Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NJ DEP Press Releases: November 26th, 2009

Here's the fourth article:

(09/P25) TRENTON - From the cities to the suburbs, New Jersey’s local governments are launching a wide array of projects to protect the environment, public health, and property by making significant improvements to water, sewerage, and stormwater-control infrastructure, Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Mark N. Mauriello said today.
Commissioner Mauriello has signed certifications for more than $73 million in projects, including improvements to extensive segments of Newark’s water-distribution and sewage-collection systems, upgrades to Ocean County’s sewerage system, construction of solar panels for a sewage pumping station in Mount Laurel, construction of stormwater systems to protect neighborhoods in Bayonne and Elizabeth from flooding, and installation of systems to treat naturally occurring radium in wells in several municipalities including Bridgeton.
“Governor Corzine’s economic recovery plan and federal economic stimulus money are making significant investments in the Garden State’s environmental future,” Commissioner Mauriello said. “These projects will safeguard surface and ground water supplies, provide safe and reliable drinking water for many thousands of residents, and protect neighborhoods from flooding - all while putting people to work in good-paying, construction-related jobs.”In the coming weeks, Commissioner Mauriello will certify additional projects that have been authorized to advertise for bids or award contracts, key steps toward final certification and construction.
The projects are funded by $203 million in economic stimulus money the DEP has received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act coupled with state low-interest loan packages authorized by Governor Corzine as part of his Economic Recovery and Assistance Plan.
Projects Commissioner Mauriello has certified include:
Nearly $23 million for Newark to clean and re-line some 16 miles of highly corroded, cast-iron water mains to improve the quality of drinking water for the city and for the re-lining of brick sewer mains to prevent leaks that can contaminate ground water.
Rehabilitation work and upgrades to the Ocean County Utilities Authority’s sewerage treatment plant, including upgrades to aeration tanks and sludge-handling facilities, as well as modernization of ocean outfalls built in the 1970s. The DEP is providing more than $10.7 million for the work.
More than $7 million for the city of Elizabeth to build new storm sewers, a new pumping station and new catch basins to alleviate flooding in the neighborhoods around Verona and Gebhardt avenues.
More than $4.4 million for construction of a 529-kilowatt solar array system to generate electricity for the Mount Laurel Township Municipal Utilities Authority’s Ramblewood Parkway pumping station. Excess power will be transmitted to the utility grid.
Construction of a stormwater collection system and pumping station in the area of East 27th Street to reduce the flow of stormwater into Bayonne’s combined sewer system. The project will protect properties by reducing flooding and will reduce soil erosion in Halecky Park. The DEP is providing $2.6 million to the Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority for the project.
Construction of a treatment system to remove naturally occurring radium from an unused public well in Bridgeton and for pipes to connect the well to the city’s distribution system. The DEP is providing $3.2 million for the project.
These projects are providing jobs in fields such as general construction, excavation, electrical work, surveying and engineering. They will also increase the demand for construction-related good and services. Municipalities in which work has begun will begin reporting the number of people working on the projects by the end of the year.
Governor Corzine authorized the DEP to bundle the federal money with zero-interest loans available through the DEP and market-rate loans provided by the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, a state financing authority. This bundling allows municipalities and water and wastewater authorities to borrow state money at very attractive interest rates, at the same time stretching the federal economic stimulus dollars farther.

NJ DEP Press Releases: November 16th, 2009

Here's the third press release:

