundation, Stroud Water Research Center, Upland Country Day School, Delaware Symphony, and Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.

Birney served for 12 years as a board member at the Brandywine Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She was the chapter’s 2007 Fund Raising Executive of the Year. Other board memberships have included the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls and Lehigh University’s College of Education Advisory Committee.

Birney received her B.A. in communications from West Chester University. Since 2002, she has maintained her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification.

When she is not working to protect nature, Birney likes to enjoy nature. She enjoys taking daily walks with her terriers, Rusty and Crickette, in West Grove, Pennsylvania where she lives. She also enjoys long hikes with her husband and friends, or walking the beach with her daughter.

Sandra Demberger 


The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary
Sandra Demberger
has 
promoted Sandra Demberger to monitoring fellow following a year-long internship. In this role she will evaluate the health of valuable wetlands.

Demberger graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and a minor in wildlife conservation. Part of her education included research on water pollution resulting from excess nitrogen, which runs off the land and into estuaries. She also interned with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Demberger lives in Wilmington, Delaware, where she spends a great deal of time hiking and traveling.


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Saturday, May 20, 2017

New York's Exxon climate fraud investigation widens

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has issued additional subpoenas to determine whether the company may have destroyed evidence.

The probe of ExxonMobil by the New York Attorney General's Office is widening. Investigators have taken depositions of company executives and issued additional subpoenas to determine whether the company may have destroyed evidence connected to an alias email used by former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson.
The disclosure was made Friday in arguments filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a Manhattan federal court. He is seeking dismissal of a request by Exxon for an injunction that would halt his investigation into the oil giant involving whether it misled shareholders and the public about the risks of climate change.
Attorneys for Schneiderman did not elaborate in the 25-page document on the scope of the expanded investigation other than to suggest that it involved the recent disclosure that Tillerson, now U.S. secretary of state, used an email alias when discussing issues including climate change and the risk that it posed to the company.
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