Tag Archive: njdep

News Roundup and Open Thread for Thursday, August 8, 2015

Tonight at 9:00pm is Fox’s debate between the so-called top ten Republican presidential hopefuls, and the winner will be: drum roll … Fox Corporation which will gain huge publicity, viewership and ad revenue. Will the Fox questioners ask Christie about his record in NJ? How will he fare? Do we really care?

Lower amount needed in short-term loans may bode well for NJ economy: “Somewhat brighter fiscal outlook may put pressure on Christie to accelerate payments into pension fund.”

NJ Hospitals lead nation in penalties for high readmission rates: Federal agency penalizes problematic readmission rates by reducing Medicare reimbursements.

Anger in portions of Jersey City’s African American community: results in former Gov. Jim McGreevey being kicked out of a meeting because they were not consulted on the location for a new prisoner re-entry center.

New Jersey won’t increase the weight of state tests (10%) on teacher evaluations in the coming school year: a relief for educators whose reviews are based in part on students’ scores.

NJDEP wants to allow PSEG Nuclear to continue drawing water from the Delaware River: Environmentalists argue that recycling cooling towers are needed to stop the killing of large numbers of marine life.  

News Roundup and Open Thread for Thursday, July 30, 2015

A heat wave continues today: stay cool and hydrated.

Despite an appeal to the Appellate Court from environmental groups: oral arguments start this morning on the NJDEP v. Exxon settlement case. Among others in protest, Sen. Ray Lesniak will submit his statement indicating, “The court should reject Christie’s settlement because it violates laws of the State of New Jersey, in addition to being unfair, unreasonable and inadequate.”

To dig or not to dig: Christie says he and Gov. Cuomo are committed to building a new trans-Hudson tunnel and will meet with the US Secretary of Transportation shortly. Christie has his demands. He, Cuomo, and the Port Authority are looking to the feds for substantial funding. With a dysfunctional congress that now can not even agree on how to refund the depleted US transportation account, this plan could be a tunnel too far. However, any news seems like good news for NJ Transit riders who just went through a week in hell.

Sen. Sweeney wants a $1 trillion federal loan program to rescue the states’ public worker pensions. A nice idea, but is this an impossible dream?

Christie’s vanity campaign: Real Clear Politics today indicates he is 10th (3.2) with Kasich now ahead of him in the national polls, 13th (2.3) in Iowa, 7th (5.0) in New Hampshire and 9th (5.7) in South Carolina.

Christie’s campaign proposes to sharply limit federal health care funding under Medicaid: NJPP says, “It would result in the loss of about $15 billion in federal funding for New Jersey over eight years.”  

President Christie’s’ choice for Supreme Court: would be a Samuel Alito clone. No surprise there, but it makes one wonder after so many harsh pronouncements on the road what he will espouse when he returns to his governor’s job in blue New Jersey.

Super PAC’s start to dominate races in NJ: POLITICO: Four of the five Democrats considering a run for governor in 2017 have super PACs. There was even one for a town council race in Parsippany.

Super storm Sandy lingering effects: slow rebuilding of homes and businesses, long insurance battles and mold that refuses to die – have taken a toll on the mental health of residents in its path.

Rutgers to give stipends to scholarship athletes: Under new NCAA rules they will receive up to $4,900.

Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh coming to New Jersey: The Haskell Invitational horse race takes place at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport Sunday. Don’t expect to find hotel space anywhere near there this weekend.

How slavery was written into New Jersey’s DNA: Salon’s fascinating early history of slavery in our state – including Mendham Township.  

My Lorax Moment Update #2

Another update on my Lorax story.  Bergenfield is getting more interesting by the minute. Now I understand the Chinese curse – “May you live in interesting times.”

At this moment, residents who have been writing letters in the newspaper opposing the destruction of Whittaker Park by the PAL under the direction of Councilman Gillman, have been subject to “visits” from the police department and also threatening phone calls.  Fortunately, us Bergenfield types don’t scare easy.

Flooding 101 – A Textbook Case

There was a lot of good stuff posted over the Labor Day weekend. Thanks, Carol – promoted by Rosi

The Township of Wayne is a classic example of what is wrong with municipal stormwater management in New Jersey. The fact that the town floods regularly enough that their OEM didn’t feel the need to help evacuate their residents after Irene, says it all. (One pregnant woman with two little boys was reduced to sleeping in her car.)  They are used to flooding – but they shouldn’t be.  What water flows from Wayne into the Passaic then hits next door neighbor Paterson just downstream.  Paterson is not a new city.  It was the very first Industrial city – designed by Alexander Hamilton to take advantage of the natural flow over the Paterson Falls.  In fact the Paterson Falls used to flow much much heavier before industry siphoned off some of the water to power the city’s factories.  If you look over Paterson – it is a beautiful skyline, old but there is no smog – because what powers industry here is not coal or oil – but water.  Paterson has been around dealing with the Passaic river and using it well for hundreds of years.  What changed? The suburbs around it.  Their upstream neighbors like Wayne who apparently care little for those downstream who take the brunt of their floodwaters.  

