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NUCLEAR SUBSIDY BILL STALLS IN SENATE, ENVIROS SAY DELAY IS NEEDED

A nuclear plant.

In an unexpected setback, a bill to subsidize nuclear power and clean energy yesterday failed to advance in the Senate, a reprieve, if only temporary, for an unwieldy coalition of opponents.

The legislation (S-877) could face significant revisions, including the possibility it might revert to its original intent — a bill that could provide subsidies of $300 million a year to nuclear power plants while omitting clean-energy initiatives backed by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The bill, or earlier versions of it, has been pushed by Public Service Enterprise Group to prop up three nuclear units it operates in South Jersey. Without an infusion of ratepayer subsidies, the company has threatened to close the plants.

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New Jersey Senate Shelves Vote on Nuclear Subsidy Bill

A controversial bill that could force New Jersey ratepayers to bail out the state’s nuclear power plants hit a snag on Monday as the Senate shelved a vote on the legislation.

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said lawmakers are still making adjustments to the legislation, which has already gone under several revisions. Sweeney said the Senate could vote on the bill next month.

“It’s a big bill. It’s a complicated bill. And we’re going to continue to press forward,” Sweeney said. “Like everything else, we’re adjusting things and look forward to getting it passed.”

In its current form, the bill (S877) would effectively impose a surcharge on ratepayers to prop up nuclear power plants owned by PSEG—the state’s largest energy company—if a state board determines the plants need financial assistance. A typical household could see energy bills rise $31 to $41 per year to cover the cost of the estimated $300 million subsidy, officials have said.

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CAN STORMWATER UTILITIES HELP NJ REDUCE RUNOFF POLLUTION?

New Jersey may take another stab at creating new utilities to deal with stormwater runoff, the state's most persistent problem fouling its waterways and causing major flooding.

The Senate Environment and Energy Committee is reviving a bill (S-1073) that would allow municipalities, counties, and certain authorities to create stormwater utilities, an approach used in other states to limit pollution caused by runoff.

The concept is not new in New Jersey, but it has failed to win final legislative approval in the past, even though the federal Environmental Protection Agency has ranked stormwater management as the state's most expensive water-related funding need at $15.6 billion.

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Climate Summit, Brainchild Of Mayor Kramer, Gets Rave Reviews

From L to R: NJLCV's Ed Potosnak, Mayor Bruce Harris of Chatham Borough, First Lady Tammy Murphy, Sustainble Jersey's Randy Solomon, Mayor Phil Kramer of Franklin, and Bloustein's Jeanne Herb.

About 160 people attended a “Mayors’ Climate Summit” at Rutgers University Feb. 3, an event that was the brainchild of Mayor Phil Kramer.

The summit was held at Rutgers’ Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy in New Brunswick and was attended mainly by mayors and other elected officials from throughout the state.

Sponsored by the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, Sustainable Jersey and the Bloustein School, the summit was seen as a way for elected officials to meet and share ideas of dealing with the effects of climate change, in light of the Trump administration’s decision to remove the country from the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Paris Agreement is a multinational agreement, under the auspices of the United Nations, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2020.

Attendees hailed the event as a success and looked forward to future meetings.

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Murphy joins governors calling for fracking ban in Delaware watershed

Governor Phil Murphy shakes hands with Mayor Ellis of Phillipsburg, with the Delaware River in the background.

PHILLIPSBURG — Gov. Phil Murphy has announced he will join the governors of Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware to support a ban on fracking in the 3,000-square-mile Delaware River watershed.

Murphy called fracking "one of modern times' most damaging threats." Its use of chemicals, and their ability to pollute water systems, puts at risk the health and safety of people and the economic life of Delaware River towns, he said.

It was the latest of several environmental actions Murphy took last week.

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Murphy restarts big offshore wind plan for New Jersey

ATLANTIC CITY — Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order Wednesday to return the state to national leadership in offshore wind energy.

New Jersey will finally implement the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act of 2010, which languished under Gov. Chris Christie, Murphy said at a press conference at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority’s wind farm and wastewater treatment plant.

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Environmental Justice Should Be Core Principle of Murphy Administration

The Murphy administration needs to focus on the disproportionate impacts of pollution and contamination on poor urban communities, according to a transition team report for Gov. Phil Murphy.

The 15-page environmental and energy report suggests that addressing the environmental-justice disparities in low-income and mostly communities of color ought to be promoted as a core principle of the new administration, one that is reflected across all departments and programs.

The recommendation, one of four overarching priorities identified by the transition team, calls for reducing the air and water pollution burdening those communities, and proposes that a substantial portion of the new funding on its way be dedicated to these initiatives.

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Murphy signs executive order to reenter Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Gov. Murphy held a press conference in Highlands on Monday morning to announce he’s rolling back another Christie-era policy.

“In just a few minutes I’m going to sign an executive order to start the process to get New Jersey back into RGGI,” said Murphy.

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Gov. Murphy Plays to NJ Environmentalists From Day One

Imagine this: A governor talking about the sad reality of climate change, investing aggressively in renewable energy, and creating housing safe from the danger of lead.

To the state’s diverse environmental community, Gov. Phil Murphy’s inaugural speech signaled that New Jersey once again should embrace a leadership role in protecting its air, water, and land from the legacy of pollution that too often in the past defined it.

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N.J. Gov.-elect Phil Murphy vows to fight Trump's offshore drilling plan

Offshore drilling areas

A proposal by the Trump administration this week to open most of the U.S. coast to fossil fuel exploration and drilling stunned New Jersey officials and environmentalists, who are vowing to fight back.

“Let’s call this what it is,” said Gov.-elect Phil Murphy, who will be sworn in Jan. 16. “What President Trump announced [Thursday] is nothing less than dropping a ticking time bomb off our coast.”

Murphy, a Democrat, made the statement at a news conference Friday morning in Monmouth County, flanked by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, both Democrats. Murphy called for bipartisan opposition from the state’s congressional delegation, but protecting the coastline already is a bipartisan issue.

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