(09/P27) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection is providing New Jersey’s municipalities and counties a record $14.5 million in grants to boost local recycling efforts, Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Mark N. Mauriello announced today.
“These grants will be of great help to local governments that want to keep doing the right thing for the environment by maintaining strong recycling programs,” Commissioner Mauriello said. “Local governments will use this money to help pay recycling coordinators who quarterback these efforts, fund public education campaigns, and make sure residents continue to comply with recycling laws.”
The $14.5 million in recycling tonnage grants is nearly double the previous record of 2008, when $8 million was awarded as the result of the implementation of the Recycling Enhancement Act, signed into law by Gov. Jon S. Corzine that year to help New Jersey reach its recycling-rate targets. This year’s total is also nearly three times higher than the pre-Recycling Enhancement Act high of $5.5 million awarded in 1995.
The Recycling Enhancement Act significantly increased the amount of grant money available to local governments by creating a recycling enhancement fund through a $3-per-ton surcharge on trash taken to solid-waste disposal facilities.
Municipal governments, vital to the overall success of recycling, receive 60 percent of the money the fund generates to help them enhance outreach and compliance efforts. The balance is awarded to county solid-waste management and household hazardous-waste collection programs, county and state promotional efforts, and recycling research.
The individual grant awards for this year are based on the amount of materials municipalities and counties recycled in 2007, the year before the Recycling Enhancement Act took effect.
In 2007, New Jersey recycled 12.4 million tons of a total 21.6 million tons of solid waste, for a recycling rate of 57.3 percent. This includes all types of waste, including municipal solid waste as well as bulky waste such as construction and demolition debris, scrap metal and wood.
New Jersey recycled 3.8 million tons of 10.5 million tons of municipal solid waste generated in 2007, for a municipal solid waste recycling rate of 36.5 percent. Materials recycled as part of municipal programs includes paper, cardboard, glass, metal cans and plastic.
“New Jersey has always led the way in recycling,” Commissioner Mauriello said. “Recycling helps New Jersey’s economy by creating tens of thousands of jobs and supporting industries that need recycled material. And as we all know, recycling is one of the best things we can all do to protect our environment.”

NJ DEP Press Releases: October 14th, 2009

Here's the second press release:

(09/P24) TRENTON - Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Mark N. Mauriello today announced the preservation of a 213-acre scenic property in West Amwell Township, Hunterdon County.
“With its breathtaking beauty and spectacular views of the Delaware River, this property is a real treasure,” Commissioner Mauriello said. “It’s hard to imagine that this land was at risk of being developed for new housing. Through the commitment and leadership of Governor Jon S. Corzine, we are protecting New Jersey’s priceless natural resources.”The DEP’s Green Acres program purchased the Goat Hill Overlook property for $4.5 million from Constructural Dynamics Inc. of Fairless Hills, Pa. The company acquired Goat Hill Overlook from the Boy Scouts in 1983 and originally intended to use the land for mining operations. That plan was later changed in favor of constructing a residential development complex at the site.
In addition to views of the Delaware River, the property features a prominent rock, known as Washington Rock. According to local legend, General George Washington used the views from Goat Hill Overlook to assess battle conditions during the Revolutionary War. The site also offers miles of hiking trails and contains a variety of wildlife and plant species.
The Goat Hill Overlook acquisition is part of the Green Acres’ Crossroads of the American Revolution land preservation initiative, which links Revolutionary War sites across the state to help interpret New Jersey’s role in the American Revolution. More Revolutionary War battles and skirmishes took place in New Jersey than in any other state. The DEP’s Division of Parks and Forestry will manage the area as part of Washington Crossing State Park.
The DEP's Green Acres program purchases land to protect environmentally sensitive open space, water resources and other significant natural and historical areas. Land acquired by Green Acres becomes part of the statewide system of parks and forests, wildlife management areas and natural areas. Green Acres provides funding to county and municipal governments and nonprofit organizations to acquire open space and parks in their communities.
Since its inception in 1961, the program has protected more than 640,000 acres of open space, in addition to funding the development of hundreds of parks throughout New Jersey. New Jersey's statewide system of preserved open space and farmland now totals more than 1.4 million acres.

