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  • Environmental Groups, Citizens File Legal Action Against Finalized NJDEP Coastal Rules | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center
    s impacts including sea level rise and increased storm surges allowing more high density development and expanding coastal centers Environment New Jersey alone delivered more than 19 400 comments from New Jersey citizens across the state opposing the new rules DEP has chosen fast and expansive development over smart coastal protection policies said Mike Pierro a citizen plaintiff and Eagleswood resident who lives along the Barnegat Bay DEP should have taken this opportunity after Sandy to try and protect the Shore restore natural systems and improve our resilience against future storm surges and sea level rise Instead this is a lost opportunity that sticks DEP s head in the sand The NJDEP coastal development rule claimed the regulations only worked to eliminate red tape and increase governmental transparency However the rules retreated from NJDEP s statutory responsibility to protect coastal communities which the lawsuit details including The NJDEP Coastal Zone Management Rule created a system called permit certification This system allows developers to automatically receive permits via an online system without any governmental review or public comment There are new loopholes for marinas which allow for restaurants hotels and commercial establishments to be built in high hazard areas The rule accepts surfaces that are non porous such as lawns crushed stone and compacted shells as permeable which leads to increased storm runoff and flooding There are no vulnerability assessments to reconsider growth centers at all which would slate locations that were flooded during Hurricane Sandy for increased development including Mystic Island Eagleswood Twp and Tuckerton as well as communities along the Delaware Bay Shore These recently adopted rules are a bigger disaster to our coast than Hurricane Sandy With these rules the Christie Administration has clearly sided with developers and special interests These rules will not only fail to protect us from future storms and sea level rise they will actually put more people and property in harm s way They are even adding growth areas that will be under water The Christie Administration has clearly ignored the science of climate change and sea level rise said Jeff Tittel director of the New Jersey Sierra Club The New Jersey Sierra Club is looking to get approval from their national organization to join the lawsuit which takes time and they hope to join at a later date Instead of strengthening coastal protections they are actually allowing developers to write their own special permits and adding close to fifty loopholes which will be enough to let storm surges come through It will allow paving over our environmentally sensitive coastal areas while building behind sea walls that won t work This is going to increase flooding water pollution and actually hurt water quality in our bays and beaches We can choose to protect our coast clean up our storm water restore natural systems Instead of protecting us from the next disaster it will make the next storm s impacts worse Other allied organizations although not officially plaintiffs on the case expressed concern with

    Original URL path: http://environmentnewjerseycenter.org/news/nje/environmental-groups-citizens-file-legal-action-against-finalized-njdep-coastal-rules (2016-05-01)
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  • Bridgegate in the Pines, Part Deux: Gov. Christie Fires Pinelands Commissioner Chairman Lohbauer | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center
    Doug O Malley director of Environment New Jersey The other shoe finally dropped Two years after Chairman Lohbauer bravely opposed South Jersey Gas pipeline he was fired for not toeing Gov Christie s party line Chairman Lobhauer s integrity and independence were top rate and it s the public loss not to have him chairing the gavel The South Jersey Gas pipeline saga has become Bridgegate in the Pines Gov Christie has worked to usurp the independence of the Pinelands Commission by firing Commissioners who had the courage to oppose the pipeline Now he s replaced Chairman Lohbauer who cast a deciding vote to block the pipeline two years ago The message is clear if you step out of line with Gov Christie s administration you will be shown the door Three out of the seven Pinelands Commissioners who opposed the pipeline have seen nominations to replace them in the last two years Pinelands Commissioner Leslie Ficcaglia had served for 18 years before she was replaced in 2014 as Cumberland County s representative Pinelands Commissioner Robert Jackson had served for more than a decade before being replaced by Commissioner Bob Barr a political ally of Sen Van Drew a pipeline supporter last March The Senate Judiciary Committee also heard testimony in the fall of 2014 from Dennis Roohr a Gov Christie nominee to replace Commissioner Darcy Green who also opposed the pipeline While that nomination failed with today s announcement four of the seven Pinelands Commissioners who opposed the South Jersey Pipeline have been targeted or removed from the Commission The pall of Gov Christie s attempts to rig the Pinelands Commission certainly has become heavier with the efforts of the Pinelands Commission Executive Director Nancy Wittenberg to bypass a Pinelands Commission vote and public hearing process regarding the reapplication

