Saturday, December 10, 2016

**UPDATED** Enviro and Ag committees,Trenton - Dec 12


ASSEMBLY ENVIRONMENT AND SOLID WASTE
12/12/16 1:00 PM
Committee Room 9, 3rd Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

For consideration:
A-261  McKeon, J.F. (D-27); Spencer, L.G. (D-29)
Prohibits installation and sale of wheel weights containing lead or mercury; prohibits sale of new motor vehicles equipped with wheel weights containing lead or mercury.

A-1373  Spencer, L.G. (D-29); Eustace, T. (D-38); Quijano, A. (D-20); Wimberly, B.E. (D-35)
Requires paint producers to implement or participate in paint stewardship program.
Related Bill: S-986 
    
A-4152  Andrzejczak, B. (D-1); Mazzeo, V. (D-2); Land, R.B. (D-1); Burzichelli, J.J. (D-3)
Limits application of DEP shellfish habitat rules for certain dredging activities.
Related Bill: S-2369 
_________________________________________________________

ASSEMBLY AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
12/12/16 2:00 PM
Committee Room 15, 4th Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

For consideration:
A-123  Space, P. (R-24); Phoebus, G. (R-24)
Provides that farm, farmstand, or other agricultural operation selling firewood obtained from property other than seller's shall not be considered a lumber yard.
    
A-696  DiMaio, J. (R-23)
Permits sale of raw milk under certain conditions and establishes raw milk permit program.
    
A-772  Andrzejczak, B. (D-1); Diegnan, P.J. (D-18); Land, R.B. (D-1); Benson, D.R. (D-14); Holley, J.C. (D-20)
Establishes process for recovering cost of caring for animals involved in animal cruelty violations.
Related Bill: S-1168 
    
A-1974  Prieto, V. (D-32); Benson, D.R. (D-14); DiMaio, J. (R-23)

Permits sale of home-baked goods under certain circumstances.
__________________________________________________________

SENATE BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS
12/15/16 11:00 AM
Committee Room 4, 1st Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

For consideration:
A-1649  Schaer, G.S. (D-36); Spencer, L.G. (D-29); Pintor Marin, E. (D-29)
Requires local governments and authorities to obtain financing cost estimate from NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust for certain projects.
Related Bill: S-853 
    
S-853  Stack, B.P. (D-33)
Requires local governments and authorities to obtain financing cost estimate from  NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust for certain projects.
Related Bill: A-1649   
________________________________________________________

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ASSEMBLY APPROPRIATIONS
12/15/16 1:00 PM
Aide: (609) 847-3835
Committee Room 11, 4th Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

For consideration:
A-963  Wolfe, D.W. (R-10); McGuckin, G.P. (R-10)
Requires DOT, NJTA, and SJTA to use only native vegetation for landscaping, land management, reforestation, or habitat restoration.  Related Bill: S-227 
    
A-2463  Eustace, T. (D-38); Vainieri Huttle, V. (D-37); Caride, M. (D-36)
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: S-806 
    
A-3539  Muoio, E.M. (D-15); Spencer, L.G. (D-29); Chiaravalloti, N. (D-31) 
Requires public and nonpublic schools to test for and remediate lead in drinking water, and disclose test results.  Related Bill: S-2082 
    
S-227  Holzapfel, J.W. (R-10); Allen, D.B. (R-7)
Requires DOT, NJTA, and SJTA to use only native vegetation for landscaping, land management, reforestation, or habitat restoration.  Related Bill: A-963 
    
S-806  Weinberg, L. (D-37); Gordon, R.M. (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-2731  Greenstein, L.R. (D-14); Bateman, C. (R-16)
Authorizes New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust to expend additional sums to make loans for environmental infrastructure projects for FY2017.   Related Bill: A-4326 
    
S-2732  Codey, R.J. (D-27); Gill, N.H. (D-34)
Amends list of environmental infrastructure projects approved for long-term funding for FY 2017 to include new projects and revise allowable loan amounts.  Related Bill: A-4327 

___________________________________________________________


ASSEMBLY REGULATORY OVERSIGHT
12/15/16 2:00 PM
Committee Room 14, 4th Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ
The committee will receive testimony from invited speakers on the State's paid family temporary disability leave benefits program.

For consideration:

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.