NJ DEP Press Releases: October 14th, 2009

I want to highlight some NJ DEP press releases from the past two months:

(09/P22) TRENTON - A construction company using recycled steel to build Meadowlands Stadium, a pharmaceuticals firm that diverts food waste from landfills, and a woman who teaches Bergen County schoolchildren the importance of recycling are among those honored as New Jersey’s recycling leaders, Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Mark N. Mauriello announced today.
“From the gridiron to our corporate board rooms and our schools, the recycling ethic is strong in New Jersey,” Commissioner Mauriello said in announcing the DEP’s recycling leadership award and poetry contest winners. “Recycling remains one of the best ways to show that we care about the environment. The simple act of separating recyclables from our trash not only saves natural resources, it strengthens our economy and reduces the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. On behalf of Governor Jon S. Corzine, congratulations to all of today’s winners for their efforts in building a greener and more sustainable New Jersey.”The awards were presented during the 29th New Jersey Recycling Symposium and Awards Luncheon in Eatontown. The DEP and the Association of New Jersey Recyclers co-sponsor the event each year.
The awards ceremony recognizes the vision, innovation and leadership of individuals, organizations, businesses and government agencies that have taken notable steps to boost recycling during the past year.
During the event, winners of the annual recycling poetry contest for children in fourth through sixth grades also were honored.
“These poems, many accompanied by creative pieces of art, demonstrate commitment to recycling and passion for the environment,” Commissioner Mauriello said. “Our future is in good hands.”

Why does Christie Says the NJ DEP is too large?

According to Christie, under Corzine the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection had become an large, inefficient government agency. Corzine's rampant government spending and creation of new programs made made several government programs excessively large and disfunctional. The NJ DEP grew significantly in workforce during Corzine's term. However, the NJ DEP had many inept leaders and commissioners and did not successfully enhance and preserve the environment in NJ. Christie wants to make New Jersey a energy leader during his term as governor. As one article put it the term "Trenton Makes, the World Takes" has become and ineffective quote for the entire state of New Jersey. The state no longer relies on energy and industry as it once did. Christie needs to use the NJ DEP as a springboard to improve energy consumption, create new jobs, and make New Jersey energy and industry prosperous once again.

Christie's plan to reduce the size of the NJ DEP is a result of his political policies and beliefs. Christie wants to reduce government spending on a variety of government programs in order to improve effectiveness and efficiency. By reducing the size and electing new officials to the NJ DEP Christie will be able to implement his "Energy as Industry" Plan. The NJ DEP needs to be a small, efficient government agency because of the immediacy and efficiency needed to enrich the state's environment and energy.

What is Christie's stance on Environmental Justice?

Governor Christie is a firm advocate of environmental justice. Environmental justice is considered the judicial process which addresses issues such as pollution, energy abuse, and environmental law. Most notably, these environmental law issues often occur between the state/federal governments and corporate businesses who pollute the state's lands, oceans, and air. Prior to his term as governor, Christie had always been a firm opposer to the impact of large businesses and corporations. As a result, Christie has a firm stance against large scale corporate abuse of the environment. The most important step that the governor has proposed to take is to reinstate the Office of Environmental Crimes at the Attorney General's office. This reinstatement will greatly enhance criminal enforcement of environmental law. During Corzine's term as governor, he often neglected to punish large corporate companies from undertaking illegal business practices. Christie's new stance toward the reinstatement will not only punish current abusers of the environment but will also deter companies from undertaking such unethical practices.

Article on Christie's Enviromental Plan

Here's another article highlighting Christie's Enviromental Plan...

The link is http://www.mgkflaw.com/specAlert2009/specAlert-2009-11-05.html

New Jersey Gubernatorial Win by Chris Christie Could Change State's Environmental/Energy Programs

MGKF Special Alert
by BRUCE KATCHER and CHRISTOPHER BALL On November 3, 2009, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie defeated incumbent Jon Corzine in the race to be New Jersey's next governor. Environmental and energy issues played an important role in the election as Christie made headlines as the first statewide Republican candidate to win the endorsement of the New Jersey Environmental Federation in the group's almost 30 year history.While the details of a Christie Administration environmental and energy agenda will have to await his official arrival in Trenton, the Governor-elect's campaign platform and remarks during the election indicate the potential for significant change to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ("DEP"), the State's environmental rulemaking process, and the State government's approach to several key environmental and energy issues. A brief summary of key positions is set forth below:

Changes to DEP: Christie repeatedly stated that he wants to trim government spending and DEP is likely to be included in any cuts. His campaign platform includes a promise to change the leadership of the DEP, and he has been quoted as saying that he would lay off DEP workers (while empowering the remaining rank and file) and strip the Department of its fish and wildlife oversight function. He has also pledged to remove the incentive for regulatory agencies to charge "excessive or unnecessary" fees by eliminating the use of fees or fines for agency funding, a move that will have a significant impact on many DEP programs.

