Saturday, February 21, 2009

Week's top environmental & political news in NJ and PA: Feb 16-20 2009

Below are just a few of the environmental and political news stories for New Jersey and Pennsylvania that appeared in
EnviroPolitics during the week of February 16-20

New Jersey Politics

Corzine to replenish one trust fund with cash from another For years, New Jersey's unemployment trust fund was used as a piggy bank. Now, is it disability fund’s turn? Inquirer
> Governor prepares to take ax to rebates Corzine is running out of options, sources say Star-Ledger

As budget crisis worsens, Corzine seeks 2-day furloughs The governor calls for a two-day furlough of state workers and warns of more furloughs or layoffs if unions do not accept a wage freeze starting in July Star-Ledger Inquirer Gannett

Governor warns layoffs could be next step Gov. Jon Corzine dug in his heels against the state workers unions yesterday, saying a two-day furlough is within his authority to balance the budget and that he will turn to layoffs if a stalemate over wages continues Star-Ledger

NJ may get $6B with new stimulus The economic stimulus bill President Barack Obama is scheduled to sign into law today contains more than $6B for NJ, according to a comprehensive yet preliminary analysis of the $787 billion measure

New Jersey Environment

Cleanup on tap for Hudson County sites NJ authorities and a Pittsburgh corporation blamed for chromium pollution throughout Hudson County reach an agreement for cleaning up a site in Jersey City within five years. PPG Industries will remediate soil and other sources of chromium contamination on the 16 acre site of a chromite ore refinement plant that operated from 1924 to 1963. The deal will not be finalized until after a 30-day public comment period Star-Ledger Jersey Journal

AAA asks Corzine to veto $9.5M of DRPA plan The AAA Mid-Atlantic auto club asks Gov. Corzine to veto plans by the Delaware River Port Authority to spend $9.5 million on economic-development projects in Camden and Philadelphia, including a President's House memorial near the Liberty Bell Phila Daily News

‘UFO’ mystery solved… The hot chunk of metal that crashed through the roof of a Jersey City business wasn’t space debris after all. It was the missing tooth of a gigantic wood mulching machine located roughly three football fields away Jersey Journal
…Next mystery: Strange red lights in the sky
Daily Record

NRG subsidiary sued by the EPA A subsidiary of Princeton-based NRG Energy Inc is the target of a lawsuit filed by federal environmental regulators that alleges the company’s coal-fired plant in Louisiana does not have proper emissions controls AP

Port Authority to put dredging contract up for bid A multibillion-dollar effort to create a network of deeper channels that will allow bigger ships to safely navigate the Port of NY and NJ has turn into a fight involving political muscle, mounting lawsuits and other battles among companies looking for a piece of a $2.5 billion project. The fight is expected to get even more complex after a decision behind the scenes last week to bid a crucial part of the contract

New Jersey’s enviro-vigilant, go-to-guy

Over the past two years, NJ Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel was quoted 400 more times than Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts. The state’s “grumpiest greenie” grouses that Christie Whitman was the ‘brownest’ governor but Jon Corzine might yet outdo her

The Green Governors It isn't often people say nice things about New Jersey's governors. But when it comes to protecting the environment, they deserve some praise Star-Ledger

Bill gives windmills same status as schools, hospitals A bill making its way through the Legislature would declare renewable energy facilities “inherently beneficial,” making them more difficult for local zoners to deny AC Press

Pennsylvania Environment

Pennsylvania announces $21.5M in 'growing greener' projects Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced the investment of more than $21.5 million in 144 Growing Greener projects to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff and farms, treat acid mine drainage, reduce flooding and improve water quality across the commonwealth PA-DEP

EPA probing creek for fly ash pollution Federal technicians are checking a complaint that fly ash disposed in Mahanoy Township is polluting the mine pool and threatening water quality in Mahanoy Creek Hazleton Standard-Speaker

State out of money for septic-system checks Pennsylvania has run out of money for reimbursing local sewage agencies for most of the cost of issuing permits for and inspecting septic systems AP

Philadelphia weighs trash pickup fee City officials are seriously considering a $5 weekly garbage-collection fee as part of the response to the current fiscal crisis Inquirer

Stimulus to pump billions into PA Separate funds totaling $224M can pay for water infrastructure projects in the state. And alternative energy investments will have access to more than $101M through the state's energy program Morning Call

Study: Turbine not a threat to birds A nearly two-year independent study finds that a wind turbine poses no overt threat to bird and bat life while it generates supplemental power at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle State Park in Erie
Gant Daily

Pennsylvania Politics

Bonus probe costing millions The state legislature has burned through $5.8M in taxpayer money so far on legal fees and other expenses stemming from an investigation into staff bonuses and potential misuse of public resources AP

Fumo trial wraps up A lawyer who told then-state Sen. Vince Fumo he could continue the "normal course of district office business" after a nonprofit organization that he founded was served with a grand-jury subpoena in April 2004 said under cross-examination yesterday that did not mean Fumo could delete e-mails Phila Daily News

A sweeping new plan for Philadelphia schools Controversial proposal includes shutting down failing schools and potentially reopening them as charter schools, reducing class sizes, and overhauling teacher hiring Inquirer

Rendell’s former law firm does well by the DRPA The Delaware River Port Authority spent nearly $2M on outside legal firms in 2007 and 2008, and the biggest beneficiary was the former firm of Gov. Rendell, who chairs the DRPA Inquirer 'toon

Knocks on budget make Nutter open up With the reputation of his administration on the line, Philadelphia’s mayor shelves what critics view as a go-it-alone governing style for a more transparent approach that harks back to his election campaign Inquirer

Laurie Magid named U.S. Attorney for Eastern PA Acting U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid has been appointed interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, making her the first woman to hold this position in this district Express-Times


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