    Original URL path: http://environmentnewjerseycenter.org/news/nje/bridgegate-pines-part-deux-gov-christie-fires-pinelands-commissioner-chairman-lohbauer (2016-05-01)
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  • Environmental Groups Sue over Approval of South Jersey Gas Pinelands Pipeline | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center
    Wittenberg s decision allowed the Commission to hide behind having a final say and let the BPU to rubberstamp this damaging pipeline The BPU has no reason to approve this pipeline because they have not determined the pipeline is in the public interest These decisions must be examined in court and should be overturned Not only will South Jersey Gas pipeline destroy environmentally sensitive land threaten our water supply but it will keep a polluting power plant called B L England This plant will be the largest source of greenhouse gases in the region despite the PJM grid operator modeling for its shutdown By serving a power plant outside the Pinelands whose gas will go into the grid and not serve people living in the Pinelands this pipeline clearly goes against laws in place to protect the Pinelands The Pinelands National Reserve is an ecological oasis not a convenient conduit for gas pipelines to tear up The attempt by Pinelands Commission staff to circumvent the public and the Pinelands Commissioners was a sneak attack on the integrity of the Commission said Doug O Malley director of Environment New Jersey We are proud to legally challenge this unlawful coup with the New Jersey Sierra Club The Pinelands National Reserve was created to keep out fossil fuel pipelines and the Comprehensive Management Plan can t be ignored to sneak in rubberstamped projects The Christie Administration s BPU has a love affair with natural gas pipelines and we shouldn t be building pipelines through the Pinelands The Christie Administration lost their previous attempt to ram through the South Jersey Gas pipeline through the Pinelands Commission and preceded to boot off Commissioners who opposed the pipeline We urge the Superior Court to reject this pipeline mulligan to protect the integrity of the Pinelands Commission

    Original URL path: http://environmentnewjerseycenter.org/news/nje/environmental-groups-sue-over-approval-south-jersey-gas-pinelands-pipeline (2016-05-01)
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  • Report Shows New Jersey #1 in Off-Shore Wind Potential & Poised To Benefit Most from Federal Tax Credit Extension | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center
    of the Clean Power Plan off shore wind is a key component to meeting the state s renewable portfolio standard requirement of generating 22 5 renewable energy by 2021 The BPU has consistently delayed implementing an Off Shore Wind Renewable Energy Credit program and the latest update to the state Energy Master Plan downplayed the importance of off shore wind in meeting New Jersey s renewable energy benchmarks In November the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management BOEM successfully auctioned off the two wind energy areas off the Jersey Shore totaling 344 000 acres The off shore wind leases were awarded to Res Americas and U S Wind Inc and the final total sale price was nearly 2 million The wind energy area begins about seven nautical miles off the coast from Atlantic City shown here and extend 21 nautical miles off the Shore The omnibus budget bill which passed Congress and signed into law by President Obama right before Christmas included an unexpected boon for the clean energy industry with the five year extension of a key clean energy tax credit for the wind industry the production tax credit PTC as well as the investment tax credit ITC The PTC expired at the end of 2014 and now will be extended through the end of 2020 The ITC was slated to expire at the end of 2016 and will now be extended through 2022 New Jersey stands to benefit the most out of any Atlantic Coast state from the extension of the PTC and the report estimates that New Jersey would see the 7th highest increase in wind in the country because of the tax credit s extension Using Department of Energy modeling the upper scale of New Jersey s wind capacity could reach more than 1 950 megawatts of energy by 2020 The five year extension of tax credits for clean energy like wind power will be a welcome change for the renewable energy industry which has been hurt by uncertainty said O Malley The potential for offshore wind in New Jersey just got a big boost but the five year timeline means that endless delays can t continue The important of off shore wind for New Jersey was reinforced by the report s findings on New Jersey s wind power production in 2014 which of the state s with available data was ahead of only Delaware and Rhode Island New Jersey only produced 22 855 megawatt hours of wind power in 2014 which powered a little over 2 000 homes across the state Because of New Jersey s population density and wind patterns the only viable location for commercial scale off shore wind will be off the Jersey Shore To avoid the worst impacts of global warming we need to transition to 100 percent clean renewable energy said O Malley We need to do everything we can to develop abundant pollution free wind power off the Jersey Shore Environmental Impacts of U S Offshore Wind Energy Development in