Rulemaking Changes: The Governor-elect pledged to immediately freeze proposed agency rules (DEP and otherwise) upon taking office, and has proposed several reforms to administrative rulemaking moving forward, including enhanced rule impact statements requiring more detailed cost/benefit analyses. He also committed to subjecting proposed rules to a new "risk analysis" and has called for strengthening scientific advisory committees to evaluate the science behind DEP proposals.

Land Use: Christie campaigned as a proponent of open-space preservation, saying that he would seek to increase preserved acreage annually and would reinstate the Highlands appraisal process for five years. While Christie is opposed to incurring any additional State-debt to fund these efforts, he has pledged to strengthen the Garden State Preservation Trust and has advocated a Constitutional Amendment to dedicate a portion of the sales tax for land preservation. He also advocates an "improved consistent" State Development and Redevelopment Plan, although the nature of the improvements remains unclear.

Site Remediation: Christie expressed general support for New Jersey's new Licensed Site Remediation Professional program that seeks to privatize much of the contaminated site cleanup process in the State, though he supports close monitoring of the process by DEP.
State Waters: Christie committed to reconsider providing the State's highest form of available environmental protection to approximately 300 miles of waters rejected by the current administration for classification as "Category 1" waters under the state's surface water quality standards.

Energy and Global Warming: Christie categorized as "job number one" the recruitment of renewable energy manufacturing companies to locate in New Jersey, offering a tax credit to such companies up to 100 percent of the applicable corporate business taxes or the insurance premium tax. He proposes to strip the State's Board of Public Utilities of its current oversight of renewable energy development efforts and place those efforts under a new entity – labeled "Renew NJ" – more oriented to promoting job growth in the sector. Christie's promotion of renewable energy extends to landfill management, where he has called for all landfills regulated by DEP to be required to install solar farms as part of their closure plans, and agriculture, where he intends to promote the installation of solar on permanently preserved farmland. When it comes to global warming, Christie has committed to pursue the goals of the Global Warming Response Act more aggressively than the current administration, whose efforts he has deemed "quite disappointing." To this end, he opposes the controversial proposed coal-fired power plant in Linden and any drilling off the New Jersey coast. Christie has also stated that he will require upgrades to the cooling water systems used at the Oyster Creek and Salem nuclear generating stations that could cost those facilities millions of dollars.

Other Issues: Christie has also taken positions favoring shore protection funding, increased recycling rates, diesel engine retrofit requirements, enhanced environmental justice considerations in state decision-making and opposing the deepening of the Delaware River. He also plans to reinstate the Office of Environmental Crimes at the Attorney General's office to enhance criminal enforcement of environmental law.

Some Main Environmental Organizations and Advocacy Groups for NJ Energy

I thought it would be important to look at some advocacy groups, lobbyists, and key legislators for expanding New Jersey's energy and enviromental policy and awareness. As the new governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie has the ability to greatly influence governmental policy in New Jersey. As the primary governmental official in New Jersey, the governor faces scrutiny from the press and the citizens of the state firsthand. His decisions are often questioned or praised by the public. However, what many citizens fail to understand is that behind the governor's power lobbyist and activist groups can greatly influence government policies as well. Often times, governors and legislators look to lobbyist groups for direction. Here's a look into the important lobbyist groups for New Jersey Energy. Here are some of the primary lobbyist groups and environmental organizations:

