Tag Archive: environment

Washington Township firefighters go green

They’re doing their part for the environment:

The Robbinsville Professional Fire Fighters Local 3786 have purchased two TerraPass carbon offsets for our front line emergency response vehicles, Engine 40 and Ambulance 140-10, in the hope of sparking community awareness about the seriousness of global warming and climate change.

Robbinsville’s career fire fighters are doing their part to reduce the adverse impact of their emergency vehicles on the planet.

They say they are the “first public safety entity” in the country to “purchase TerraPass carbon offsets for front line apparatus.” The firefighters are leading by example by lowering the thermostat, using more efficient light bulbs and more. They created this video to tell their story and inspire others to do their part for the environment:

New Jersey Carbon Emissions: Check your local power plant now

You may have seen the new stories last week on CARMA, Carbon Monitoring for Action, which aims to make data on power plants worldwide easily available.  Their concern is carbon dioxide which is a major greenhouse gas.  You can look up individual power plants or geographic regions.  They have estimated carbon emissions and energy output for every plant.  Intensity is pounds of CO2 emitted per megawatt-hour of electricity produced.  High numbers are bad, and earn red symbols on their maps.  New Jersey‘s map looks like this:

New Jersey Carbon Emissions

In terms of intensity, the rankings are

United States 1404 > New Jersey 785 > Salem County 267

Ha, Salem County!  It might be minor in terms of state population, but the three nuclear reactors (the green circle in the southwest) almost make it carbon paradise, earning it a blue pentagon.  Most of the carbon emissions are from the Carneys Point plant (the westernmost red circle), which is operated by Cogentrix Energy, and owned by (I’d never have guessed) Goldman Sachs!  (Does Goldman Sachs control everything in New Jersey?)  Why not check through your local power plants and find out what is going on there? 

Governor Corzine has helped found the International Carbon Action Partnership.  We’ll soon learn about his strategy for the future in New Jersey Energy Master Plan.

Should small trucks still be allowed in cars-only lanes?

The cars-only lanes on the Turnpike and other highways exist, in large part, because many drivers of cars find the decreased visibility of driving with trucks to be less safe and comfortable. Yet drivers of vehicles that block vision of what’s in front of them almost as effectively as semis do are allowed. I’m talking about those SUV, pickups, and in rarer case minvans that are so big they get emissions and/or tax breaks for being trucks.

I need to do more research before I’d absolutely commit to this position, but I think if you’re big enough to get perks for being a truck, you don’t belong in cars-only spaces.

That’s not a position politicians can lead on. It might get majority support, but at least at first, those opposed would likely to care a lot more. So if a change is to happen, we need to push from the outside.

An Exodus from New Jersey: Why?

A recent study by Rutgers University shows residents of the Garden State are leaving in large numbers.  More than 72,000 residents left New Jersey than arrived here just last year alone.  As a result, tax revenue was reduced by nearly $700 million while New Jersey’s economy lost approximately $10 billion in personal income because of the exodus.  The emigration is likely to continue and will only swell budget deficits in the years ahead.  While Governor Corzine has stated that the exodus is the result of retirements and that is true to at least some extent, there is much more at play:

If It Sounds Too Good to be True …

On Monday, Hopeful shared the news that the Justice Department had settled an eight-year-old case brought by the EPA, eight states (including NJ), and environmental groups seeking to force Ohio-based utility American Electric Power to reduce emissions from its coal-fired power plants. “Now, any settlement by the Bush administration should be examined carefully,” Hopeful warned, “but the initial reporting is good.”

Hopeful’s healthy skepticism no doubt was rooted in BushCo’s history of giving polluters a pass, and of giving a little with one hand while taking a lot more with the other.

Sure enough, a closer examination of the “history-making settlement” hailed  by environmentalists reveals that the deal represents “a significant victory for the power industry.” From today’s WaPo:

Buried in paragraph 133 of the consent decree, in which the utility agreed to install $4.6 billion in pollution-control measures at 16 existing plants and pay $75 million in penalties, is a section that assures AEP that the government will not pursue any action stemming from the “modification” of these plants between now and Dec. 31, 2018. The EPA has inserted similar language in other settlements.