    Original URL path: http://environmentnewjerseycenter.org/news/nje/report-shows-new-jersey-1-shore-wind-potential-poised-benefit-most-federal-tax-credit (2016-05-01)
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  • Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center
    in the Wings In a terse interagency letter the New Jersey Department of Environment Protection NJDEP announced that it was terminating the permits for the construction of a massive 225 000 cubic yard dredge spoil dump adjacent to residential homes the Barnegat Bay and the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Eagleswood Ocean County The action was directly related to a nine year struggle by Eagleswood citizens and a joint lawsuit filed by Environment New Jersey the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Eagleswood citizens in late September 2014 to block the construction of the dredge spoil dump Keep Reading News Release Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center Stockton Off Shore Wind Energy Forum To Spotlight the Road Ahead For Wind Off the Jersey Shore with Wind Developers and BOEM Deputy Director Keynoting Forum Today s Off Shore Wind Energy Forum hosted by Stockton University and co sponsored by Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center the Stockton University Sustainability Trust and the Business Network for Off Shore Wind kicks off after the U S Bureau of Ocean Energy Management s BOEM federal sale last November of two leases for offshore wind energy development of 344 000 acres The forum will address how New Jersey fits into the Department of Interior s vision for expanding off shore wind on the East Coast the development plans for each off shore wind developer and the opportunities for New Jersey to become a leader of an offshore wind energy industry Keep Reading News Release Environment New Jersey NJ Legislature Acts To Move on Off Shore Wind On Monday the New Jersey State Assembly passed a proposal that could help resusitate efforts to bring off shore wind to New Jersey The proposal co sponsored by Senator Bob Smith D Middlesex and Senator Jim Whelan D Atlantic requires the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to reopen a 30 day period for Fishermen s Energy to resubmit an application for a demonstration off shore wind project off Atlantic City The demonstration project would be a five turbine 25 megawatt project that would help provide clean energy jobs to the state while reducing harmful global warming pollution Keep Reading News Release Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center Big Oil Beware the Ides of March Obama Administration Drops Atlantic Coast Drilling Plan That Endangered Jersey Shore Atlantic Coast communities won a major victory today when the Obama Administration abandoned its plans to open the Atlantic seaboard to offshore oil and gas drilling for the first time in decades Announced last January the initial plan put beaches at risk from Florida to New Jersey endangered marine life and would worsen our climate crisis Keep Reading News Release Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center 15 Years of Declining Investment in Public Transit Has Harmed New Jersey s Straphangers Economy Environment The New Jersey For Transit coalition released a new report Stuck at the Station to discuss the devastating consequences of 15 years of declining investment in New Jersey