___________________________________________________________


The House will reconvene on           
Tue. Jan 3, 2017 at 12:00 PM              

The Senate will reconvene on
Tue. Jan 3, 2017 at 12:00 PM    


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Friday, December 9, 2016

If clean energy is left to the states, will NJ lead or lag?


Donald Trump has named Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA 
President-elect Donald Trump's selection of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be nation's next EPA administrator is a dark day for clean energy and the environment.

Pruitt is a climate denier and a leader in a multi-state legal action to overturn President Obama's Clean Power Plan.

His selection, however, should be no surprise. Trump clearly promised throughout his campaign to dismantle the EPA, to weaken regulations, to favor the coal and oil industries, and to pull the country out of the Paris Climate Accord.

Some thought it was all just campaign rhetoric. The fact that Mr. Pruitt has been given the job of setting and enforcing the nation's environmental agenda should end all hopeful thinking. It is more than sobering. It's disturbing.


R. William Potter
Princeton energy and environment attorney R. William Potter says it now will be up to so-inclined states to continue to implement clean-energy policies and fight the alarming prospects of climate change.

A recent vote at the state's Board of Public Utilities makes Potter question whether New Jersey is up to the challenge.

He writes in NJ Spotlight:



On November 30, the Board of Public Utilities voted by the narrowest of margins (3-2) to approve the stripped-down plan by Public Service Electric & Gas, one of the “greenest” of electric utilities in the nation, to expend $80 million to develop a mere 33 megawatts of solar electric facilities on former garbage dumps and brownfields.
As the plan was originally filed, PSE&G called for spending $276 million to build 100 megawatts of brownfields electric capacity, essentially solar farms covering abandoned industrial sites and closed landfills.
But heated opposition led by a coalition of industrial energy users helped to reduce the PSE&G plan by nearly two-thirds, as set forth in a lengthy stipulation approved by the BPU.

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Opponents of the PSE&G initiative asserted that the cost to ratepayers of the so-called solar subsidy was becoming excessive, even though financing the program comes to a nearly invisible 4 cents a year before maxing out at 24 cents annually.
That’s right: Two cents per month for the average residential user to keep the state moving on track to advance solar projects and jobs, and to put formerly polluting landfills and industrial sites to “socially beneficial use,” as BPU President Richard Mroz wisely pointed out.
This wringing of hands over feared impacts of the PSE&G program included opposition to the utility’s plan to “rate base” its cost. This would allow PSE&G to profit from the undertaking with costs embedded in consumer rates, which is how almost all of the region’s large power plants were financed and built.
Those objecting to the plan included two BPU commissioners who argued that PSE&G should have used an unregulated affiliate competing in the solar marketplace, not the regulated utility, even though recent legislation expressly authorizes the rate-base approach to spur utilities to invest more of their “patient capital” in renewable energy projects.
Those objections, however sincere, miss the point:
President-elect Trump campaigned on a promise to unshackle the coal and oil industry and to reject the Paris Climate Accord signed by some 200 nations. His appointment of Pruitt to head if not to dismantle the EPA dashes whatever hope was briefly raised by Trump’s 90-minute meeting with Al Gore.
The states must step into the leadership vacuum in battling global warming, perhaps our last hope for achieving meaningful limits on greenhouse gases despite Trump’s retrograde policies and regulatory appointments.
So instead of pushing against PSE&G’s latest solar initiative, BPU regulators and consumer protectors alike should call for still more solar development by whatever legitimate means, until literally every available rooftop and brownfield is covered in solar panels and offshore wind turbines to distract and delight vacationers at the Jersey Shore.
Read the full column here

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Or submit an opposing essay to editor@enviropolitics.com



 

**UPDATED** Enviro and Ag committees,Trenton - Dec 12


ASSEMBLY ENVIRONMENT AND SOLID WASTE
12/12/16 1:00 PM
Committee Room 9, 3rd Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

For consideration:
A-261  McKeon, J.F. (D-27); Spencer, L.G. (D-29)
Prohibits installation and sale of wheel weights containing lead or mercury; prohibits sale of new motor vehicles equipped with wheel weights containing lead or mercury.

