Saturday, March 27, 2010

Week’s top environmental news: Mar. 22-26 2010

Below are just a few of the environmental and political news stories for New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and beyond that appeared in
EnviroPolitics during the week of March 22-26, 2010.

New Jersey Politics

Ex-Ocean Dem chief gets home confinement for bribes A former head of the Ocean County Democratic Party was sentenced in federal court in Trenton today to one year of home confinement for accepting bribes from FBI informant Star-Ledger

Governor’s bold moves gain national attention
There's not a
lot that's small about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. He is a big man with a big personality and a big problem — namely, closing a nearly $11 billion deficit in a state whose residents carry the biggest property-tax burden in the country

Corzine lands Wall Street and Princeton jobs
Former Gov. Jon  Corzine is headed back to the private sector after accepting a job as chairman and chief executive officer for futures and options broker MF Global Holdings. He's also snared a teaching gig at Princeton University Inquirer NYT NJNR AP

Christie calls for voluntary wage freezes by educators Gov. Christie says he has a way for school districts to avoid layoffs even after state and federal funding is slashed AP SHB

Gov. Christie signs pension cuts into law A package of public-employee pension and benefit cuts expected to save hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming fiscal year and billions over a longer period is signed into law by Gov. Christie, just minutes after winning legislative approval Inquirer SHB

Court documents: Dwek stashed $1M from authorities New court documents continue to flesh out the life of Solomon Dwek, the FBI informant behind last summer’s federal corruption and money-laundering sting. And with every revelation, his story becomes ever more outrageous than fiction Star-Ledger

> Beldini asks judge to overturn conviction Star-Ledger

New Jersey Environment

EPA Administrator Jackson touring NJ Superfund sites
Former New Jersey DEP commissioner and current federal EPA administrator Lisa Jackson returns to New
Jersey today to talk with residents in Pompton Lakes and Ringwood who have had to live with the health and other effects of contaminated sites in their towns
The Record Star-Ledger

Merlino relatives given A.C. reprieve Family ties to notorious mob figures are not enough to bar Joseph N. Merlino, his mother, and their construction company from working on Atlantic City casino construction sites, a hearing examiner for the NJ Casino Control Commission has ruled Inquirer AC Press

New Jersey a nest for many new eagles Fifty-six pairs of eagles are incubating eggs and six nests have hatched in New Jersey. Larissa Smith, assistant biologist with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, has released an update made possible by the efforts of numerous nest monitors who keep watch over the nests during breeding season Today's Sunbeam

Furor over Revel casino project's China connection The planned Revel casino in Atlantic City, whose developers are seeking $300 million in state tax breaks, would be built with a "significant" amount of materials from China and could get its final piece of financing from there as well Inquirer

Hotel owner pleads guilty to discharging sewage The owners of the Crowne Plaza in Secaucus pleaded guilty Monday to discharging sewage into the Hackensack River and will pay $75,000 to an environmental advocacy group that alerted authorities to the illegal dumping The Record Jersey Journal

Rutgers’ research subs taking aim at worlds’ oceans Fresh from piloting a remote submarine across the Atlantic Ocean from Little Egg Harbor, NJ to Spain, oceanographers at Rutgers University are taking their unmanned torpedoes to the poles to study climate change and the world’s oceans AC Press

Christie rescinds freeze on NJ affordable housing Gov. Chris Christie Friday rescinded a contested executive order halting the work of a state Council on Affordable Housing, saying the task force he set up to review housing policies had finished its work and submitted its report SHB NJNR Jersey Journal

Pennsylvania Politics

Bonusgate defendants’ lawyer accuses Corbett
A lawyer for two defendants in the Bonusgate corruption scandal is attempting to turn the tables on Attorney General Tom Corbett, accusing him in court documents, of the activities he is prosecuting Inquirer

Hoeffel backs spending more on transportation
Even though Pennsylvania needs to close a big budget gap for the next fiscal year, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Hoeffel proposes to double the $2.3 billion the state contributes to PennDot for highways and bridges Inquirer

Pennsylvania, other states sue to block health overhaul
As promised, within minutes of President Obama's signing the health-care bill, 13 state attorneys general - among them Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett - joined a suit to block the law on constitutional grounds Inquirer

Split Bonusgate verdicts for Veon, 2 others
Former Rep. Michael R. Veon, once among the most powerful politicians in the state, was convicted last night of masterminding a scheme to have public funds underwrite the campaigns of House Democrats Inquirer

Bonusgate verdicts a relief for Corbett backers
Republicans backing Attorney General Tom Corbett for governor had been growing more nervous every day that the deliberations dragged on Inquirer

Nutter wants to pitch waterfront vision to Wynn?
Las Vegas gaming chief Steve Wynn will get a special tutorial on Philadelphia's civic vision for the central Delaware River waterfront from someone who cares deeply about the issue: Mayor Nutter Inquirer

Pennsylvania Environment

DEP won't seek injunction to shut down Erie Coke
The state Department of Environmental Protection has decided not to seek a court injunction to shut down Erie Coke Corp. in the wake of a large emission of coke particles March 10 Erie-Times

Gas drilling moratorium advances in Harrisburg The full House approves an initial $29 billion state budget bill for fiscal 2010-11, reflecting Gov. Rendell's spending priorities with a big exception: using $180 million in oil and gas fund revenues to balance the budget Citizens Voice

Shale’s $$ impact on area unknown
With most of the nearby Marcellus Shale natural gas production occurring north and west of Luzerne County, the question is whether Greater Wilkes-Barre will benefit or be bypassed Times Leader

Opinion: Natural Gas tax: still a bad idea
Wayne Independent

Council opts to explore tax on natural gas
Wellsboro Borough Council decided Monday night not to adopt a resolution opposing a severance tax on natural gas as suggested by the Tioga County Association of Boroughs Williamsport Sun-Gazette

Gas drilling watchdog process in place A week ago the gas drilling industry was called out by the state Department of Environmental Protection for discoloring and distorting the texture of spring water running off a Cummings Township hillside Williamsport Sun-Gazette

Northern Tier hoping for more gas drilling jobs
Times Leader

Gas company seeks alternative Lake Twp. drilling site Although permits are already in place for a specific site, natural gas companies planning to drill an experimental well are seeking a new, larger township location Citizens Voice

Editorial: The risks of fracking The rush to drill for natural gas in Pennsylvania has put state officials in the unsettling position of playing catch-up with environmental regulations Inquirer

New York Nation World

State regulators reject Entergy plan to spin off reactors
State regulators say that the plan would be indebted from the start and financially unstable in the long run LoHud News

Ulster exec presses NYC officials on reservoirs County Executive says he hopes recent meetings with city officials will accomplish what years of legal cases have been unable to resolve in disputes over upstate reservoirs Kingston Freeman

3 Senators subpoenaed on Aqueduct casino deal
NY Times

Outcry as Transit Board readies service cuts
NY Times

Former chief inspector admits taking bribes for lies

11 firms plan wind farms in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie

Marcellus shale controversy leads to EPA study

Paying the price for fancy packaging
An emerging concept called "product stewardship" is the keystone of a draft report to be released soon by the state DEP Times Union


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