    Original URL path: http://environmentnewjerseycenter.org/home (2016-05-01)
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  • Christmas Comes Early For South Jersey Gas: BPU Rubberstamps Pinelands Pipeline, Puts Fossil Fuel in the Stockings of the Public, Local Towns and Pinelands Commissioners | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center
    pipeline that tears a massive ecological scar through the heart of the Pines and create the largest global warming polluter in South Jersey in a floodplain Even worse today s vote means South Jersey Gas gambit is one step closer to success Nearly two years after the South Jersey Gas was defeated by a deadlocked vote at the Pinelands Commission the Pinelands Commission has been fully removed from deciding the fate of the pipeline the public has been shut out of the decision making process and even the towns where the pipeline will run are being left out Today s BPU vote only reaffirms the Christie Administration s love affair with natural gas and arrogance at ignoring the increase in carbon pollution from approving another gas pipeline On the heels of the warmest year on record and the warmest December in New Jersey on record and the historic Paris climate agreement Gov Christie continues to assert that the climate is not in crisis and that the climate is always changing Notably BPU staff rejected any submissions outside of evidence presented by South Jersey Gas or the Christie Administration The decision to dismiss other evidentiary submissions including those of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance as merely opinions shows that BPU tilted the playing field Today s hearing was a kangaroo court presented by the BPU The decision supposedly based on a narrow MLUL zoning issue included a lengthy defense of the South Jersey Gas pipeline through the Pinelands and relied heavily on the submissions of South Jersey Gas There was no independent analysis of the project was considered or referenced no reference to climate impacts or carbon pollutions and no reference to the Pinelands Commission being shut out of a process they deliberated on for months more than two years There was

    Original URL path: http://environmentnewjerseycenter.org/news/nje/christmas-comes-early-south-jersey-gas-bpu-rubberstamps-pinelands-pipeline-puts-fossil-fuel (2016-05-01)
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  • Clean water wins as Congress rejects budget rider | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center
    statement Due to overwhelming public support the Clean Water Rule has now withstood every attack that polluters could muster in Congress the Barrasso bill the Congressional Review Act measure and now an attempted budget rider Polluters and their allies have played all their dirty water cards in Congress and lost The Clean Water Rule restores protections of the Clean Water Act for streams that help provide drinking water to 117 million Americans along with millions of acres of wetlands The rule is vital to the health of waterways from the Great Lakes to the Chesapeake Bay to Puget Sound No wonder more than 800 000 Americans including mayors business owners farmers and doctors have expressed support for this historic clean water policy Our special thanks to all who stood in adamant defense of clean water throughout these budget negotiations from champions like Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Boxer to Democratic leadership to President Obama Thanks to their strong stands polluters gained no new ground on clean water in the omnibus Americans love our rivers lakes bays and streams They re where we swim fish canoe kayak or just enjoy the scenery They supply us with clean drinking water Yet our

    Original URL path: http://environmentnewjerseycenter.org/news/ame/clean-water-wins-congress-rejects-budget-rider (2016-05-01)
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  • Why we need the Clean Water Rule | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center
    12 million gallons of mining waste per day into Blounts Creek The creek flows into the Pamlico River which is known for fishing and camping In response two groups asked an administrative law judge to review the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality NC DEQ permitting decision The judge ruled that the groups didn t have a proper legal basis to challenge the permit Without the federal Clean Water Act that would be the end of the story But NC DEQ implements its permitting program under the Act and so it is required to adhere to its standards including those governing the rights of citizens to challenge pollution permits If those standards aren t followed EPA can strip the state s delegated authority to implement the law and start enforcing it directly Last week EPA s regional administrator warned North Carolina that the state s failure to allow citizens groups to challenge pollution permits could lead EPA to intervene and enforce the Clean Water Act directly State officials were quick to label the whole episode a misunderstanding but EPA sure has their attention now And needless to say North Carolina is not alone Groups in Wisconsin are urging EPA to intervene because of that state s systemic enforcement problems and we ve seen similar petitions in Illinois and Virginia among others Powerful polluters almost always prefer to deal with state officials who often lack the resources or political will to confront them The Clean Water Act provides a federal backstop to make sure polluters can be held accountable And that s why defending the Clean Water Rule which restores the Act s protections to half the nation s streams and 20 million acres of wetlands is so important Dec 11 is the deadline for Congress to pass appropriations bills and

    Original URL path: http://environmentnewjerseycenter.org/blogs/environment-america-blog/ame/why-we-need-clean-water-rule (2016-05-01)
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