As I understand it, the settlement gives AEP the green light to upgrade plants and expand output without being subject to “New Source Review” and higher clean-air standards.

The language of the settlement indicates that the administration has not wavered in its distaste for a Clinton-era policy of using the law to force power plants to upgrade their pollution controls whenever they significantly update or expand a plant. That marks a significant victory for the power industry, which has strenuously opposed the “New Source Review,” saying that it penalizes them for efficiency improvements that
ultimately benefit consumers and the environment.

The lesson is one that Hopeful obviously grasped: Never breathe easy with BushCo in charge.

The NJ-39 Series: meet Joe Ariyan

–  By Stephen Yellin

In my last two articles on New Jersey’s 39th Legislative District, I discussed why the Republican incumbent, Gerald “Gerry” Cardinale was too extreme to represent a rapidly changing district (towards the left, I might add), and why it’s time to fire him. Today, I want to introduce you all to his Democratic opponent, and why he should be hired to serve in the New Jersey State Senate. His name is Joe Ariyan, and he’ll be an excellent State Senator for New Jersey. His life and credentials will tell you why.

My previous articles on NJ-39:

Salem County Smart Growth Plan battles

The Salem County Freeholders held a special meeting and approved a letter appealing the state’s Smart Growth decisions.  As Today’s Sunbeam reports:

The appeal contained information from Carneys Point, Oldmans and Pennsville townships supporting why areas changed by the state to PA5 environmentally sensitive should be switched back to either PA1 or PA2, which have more opportunities for development.

All of the proposed changes could prevent more than 11,000 acres from being developed, which would mostly affect the Smart Growth corridor on the western side of the county along Interstate 295.

I would think that the letter would be posted at the Salem County website, but I can’t find it.  TheCross Acceptance Information and Updates stops in April 2007, but does have great information.  Here are small jpg maps comparing the 2001 plan to the 2006 plan:

2001 MAP 2006 MAP
2001 Smart Growth 2006 Smart Growth

The issue is the huge amount of land along I-295 which suddenly turned pale green, which means they are now PA5. It’s easy to see why this caused such a fuss!  Video on the flip…

Al Gore in New Jersey

Here’s part one of Al Gore in New Jersey, mostly talking about Governor Corzine.

And part two where Gore talks about Live Earth, the Global Warming Response Act, and New Jersey.

In part three, Gore talks about New Jersey’s role in combating global warming.

Mr. 12-1: Scott Garrett denies Global Warming.

Yesterday, Scott Garrett stood alone among New Jersey Congressmen when he voted to eliminate language from an appropriations bill expressing the sense of Congress that global warming is a real problem policymakers must address.  Joe Barton (R-Big Oil) offered the amendment striking the following language from the Department of the Interior appropriations bill:

SEC. 501. (a) The Congress finds that–

  • (1) greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere are causing average temperatures to rise at a rate outside the range of natural variability and are posing a substantial risk of rising sea-levels, altered patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation, and increased frequency and severity of floods, droughts, and wildfires;
  • (2) there is a growing scientific consensus that human activity is a substantial cause of greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere; and
  • (3) mandatory steps will be required to slow or stop the growth of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
  •   (b) It is the sense of the Congress that there should be enacted a comprehensive and effective national program of mandatory, market-based limits and incentives on emissions of greenhouse gases that slow, stop, and reverse the growth of such emissions at a rate and in a manner that (1) will not significantly harm the United States economy; and (2) will encourage comparable action by other nations that are major trading partners and key contributors to global emissions.

    Twelve New Jersey Congressmen voted against the amendment and to preserve the language in the bill.  Scott Garrett, true to his anti-science, anti-New Jersey record, voted for the Barton amendment.

    Garrett also voted to drastically cut funding for the EPA, a position he shared with not a single other Republican from either New York or New Jersey.  Then, after missing a vote, he gave New Jersey the finger when he once voted yet again in favor oil drilling off the Jersey shore.

    NJ-05 may be a Republican district, but Scott Garrett’s no mainstream Republican.  He’s so far right, he puts his ideology ahead of his constituents’ interest, and he’s the laughingstock of the delegation.  North Jersey needs a congressmen who puts New Jersey ahead of big oil, which is why Scott Garrett needs to go.