Tag Archive: environment

News Roundup

Lots of energy and environment-related news today.

  • A panel commissioned to study the effects of offshore wind farms recommended the creation of an up to 80 turbine, 350 megawatt wind farm. Call in the Waaaaaambulance! A councilman from Ship Bottom complained: “I think it would detract from the property values of the oceanfront people.” Ironic that the most vocal complaints about property values come from those whose homes would be lost first if ocean levels rose even a few feet.
  • Menendez and Kean Jr argued yesterday over who took more money from the oil industry. If either campaign would like to divest itself of this dirty, dirty money, please note that we accept paypal.
  • The two also sparred over who drives the most earth-friendly cars. Kean accused Menendez of “criss-crossing the state in a three-ton gas-guzzling SUV that gets 15 miles per gallon,” while a spokesman for Menendez responded that the Senator uses a Chrysler sedan or Nissan Altima. Kean’s people say that he will use a hybrid Ford Escape SUV starting next week. Starting next week? You know, campaign stunts work better when you don’t make it so obvious that you’re reacting to the political winds.
  • Rising gas prices have led to an 11 percent increase in NJ Transit ridership since the start of the year.
  • After receiving 1400 emails from upset residents, Corzine decided to abandon his suggestion to allow self-service gas pumps and lowering the speed limit from 65 to 55. Smart move. By comparison, only 200 residents have emailed the governor about the proposed penny sales tax increase.
  • A new state initiative calling for energy-efficient housing and expanded renewable energy use in housing construction will be announced today. Commissioner Susan Bass Levin noted: “New Jersey is the most crowded, congested state, very dependent on foreign oil – long-term it brings down the cost of utilities.”
  • Applebees will be opening up shop in Newark and will become “its first national family-style restaurant.” Baby steps.
  • Paul Aronsohn’s campaign had it’s Sussex County kickoff event in Scott Garrett’s home town late last week where about 75 people showed up.
  • News Round-up for Wednesday, April 19

    News Round-up for Wednesday, April 19th

    Mike Ferguson’s Environmental Record Scorecards Very Low

    Last month we noted that the League of Conservation Voters, a group that had endorsed Rep. Mike Ferguson in 2002, now rates him as one of the worst environmental members of the House with a 17 percent rating.  His first year rating of 71 percent appears to be an aberation, since he has never had a positive score since.

    Now we find that LCV is not alone.  The NJ Public Interest Research Group scorecard for 2005 is out, and Ferguson receives only a 29 percent score.  His lifetime score is just 34 percent.

    Crossposted from Dump Mike

    News Round-up for Wednesday, March 1

    News Round-up for Wed. March 1, 2006:

    • U.S. District Judge Jose Linares is scheduled to hear New Jersey’s lawsuit requesting an investigation of the deal to allow United Arab Emirates-based Dubai World Ports to take over of some U.S. port operations, including operations at Port Newark. Gov. Jon S. Corzine is also seeking permission to inspect documents given to a federal committee reviewing the deal. Of course, Bush’s mind is made up and says his position isn’t changing.
    • The citizens’ group Stop Renewal Of Oyster Creek will get the public hearing they wanted on the safety of the of a metal liner that helps keep radiation in the reactor core. The nuclear power plant is licenced through 2009 and seeking to renew its licence until 2029.
    • Yesterday the Democratic State Committee agreed to pay a record $255,000 fine, levied by the State Election Law Enforcement Commission, for being late in reporting of contributions during the end of the 2001 election year. Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D- Union) said the mistakes were caused largely by an overwhelmed computer system; the Democrats raised a record $28 million during that election year.
    • Assemblyfolk Bill Baroni, Jennifer Beck and Linda Stender urged Rutgers University to retain Douglass College as a separate institution and not to combine it with the University’s other colleges. Assemblywoman Stender has drafted a resolution to that effect, AR131. The companion bill, SR26, is scheduled for a committee vote on Thursday, while Douglass grads and students plan a rally at the statehouse.
    • The NJ Supreme Court unanimously upheld the state’s standards for water clean-up at sites polluted by industry. Federal Pacific Electric Co. had challenged the standards in court, saying they violated the 1997 Brownfield Act, but were shot down. Score one for the environment!
    • The National Alliance on Mental Illness gave Our Fair State a C for its services to the mentally ill. They noted former Gov. Codey’s improvements to the system during his time as governor, but said they are simply good starting points. The nation as a whole recieved a grade of D.
    • The child-care industry in N.J. had a direct economic impact of $2.55 billion in 2005, according to a report released yesterday by the New Jersey Child Care Economic Impact Council. The impact is more than the revenues of the agriculture, scientific research and development, and hotel industries in New Jersey, and employ more people than many industries such as telecommunications, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and transportation.
    • There was one winner in last night’s $267 million Mega Millions drawing, and the ticket was sold in… Ohio. Better luck next time, NJ lottery fans.

    News Round-up

    News Round-up for Wednesday, February 22, 2006:

    • The State Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee started picking through the Medicaid budget yesterday in search of savings. The Committee proposed a new office of oversight for Medicaid spending, which is currently split between the Department of Health and Senior Services and the Department of Human Services.
      • Governor Corzine stated yesterday that he wouldn’t consider privatizing the Turnpike to assist the failing Transportation Trust Fund. He stated his current choice will be to (sigh) borrow more money and refinance the existing debtload instead. The Governor said that this would not be the only facet of his plan but nothing else has been stated yet.
      • Controversey is swirling around Governor Corzine’s pick for state treasurer. Bradley Abelow has been accused by businessmen who say they were victims of a short-selling scheme by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., where Abelow was a board trustee. Abelow has stated that “lawsuits against DTCC “have been largely dismissed or withdrawn and have nothing to do with me personally or my service on the corporation board.””
      • Lawyers are arguing that Our Fair State’s new rules for pay-to-play restrictions are confusing. At a hearing yesterday for the Election Law Enforcement Commission, Dover Twp. (Ocean) attorney Garry Mundy testified about ill-defined terms, questionable timeframes for permissable donations, and whether local ordanances supersede or enhance the state’s ban, among other issues.
      • Acting Environmental Commissioner Lisa Jackson is requesting public hearings on safety of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. There are concerns with corrosion of liners at the site, vulnerablity to aircraft attacks, and monotoring and management of aging equipment. Excelon submitted an application for renewal of the power plant’s licence last summer; if renewed in 2009, the plant will remain licenced until 2029.
      • U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings makes her first visit to Our Fair State today. She will be speaking at Fairleigh Dickinson University then visiting the acclaimed Robert Treat Academy Charter School in Newark. She is not expected to visit any public schools where Children have been Left Behind.
      • NJ Transit is reviewing just how many people will use a proposed Monmouth-Ocean-Middlesex rail line. Let’s hope they have better luck predicting ridership there than they did on the RiverLine.
      • The Star-Ledger editorial weighs in on the port deal with UAE-owned Dubai Ports World. Bush’s defense of his position on this deal? “Trust us.”
      • Have you heard the Sen. Menendez podcast interview? You can subscribe to BlueJersey’s podcast so you never miss one!

        Tough challenges when you renew and reuse

          Ooooh that smell
          Can’t you smell that smell

            Lynyrd Skynyrd

        “Organic recycler faces regulatory wrath” is the headline of this article in Monday’sTimes of Trenton, but you might wonder why after reading the opening paragraphs:

        Eastern Organic Resources has big plans for the decomposing fruit, vegetables and grass clippings it collects at its composting plant in Springfield, Burlington County, hoping to enclose the pungent piles and generate enough methane gas to power a 5-megawatt cogeneration plant at neighboring McGuire Air Force Base.

        If the company wins approval from regulators, it would be the first commercial food waste composter in the state to produce both soil and fuel, solid waste experts say.

        Eastern Organic’s plans sound like a win-win scenario. But read on and you’ll
        understand the problem in a story that highlights the pitfalls and promise of
        recycling and renewable energy.

        Ferguson’s Polluted Slide in Washington

        We have long maintained on this site that Congressman Michael Ferguson presents a moderate face to the 7th Congressional District, but that when he goes down to Washington DC he removes the mask and votes as the true right wing conservative he truly is.  For a time, he could get away with it and even fool progressive organizations into believing they could work with him. 

        As a result, early in his tenure Ferguson received endorsements from groups like the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), a non-partisan organization that endorses Democrats and Republicans.  In 2001, LCV gave Ferguson an impressive 71 percent rating for his first year in Congress and endorsed his reelection in 2002.

        Then things changed, and Ferguson’s true voting patten emerged.  After starting well, Ferguson finished his first full term with a lowly 59 percent rating.  His second term score dropped even farther, slipping to 35 percent over 2003 and 2004 and losing the LCV endorsement.

        Today the LCV ratings for 2005 came out and, as predicted last week, his environmental record plummetted to a lowly 17 percent

        LCV 2005 Environmental Scorecard is out

        The NJ delegation gets the following scores from The League of Conservation Voters:

        Senate:
        Lautenberg  100%
        Corzine  80%  (for missing votes)

        House:
        1.  Andrews:  83%
        2.  LoBiondo:  78%
        3.  Saxton:  72%
        4.  Smith:  78%
        5.  Garrett:  11%
        6.  Pallone:  100%
        7.  Ferguson:  17%
        8.  Pascrell:  89%
        9.  Rothman:  94%
        10. Payne:  83%
        11. Frelinghuysen  33%
        12. Holt  100%
        13. Menendez:  100% 

        The standouts with miserable voting records on the environment are Garrett and Ferguson.  Frelinghuysen’s is pretty lousy too.