Tag Archive: Jeff Tittle

What’s Happening Today Thu. 12/19/2013

  Four former governors say “No” to a gas pipeline through the Pinelands: Two Democrats, Brendan Byrne and Jim Florio, and two Republicans, Thomas Kean and Christie Whitman, sent a letter this month to the chairman of the state Pinelands Commission saying the proposal would compromise the integrity of Pinelands. The administration, however, supports building the gas line, but has had no assurance the commission would approve it. In a surprising turn of events last week Philly.com reported, Pinelands Commission member Edward Lloyd, who had raised concerns about the approval process, announced that the state Attorney General’s Office had instructed him to recuse himself from further deliberations because of a possible conflict of interest. Lloyd, a professor of environmental law at Columbia University, responded, “I don’t  think I have a conflict.” Sierra Club Executive Director Jeff Tittle says, “This feels shady. It just looks like bullying and strong-arm tactics from the governor.” The mission of the commission is straightforward: “Protect the Pine Lands.” Like the four Governors, the Commission should just say “No.”

Help for the Uninsured: The enrollment deadline under the Affordable Care Act is Monday, December 23, for people to obtain insurance coverage effective January 1, 2014. To get health insurance marketplace enrollment assistance in New Jersey go here.  NJ for Health Care reminds us that the last opportunity to enroll in coverage on the New Jersey Marketplace will be March 31st, but consumers eligible for the NJ Family care expansion can enroll anytime.

The State Senate and Assembly will hold voting sessions this afternoon starting around 1:00pm. They have a lot on their plate. The Senate bills are listed here. The Assembly bills are listed here.

The “Dream Act” (S2479) which allows both in-state tuition rates and financial aid to students who grew up in New Jersey but whose parents brought them to the country illegally will likely pass the Assembly today and be sent to the Governor who will likely conditionally or even absolutely veto it. Chris Christie some time ago signaled his support for tuition equality knowing the Senate bill included State financial aid. Our equivocating governor more recently explained he is opposed to the State financial aid component. Chris “Have It Both Ways” Christie (appealing to moderates and the base simultaneously) agrees that Dreamers are worthy of tuition equality rates but not the financial aid which they need and which others receive.

Acting DEP Commissioner or Permanent Replacement

Both the Capitol Quickies blog and the Star Ledger Auditor Column report that assistant DEP commissioner Mark Mauriello will become the acting Commissioner replacing Lisa Jackson.  The Auditor goes one step further saying the selection may be more permanent:

Mauriello, an assistant DEP commissioner in charge of land-use management, will run the department on an acting basis. But sources tell the Auditor the Corzine administration plans to nominate him to the cabinet post, not just as acting commissioner.

Whether he is acting or permanent, it appears that Mauriello will be assuming the reins at DEP for at least the near future.  Jeff Tittle said the Sierra Club would prefer a different selection:

“Mark will be a very good acting commissioner, but we’d like to see someone like a Karen Kominsky,” Tittel said, referring to the lobbyist, veteran Democratic operative and former deputy chief of staff for Govs. James McGreevey and Richard Codey.

Whoever becomes the Commissioner, there is plenty of work ahead for DEP.  They have to deal with proposed new remediation guidelines, the State Parks are being closed on weekends due to budget issues, there are continuing disagreements with the Highlands Act and don’t forget everything dealing with the new Energy Master Plan.  

Quote of the Day

NJ Sierra Club director Jeff Tittle responds to John McCain’s call for oil drilling off the eastern seaboard:

“The only oil we ever want to see on New Jersey’s beaches is suntan oil.”