1) The New Jersey Affordable, Clean, Reliable Energy Coalition
2) Alliance for a Living Ocean
3) Association of NJ Environmental Commissions (ANJEC)
4) Association of New Jersey Hazardous Waste Coordinators
5) Clean Water Fund of New Jersey
6) Clearwater of NJ (formerly Monmouth County Friends of Clearwater)
7) Earth Share of New Jersey
8) Garden State Earth Institute
9) Green Party of New Jersey
10) NJ Environmental Federation

Energy as Industry Plan

Here's a link to Christie's full "Energy as Industry" Plan:


YouTube Video on Christie's "Energy as Industry"

Here's a video highlighting Christie's "Energy as Industry" Plan:

Christie's "Energy as Industry Plan"

Chris Christie's energy plan titled, "Energy as Industry" is highlighted below:

New Jersey was once a leader in manufacturing, and as the well-known tag line goes, “Trenton makes, the world takes.” Today, the industries that once made New Jersey no longer exist and it shows in our unemployment rate, the number of businesses that have left our state, and the lack of good-paying jobs. The current unemployment rate is 8.89.2% and New Jersey has lost 135,100 overall jobs overall and 34,000 manufacturing jobs in the last year alone. As a result, many middle-class workers have been forced to take lower paid paying jobs without benefits. Energy as Industry is an opportunity to recover the good-paying, middle-class jobs that have been lost by focusing on production. As the country and the rest of the world makes renewable energy a priority, New Jersey has an opportunity and ability to once again become a leader of industry.

-Make New Jersey’s Governor our State’s Chief Energy Advocate.
-The “Choose New Jersey Energy” Campaign.
-Establish “Renew NJ” to consolidate all renewable energy manufacturing efforts
-Make New Jersey a magnet for renewable energy manufacturers:
-Incentivize Energy Manufacturing with Tax Credits
-New Jersey Will Create Higher-Paying Clean Energy Production Jobs in the Next Four Years
-Install Solar Farms on Every Landfill
-Encourage Solar Farms by Making it a Permitted Land Use
-New Jersey Farmland Isn’t Just for Agriculture

New Jersey Solar Energy Incentives

When searching other environmental blogs I found an interesting article about solar energy and New Jersey. According to the article a new program in New Jersey was created which will provide rebates for solar panels and other equipment manufactured in New Jersey. In addition, the legislature is about to pass a bill that will allow for low-interest loans for building projects that meet green standards. Here is the article...

Rebates for solar equipment made in New Jersey
The BPU's new program offers consumers, businesses, and municipalities that purchase solar panels, inverters, and racking systems manufactured in New Jersey a rebate of up to 25 cents per watt for panels, and up to 15 cents per watt for inverters and racking systems. The program is expected to provide $1 million in incentives to the state’s consumers, businesses, and municipalities over the coming months.

BPU President Jeanne M. Fox said the program "supports our environmental, energy, and economic development goals and helps establish New Jersey as a hub for the growing green economy."

To qualify for the incentives, applicants must use products manufactured with at least 50 percent of the product cost – including the labor, overhead, components, and raw materials – from facilities located in New Jersey. Products must also comply with applicable Underwriters Laboratory standards and be commercially available to the public.

Yearly audits will be performed to ensure manufacturing compliance. Organizations awarded a grant under New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA) Clean Energy Manufacturing Fund (CEMF) are automatically certified as a New Jersey manufacturer.

Additional information about the program and all of the business and residential incentives offered by New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program can be found at http://www.njcleanenergy.com/ or by calling 1-866-NJSMART (1-866-657-6278).

What is the NJ DEP?

The New Jersey DEP is also known as the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. As noted in previous blogs, its website is www.state.us/dep/. The New Jersey Department of Enviromental Protection is a government agency that is responsible for managing the state's natural resources and policies toward pollution. It is currently headquartered in Trenton, NJ and has currently employs 3.400 people. The Department was created on Earth Day on April 22nd, 1970. The NJ DEP's current commissioner is Mark N. Mauriello.