Sunday, March 1, 2009

Week's top environmental & political news in NJ and PA: Feb 23-27 2009

Below are just a few of the environmental and political news stories
for New Jersey and Pennsylvania that appeared in
during the week of February 23-27.


New Jersey Politics

Corzine to Supreme Court: Don’t revisit ruling on Carla The state Supreme Court should not decide whether e-mails exchanged by Gov. Jon Corzine and former state workers union leader Carla Katz should be released to the public, lawyers for Governor Jon Corzine said today Star-Ledger

Lowenstein Sandler lays off 8 percent of attorneys The Roseland-based law firm let go of 21 lawyers and 32 staff employees and reduced its incoming associate class size by three spots New Jersey Law Journal

Lautenberg foundation sues Madoff brother over $7M Sen. Frank Lautenberg's family foundation, which invested more than $7 million with Bernard L. Madoff, filed a lawsuit today against the brother of the disgraced financier Star-Ledger

Corzine: Stimulus to deliver $1B in budget relief Gov. Jon Corzine said yesterday the federal stimulus package will soften the damage to the budget he will deliver next month by providing more than $1 billion in direct relief Star-Ledger

Star-Ledger, Record merge Statehouse reporting NJ's two largest newspapers, The Star-Ledger and The Bergen Record announce that they will form a combined Statehouse bureau. With a staff of 11, will be the nation’s largest Star-Ledger

New Jersey Environment

Trenton puts cleanups on a fast track A plan allowing private engineers to oversee the long-delayed cleanups of most of NJ's 24,000 polluted sites wins unanimous approval at a special session of Assembly and Senate committees, sending the measure to the Legislature despite intense opposition from environmental groups Star-Ledger Bergen Record EP Blog

Renewable energy bills make gains Two bills promoting renewable energy advanced in Trenton this week as part of the state's push to have 20 percent of its electricity generated by sources such as solar and wind power by 2020 Bergen Record

Enviros target proposed LNG facilities If three proposals on the drawing board win approval, there will be port storage and regasification (conversion of liquid back to gas) facilities for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) offshore from the New Jersey coastline The Examiner

Enviro groups oppose hydroelectric plant in Sparta The plant would create power during the day -- when demand is at its peak and most expensive -- by feeding water down a 2,000-foot cavern to feed electricity-producing turbines. During low-demand periods at night, the process is reversed and cheaper power is used to pump the water back up Star-Ledger

Towns plot Passaic River lawsuit strategy Some of the 70 North Jersey towns and cities named in a lawsuit that claims they're responsible for polluting the lower Passaic River are fighting back Bergen Record

Trail ends for wildlife volunteers State decommissions its team of unpaid deputy conservation officers who, armed and extensively trained, helped their full-time counterparts track down poachers, investigate dumping in state forests and report of people tearing up ecologically sensitive trails with all-terrain vehicles. Group falls victim tl budget shortfalls and concerns about insurance liability Star-Ledger

Pennsylvania Environment

Are Lehigh Canal mules a terror threat?
Photo: Kevin Mingora/The Morning Call

To most people, George and Hank are just mules that pull a canal boat through the Lehigh Canal in Easton, PA. But to Transportation Security
Administration officials, they're a matter of national security. Read why

Stricter air standards may put Lehigh Valley at 'unhealthy' level The federal agency that monitors air quality has noticed that people in the Lehigh Valley can breathe easier. Still, the EPA is expected to nail the region for too much smog Morning Call

Shale still delivering change in Pennsylvania Exploration of the gas-bearing shale underlying much of the state will continue to change the fiscal and environmental future of Northeast Pennsylvania despite the national economic crisis, presenters at a forum said Tuesday Scranton Times-Tribune

Concern grows about possible methane in water wells Times-Tribune

DEP runs short on funds for sewage reimbursement Barrett Supervisor Rick Scrudato was surprised Friday to hear his Monroe County township was one of 91 municipalities to see a delay in state reimbursement for costs to permit and inspect on-lot sewage systems Morning Call

PPL files deferral plan with regulators The company’s plan would allow customers to partly defer sharp price increases set to begin in 2010 Express-Times

Study of private water wells reveals good and bad news The levels of lead and nitrates in wells seem to have fallen sharply in the last 25 years, but 40 percent of the more than 700 wells tested failed to meet the state's safe-drinking-water standards for at least one contaminant Gant Daily

Pennsylvania Politics

Fumo’s defense: It’s all just a federal vendetta Inquirer

Living in 'Fumo World,' with a 'royalty complex' During his closing argument yesterday at the trial of former state Sen. Vince Fumo, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Zauzmer said Fumo was a man with a "royalty complex" and a willingness to spend other people's money Inquirer

Court: No harm in lawmaker pay raise A panel of federal judges yesterday upheld a lower court decision dismissing claims that state lawmakers and top members of the judiciary conspired to enact the controversial 2005 pay raise Inquirer

Bushels of Bibles for state lawmakers With the state sinking deeper into a fiscal hole, the Pennsylvania General Assembly bought 220 Bibles and other holy books for legislators as they took the oath of office last month Inquirer

Ex-Philadelphia councilman's aide, two others guilty of fraud Inquirer

Who's the boss? In Harrisburg, scores of legislative staffers make more than lawmakers It's not often the average worker makes more than the boss, but in the Pennsylvania Legislature it happens all the time Morning Call

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