Sunday, March 2, 2008

Week's top environmental & political news

Some of the top environmental and political news stories for New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and beyond appearing in EnviroPolitics from February 25 - 29, 2008.

New Jersey Environmental News

Report blasts plan for landfills, seeks probe When EnCap got state approval to transform Meadowlands landfills into a luxurious complex of golf courses, offices and hotel rooms, the company said it had the money and skills to get the $1 billion job done. But a report released yesterday by state Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper concluded EnCap significantly misrepresented its qualifications and financing and has asked the AG’s office to consider a criminal investigation Star-Ledger NY Times AP Press

The Miracle in the Meadowlands?
As sold to the public, the EnCap Golf project sounded great. A vast stretch of Meadowlands swamps and landfills would morph from toxic wasteland into a bastion of the good life -- a golf-themed mini-city with upscale housing and easy access to New York Bergen Record

Horseshoe crab ban considered Legislation banning horseshoe crab harvesting along NJ shores was sent to the state Assembly yesterday, as lawmakers rushed to protect a shore bird that relies on crab eggs for food during spring migration Star-Ledger

Agriculture Department essential, state farmers say Farmers and agriculture supporters are sending the governor the message that his proposal to eliminate the state Department of Agriculture ”doesn’t save much at all and would decimate the leadership of the industry” AC press

Farmers say Corzine's scythe could be their ruin
Gov. Jon Corzine's budget would leave the Garden State without a Department of Agriculture Star-Ledger
> Budget leaves farmers fuming Express-Times

Legal ruling seen as shield against property seizure In a decision that lawyers believe could affect the efforts of towns to take private property for private redevelopment, a state appeals court rules that local governments must give owners clear and timely warnings that they could lose their property Star-Ledger

Highlands Council's definition sparks enviros’ ire It looks like a simple question. What construction materials can water pass through? Gravel? Concrete? Grass? Star-Ledger

Outages cut radiation monitors' data stream New Jersey, which still had five radiation monitors that aren't working on and around the Oyster Creek nuclear plant site in Lacey last week, is confronting a new problem: repeated Internet outages AP Press

New Jersey Political News

Feds argue affair gave ex-mayor a motive Prosecutors plan to use tickets to a boxing match in Tennessee to help prove that former Newark Mayor Sharpe James had an intimate relationship with a city businesswoman who allegedly reaped nearly $700K in profits from questionable land sales Star-Ledger

Two UMDNJ doctors admit to embezzling Cardiologists plead guilty to federal embezzlement charges, admitting they were paid $870,000 as faculty members of the state's medical university for doing little more than referring patients Bergen Record

NJ braces for cuts sought by governor From emergency rooms in city hospitals to hayfields in horse country, residents began bracing on Wednesday for the upheaval NY Times

Corzine seeks to cut NJ budget and work force Declaring that the state had reached an irrevocable “turning point” because of years of bad fiscal habits, Gov. Jon S. Corzine proposed a budget on Tuesday that would reduce the state’s work force by 3,000 people, close three departments and prune expenses for services including colleges and hospitals NY Times

Booker might be witness in James trial
Newark Mayor Cory Booker emerges as a potential witness in the corruption trial of his predecessor and former political rival Star-Ledger

Ashcroft relents, will testify on Christie contract Facing the threat of a subpoena, former Attorney General John Ashcroft agreed yesterday to testify before a congressional committee that has questioned a lucrative assignment he received from U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie to serve as a corporate monitor in a New Jersey case Star-Ledger

Jersey schools got tainted meat from California plant Tainted meat from a California meatpacking plant, which was shut down after the nation's largest beef recall, made its way to more than 100 New Jersey schools participating in federal lunch programs, state officials said yesterday Star-Ledger

Pennsylvania Environmental News

NRC chairman says report on napping guards at Peach Bottom not fully reviewed The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission acknowledged Thursday that more should have been done to thoroughly investigate a tip that security guards routinely took naps while on the job at a Pennsylvania nuclear plant Delaware County Times

Biodiesel maker sets sights on Neville Island Diamond Star Energy CEO Susan Ostrowski has presented a plan to Neville commissioners and is seeking the township's support as her company works to convert an existing plant on the island to manufacture biodiesel, a clean-burning alternative fuel produced from renewable resources Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Discussion highlights divisive debate over Chesapeake cleanup Municipal officials charged Tuesday night that the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy places an unfair burden on taxpayers while giving farmers, a major source of harmful nutrients, a free pass Carlisle Sentinel

Somerset windmill plan judged deficient by state A controversial proposal to build 30 wind turbines in an ecologically sensitive watershed containing a wilderness trout stream on Shaffer Mountain in northeastern Somerset County has been judged deficient by the state Post-Gazette

Scientist tells crowd bay needs a cleanup The tremendous cost of cleaning up Chesapeake Bay, and its coming impact on midstate residents, has been getting much attention. But the reasons often get overshadowed, a scientist told a panel discussion sponsored by the West Shore Chamber of Commerce Patriot-News

Governors defending use of coal State leaders pushing alternative energy are not shying from coal, a major culprit in global warming but also a homegrown energy source and an economic lifeline for many states Associated Press

Rendell intervention saved Fish and Boat exec’s job A move by the state Fish and Boat Commission board to remove its executive director was thwarted last month when a Gov. Rendell staffer intervened, according to sources close to the agency Times Leader

Bay cleanup costs loom for PA Few residents in the central Pennsylvania town of Huntingdon regularly, if ever, head to the Chesapeake Bay to enjoy its many recreational opportunities, though they may be saddled with higher sewer bills to help clean it up

Pennsylvania Political News

State lawmakers want tighter scrutiny of slots Legislators signal greater scrutiny for PA's slot-machine law as they press for answers after a casino owner was charged with lying to gambling regulators to win his license Inquirer

Most doubt slots will yield tax cuts PA voters expect slot machines will raise an additional $1 billion a year by 2012, yet they're not so optimistic that the extra revenue will mean much of a property tax cut for them Patriot-News

Rendell: Subsidized health care would help small businesses Gov. Ed Rendell tells the House of Representatives Committee on Small Business that his plan to subsidize health care for the uninsured would relieve a burden on small businesses The Bulletin

PA smoking ban: Not if, but how One is a Vietnam veteran from north-central Pennsylvania, a lifelong smoker fighting for the rights of fellow vets to light up in VFW halls Inquirer

No country for old men? Seniors weigh in on McCain Frankie La Rosa likes everything about John McCain's politics. He likes his moderation. He likes his integrity. He even read one of his books. But when Pennsylvania's primary rolls around on April 22, he plans to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton Morning Call

New York/Region/World

Hess to pay $1.1M fine for NY enviro violations Newsday
Spitzer calls off sale of land near Javits Center NY Sun
New York City's black taxis going green Reuters
Court upholds DEC on brownfields Times Union Ithaca Journal
Revenue estimates endanger NY budget Democrat & Chronicle
An experiment to get shellfish to tidy up a bit
New York Times
Indian Point agrees to pay $650,000 siren fine Journal News
House votes to end big oil's tax breaks Washington Post
Alaska to sue BP over 2006 Prudhoe spill Reuters

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