Over my lifetime, whenever flooding was mentioned – it was always about Wayne – even as far back as 1990 when shopping mall building was going strong. Nobody ever mentioned Paterson.  I suspect looking back now – people will refer to Paterson as NJ’s slow-motion Katrina.  I am honestly thrilled that Paterson, where I once lived, is finally getting the attention it deserves and a Presidential visit.  It could sorely use the help.  But about Wayne, because Wayne and towns like it deserve a lot of the blame.

No to Crossbows for Killing and Wounding New Jersey Birdlife

Written by Susan Russell

For swans, ducks, geese, gulls and solitary herons, it is the season of peace, a respite from the guns of winter. Unafraid, sords of mallards rest on our beaches, the hens and their little ones a life-affirming delight for children and parents alike.

Unless we citizens act by June 30, next winter will bring unusually cruel punishment for our feathered friends. The New Jersey Fish and Game Council has proposed removing the longstanding prohibition on crossbows, once feared by armored cavalry during the Crusades, so that shooters may use the archaic weapon against 16-ounce “game” birds.

The proposed regulation is inhumane and should be withdrawn.

Blunt-tipped arrows for shooting birds “in flight” carry “tremendous hitting power.” A hunter boasted of “throughing [sic] a squirrel ten feet.”[1] Blunt arrows cause “tremendous damage” to the bird. Blunts are outfitted with unsporting paraphernalia: special bird points entangle the bird as she flies into a wire harness attached to the end of the arrow. It is legal to shoot birds resting on water and land. For shooting sitting ducks, razor-tipped broadhead arrows presumably may be used (the regulation is silent).

more below…

The Making of Mordor

Recently I was invited to be interviewed on a radio program called NewlyGreens with Connie and Greg Mattison. The topic was Hydraulic Fracturing – the natural gas drilling technique that may soon make the Gulf Oil Disaster seem tame by comparison.

http://newlygreens.com/podcast…

What terrifies me as a civil engineering water resources expert, is this practice is turning beautiful PA  and other areas of our beautiful USA into Mordor.

Many NJ folks get their drinking water from the Delaware River.  However, the Delaware River Basin Commission doesn’t want to wait  for the EPA to finish their study on fracking.  They want to let PA Drilll Baby Drill even if it means it poisons drinking water for people in PA, New Jersey and ultimately, Delaware.

In NY state – if this practice is allowed to happen – the drinking water for NEW YORK CITY is in very real danger of contamination.  That will affect millions of people.  I know the Republicans in Congress could care less what folks in NYC are breathing (witness their heartless delay on the 911 responders bill) let alone what their water is like, but the ramifications of the reckless destruction of our water supplies in the Delaware River Basin will be nothing short of catastrophic.

Please check out the interview and the links which give more information about this.

Open Letter to Chris Christie on Hydraulic Fracturing

promoted by Rosi

I am a licensed Water Resources Professional Civil Engineer in NJ. I am also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. I work hard every day in my small business to make sure that water resources are protected during construction projects. I find it unconscionable that the process known as Hydraulic Fracturing is allowed to continue immune from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The devastating result of this technique negates all of the efforts of my profession over all these decades.  (Find out why below the fold)

Hunterdon County is last in recycling… AGAIN

They should send Warren County a thank you for breaking up the streak:

Hunterdon County had the lowest recycling rate in New Jersey for seven of the eight years between 1999 and 2006, the last available statistical year.

And the county can thank Warren County in 2001, when Hunterdon was second worst, for not allowing it to be a clean sweep.

Just where do they stand in relation to others:

The state has a goal of recycling at least 50 percent of garbage. The statewide average in 2006, the latest statistical year, was just under 55 percent.

Hunterdon County’s rate was 35.3 percent.

Somerset County’s rate was 46 percent, while Middlesex County’s rate of 64.5 percent was tops in New Jersey.

Not even close.  Here is the complete breakdown of recycling by county.  It’s not like Hunterdon has to do it all on their own either because the state is offering financial assistance.  It’s has been short sighted on their part because other counties that have chose to push recycling realized economic benefits. Hunterdon County has 180 days to address the problem, but they’ve already gone years without much of a change.

the great Zannoni

While flipping through the Spring 2007 issue of PEEReview (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibilty) http://www.peer.org/… this blurb caught my eye:

For the past 15 years Dennis Zannoni has been the top nuclear engineer at the NJDEP.  Now he has been reassigned to a cubicle without a phone or internet access.  It seems Zannoni questioned the expertise and objectivity of a panel assembled by the NRC to advise on the re-licensing application for the troubled Oyster Creek nuclear power plant.  During a break in the panel meeting, Zannoni remarked that half of the reviewers are nuclear industry executives.  A verbal complaint by an unnamed NRC staffer landed Zannoni in this internal exile…

While I’m not commenting on the Oyster Creek issue, this little anecdote seems to have two villains.  First, it’s no surprise that the federal NRC defers to the regulated industry during Bushtime.  This brand of odious behavior has become “normal” during the past six years.  What is surprising, however, is NJDEP’s treatment of Zannoni.  I expected something better under the leadership of Gov. Corzine and DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson.