Tag Archive: Celeste Riley

In This Race Between Christie and O’Malley, I’m Rooting for Christie

Take a break from the Tampa Christiepalooza, and read about an issue that will affect our economy and our overall health…

There’s a chance that Chris Christie may face Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley in the race for President in 2016. That’s a race I’d work hard for an O’Malley win. But there’s another race – today – between these two men, and that’s one that I’d like Chris Christie to win, even though he’s not acting like he’s even in the game.

The race I’m referring to is to become the predominant state for the offshore wind manufacturing and support industry. The Atlantic Ocean is a ripe territory to harness this energy, both in terms of favorable wind patterns and proximity to millions of consumers. In this race, O’Malley is preparing his state to reap these economic benefits while Christie has hitched his energy wagon to the Koch Brothers and the “drill, baby, drill” GOP platform.

Two years ago, Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA), but his administration has been stagnant on providing regulations and support to make any progress. Today, at the site of the Paulsboro Marine Terminal, elected officials and the Director of the Sierra Club held a press conference to urge the governor to take action.

The site, across the river from Philadelphia International Airport, is 193 acres, formerly an oil tank storage facility. It’s been remediated and is ready for economic development.

Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club opened the press conference, and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Assemblyman John Burzichelli, and Assemblywoman Celeste Riley spoke. Sweeney indicated that there are developers interested in the site, adjacent to the Delaware River and major overland highways, but nothing can happen until the governor directs his bureaucracy to issue the required permits and regulations. Once this happens, several thousand jobs will be created. These are manufacturing jobs to build the turbines, blades, and other portions of the offshore wind farms, and support jobs for transportation and distribution. But if we wait too long, other states like Maryland may beat us in becoming the center of wind energy on the east coast.

I spoke with Senator Sweeney right after the press conference – his remarks are below. The entire press conference may be found below the fold. I’ll also be posting my interview with Jeff Tittel on a number of other environmental issues later this week.

New Jersey Leaders Still Against Delaware River Dredging

Once again, South Jersey finds itself in a constitutional dispute anbout its border.Yesterday, the Army Corps of Engineers announced it is going ahead with the Delaware River dredging program, and both New Jersey and Delaware are considering suing. The Corps will not wait for environmental reviews to be completed, as the federal government now claims it does not need state permission “if the project is needed to maintain navigation.” The project is unpopular in New Jersey and Delaware because it benefits Pennsylvania’s Port of Philadelphia but puts the environmental damage on Delaware and New Jersey, potentially releasing toxic material now trapped in the river bottom.

Jon Corzine’s statement promised action:

“I’m extremely disappointed that the Army Corps is trying to circumvent New Jersey’s strong environmental protection processes and plow blindly ahead with its dredging plan.  I have directed the Attorney General to prepare legalaction to stop this irresponsible move unless the Army Corps suspends it plan infavor of allowing the environmental review process to be completed.

“Governor Rendell has given me personal assurance, and public assurance, that any spoils from the dredging will be taken by Pennsylvania.  Until the Army Corpy has participated in New Jersey’s environmental review process, however, I must take action to ensure that the people of our state are fully protected and these spoils are not dumped on South Jersey.”

In other words, the Corps is breaking our deal with Pennsylvania.  

LoBiondo’s Credible Challenger

One notable news story that happened during the Andrews announcement and subsequent Lautenberg-Andrews fallout was that a somewhat unknown, but possibly formidable, opponent emerged at the last moment for Frank LoBiondo in NJ-02. David Kurkowski, a Cape May councilman, has made a late bid for LoBiondo’s congressional seat, and Democrats are clearing the slate for him to go mano-a-mano with the person who once pledged a six-term limit, then reneged. Kurkowsi has deep roots in Cape May, judging from his resume, his company, and his personal webpage, and he credits his environmental and preservation efforts as councilman as some of his best accomplishments:

In Cape May, Kurkowski has been a strong supporter of saving the historic Beach Theatre, refurbishing the Washington Street Mall, building a new convention center and getting wireless Internet.

In his first comments to the Press of Atlantic City, Kurkowski lays out a general strategy for the November election:

“I’m committed to peace and prosperity. I believe the wartime economy has had a tragic effect on our country. I lay a lot of blame on LoBiondo and his support of Bush and the war. I will be attacking him on many issues,”

This will work if voters pay close attention to LoBiondo’s actual stand and record on Iraq, stem cell research, and immigration – and if independent publications like Blue Jersey pick up the slack and force the press and papers to cover LoBiondo’s problematic record, as with what happened, for example when Blue Jersey began covering LoBiondo’s role in the Deepwater scandal in 2006.

Cumberland County, and other NJ-02 counties such as Atlantic Co., have cleared their party lines for Kurkowski, and CC Chair Lou Magazzu, who once ran unsuccessfully against LoBiondo, seems to be an unofficial advisor to Kurkowski. The two other candidates, Viola Thomas-Hughes, who ran a spirited, but resource-deficient, campaign in 2006, and another candidate, Bridgeton schoolteacher Celeste Riley, have both apparently cleared the way for Kurkowski.