A-1373  Spencer, L.G. (D-29); Eustace, T. (D-38); Quijano, A. (D-20); Wimberly, B.E. (D-35)
Requires paint producers to implement or participate in paint stewardship program.
Related Bill: S-986
   
A-4152  Andrzejczak, B. (D-1); Mazzeo, V. (D-2); Land, R.B. (D-1); Burzichelli, J.J. (D-3)
Limits application of DEP shellfish habitat rules for certain dredging activities.
Related Bill: S-2369
_________________________________________________________

ASSEMBLY AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
12/12/16 2:00 PM
Committee Room 15, 4th Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

For consideration:
A-123  Space, P. (R-24); Phoebus, G. (R-24)
Provides that farm, farmstand, or other agricultural operation selling firewood obtained from property other than seller's shall not be considered a lumber yard.
   
A-696  DiMaio, J. (R-23)
Permits sale of raw milk under certain conditions and establishes raw milk permit program.
   
A-772  Andrzejczak, B. (D-1); Diegnan, P.J. (D-18); Land, R.B. (D-1); Benson, D.R. (D-14); Holley, J.C. (D-20)
Establishes process for recovering cost of caring for animals involved in animal cruelty violations.
Related Bill: S-1168
   
A-1974  Prieto, V. (D-32); Benson, D.R. (D-14); DiMaio, J. (R-23)

Permits sale of home-baked goods under certain circumstances.
__________________________________________________________

SENATE BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS
12/15/16 11:00 AM
Committee Room 4, 1st Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

For consideration:
A-1649  Schaer, G.S. (D-36); Spencer, L.G. (D-29); Pintor Marin, E. (D-29)
Requires local governments and authorities to obtain financing cost estimate from NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust for certain projects.
Related Bill: S-853
   
S-853  Stack, B.P. (D-33)
Requires local governments and authorities to obtain financing cost estimate from  NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust for certain projects.
Related Bill: A-1649  
________________________________________________________

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ASSEMBLY APPROPRIATIONS
12/15/16 1:00 PM
Aide: (609) 847-3835
Committee Room 11, 4th Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

For consideration:
A-963  Wolfe, D.W. (R-10); McGuckin, G.P. (R-10)
Requires DOT, NJTA, and SJTA to use only native vegetation for landscaping, land management, reforestation, or habitat restoration.   Related Bill: S-227
   
A-2463  Eustace, T. (D-38); Vainieri Huttle, V. (D-37); Caride, M. (D-36)
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: S-806
   
A-3539  Muoio, E.M. (D-15); Spencer, L.G. (D-29); Chiaravalloti, N. (D-31)
Requires public and nonpublic schools to test for and remediate lead in drinking water, and disclose test results.  Related Bill: S-2082
   
S-227  Holzapfel, J.W. (R-10); Allen, D.B. (R-7)
Requires DOT, NJTA, and SJTA to use only native vegetation for landscaping, land management, reforestation, or habitat restoration.  Related Bill: A-963
   
S-806  Weinberg, L. (D-37); Gordon, R.M. (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-2731  Greenstein, L.R. (D-14); Bateman, C. (R-16)
Authorizes New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust to expend additional sums to make loans for environmental infrastructure projects for FY2017.   Related Bill: A-4326
   
S-2732  Codey, R.J. (D-27); Gill, N.H. (D-34)
Amends list of environmental infrastructure projects approved for long-term funding for FY 2017 to include new projects and revise allowable loan amounts.  Related Bill: A-4327 

___________________________________________________________


ASSEMBLY REGULATORY OVERSIGHT
12/15/16 2:00 PM
Committee Room 14, 4th Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ
The committee will receive testimony from invited speakers on the State's paid family temporary disability leave benefits program.

For consideration:

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.

___________________________________________________________


The House will reconvene on           
Tue. Jan 3, 2017 at 12:00 PM             

The Senate will reconvene on
Tue. Jan 3, 2017 at 12:00 PM  
 Senate Calendar                   
      
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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sources say Christie won't be RNC chair under Trump

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in background cheering Trump at podium - Photo by EPA - Ryan Stone

Gov. Chris Christie will not be named chairman of the Republican National Committee as President-elect Donald Trump assumes the White House, two sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to NJ Advance Media on Thursday morning.
Christie had been lobbying for the position over the last week, but he and Trump came to the decision mutually, said the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss the scenario candidly.
One source close to Christie said Trump's team is continuing to talk to the New Jersey governor, a longtime Trump friend and adviser, about various other positions in the incoming administration.But, the source noted, Christie wants to serve out his second and final term as governor -- which ends Jan. 18, 2018.
The source added that Christie is close to Trump and will "certainly remain as an informal adviser."
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Miners' health care and pension benefits are on the line

Miners march in Waynesburg, Pa. in April, 2016 - Photo by Andrew Rush, Post-Gazette
The fate of health care and pensions of thousands of coal miners is taking center stage this week as Congress struggles to pass a funding bill by Friday to keep the government open for the next four months.
In the latest development, the Republican majority in the Senate has agreed to extend health care benefits — but only for four months.  
Congress is entering the final days to pass the Miners Protection Act, which was proposed more than a year ago to direct $3 billion over the next 10 years into health care and pension funds for miners. The money would prop up United Mine Workers of America pension funds, relied on by more than 89,000 miners nationwide, including 13,000 miners in Pennsylvania.
An extension would honor a promise by the federal government dating back to the Truman administration to guarantee UMWA retirement funds. Without action, roughly 17,000 miners across the country would lose their health care benefits later this month, and an additional 4,000 would lose them early next year.

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The move to stuff an extension of health care benefits into a short-term appropriations bill was announced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday. The bill is required to fund the government beyond the end of the year and must be approved before Congress breaks for holiday.
Linking the miners’ health care to the short-term funding bill angered supporters of the bill, including Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey, who called it a “profound betrayal” of miners.
“This proposal does nothing to protect pensions and will extend health coverage for so short a time that recipients would be notified almost simultaneously that they are both eligible for benefits and that their benefits will terminate,” Mr. Casey wrote. 
Mr. Casey said he’s incredulous the full act was dropped following the election of Republican Donald J. Trump, who won support among large swaths of coal country by promising to enact miner-friendly policies. Mr. Casey wrote a letter to Mr. Trump last month that urged the president-elect to encourage his party’s leadership to back the measure. Of the bill’s 18 co-sponsors, eight are Republicans.
Read the full story here

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PADEP appeals court hold on sections of new drilling rules

Natural gas gathering lines in the Tiadaghton State Forest. 
Jon Hurdle reports for StateImpact:
Pennsylvania is appealing a court ruling that temporarily blocked sections of new gas drilling regulations, saying they are “commonsense” rules designed to protect the public and took years to develop with the help of the industry.
The Department of Environmental Protection filed the appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday after a Commonwealth Court judge last month put a hold on some parts of the Chapter 78a regulations on unconventional natural gas development.
The DEP is urging the state’s highest court to allow implementation of regulations governing public resource protections, monitoring for orphaned and abandoned wells, well-site restoration, and standards for water storage impoundments.
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Those sections were put on hold by Commonwealth Court Judge Kevin Brobson last month following a lawsuit from the gas industry’s trade group, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, which argued in its first-ever suit against the state that the rules are onerous, costly, and offer little environmental benefit.
But Brobson let stand other sections of the rules dealing with spill cleanups, onsite waste processing, and a new requirement to file monthly waste reports. The rules, which took effect in October, are the first revision of Pennsylvania’s oil and gas regulations since the shale boom began in the mid-2000s.
In a statement accompanying its appeal, the DEP’s Acting Secretary, Patrick McDonnell, said the rules are intended to protect public facilities including schools and playgrounds, and should be allowed to stand.
“These commonsense regulations were the result of five years of public participation, including dozens of meetings with natural gas industry leaders and trade groups, as well as nearly 25,000 Pennsylvanians who made their voices heard by providing public comments,” McDonnell said.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

EPA moves to ban aerosol de-greasers, spot removers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it 
is proposing to ban certain use of the chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) due to health risks when used as an aerosol de-greaser and as a spot removal agent in dry cleaning.

The proposed rule was issued under section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act, as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.

Specifically, EPA is proposing to prohibit the manufacture (including 
import), processing, and distribution in commerce and to 
prohibit commercial use of TCE for aerosol degreasing 
and for spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities. 

EPA is also proposing to require manufacturers, processors, 
and distributors, except for retailers, to provide downstream 
notice of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain, and
to keep limited records. Comments on the proposed rule must
be received 60 days after date of publication in the Federal 
Register.

Last week, EPA announced the inclusion of TCE on the list 
of the first ten chemicals to be evaluated for risk under TSCA. 
That action will allow EPA will evaluate the other remaining 
uses of the chemical. Today’s action only proposes to ban 
certain uses of the chemical.



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