News Article • 5/11/2018 • by Tom Johnson at NJ Spotlight
Pollution from stormwater runoff is a $15 billion problem that won’t go away. Stormwater utilities could help Garden State get a handle on the solution.
The state is reviving a decade-old idea to help New Jersey address a $15 billion problem to better manage stormwater runoff, an issue widely recognized as fouling waterways and exacerbating flooding.
News Article • 4/27/2018 • by Michelle Brunetti Post at Press of Atlantic City
Environmental groups are varied in how they grade Gov. Phil Murphy on his first 100 days.
The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund gave him an A-, while New Jersey Sierra Club graded him a C.
“Murphy has indeed delivered on some of his commitments including blocking offshore drillings, promoting environmental justice, and promoting offshore wind,” Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said in a press release.
But he said the administration also has cut the Department of Environmental Protection budget and is taking some of its surplus, and is still taking money from the Clean Energy Fund -- which is created through surcharges on utility customers' monthly bills -- for the general fund.
In contrast, League of Conservation Voters Education Fund Executive Director Ed Potosnak said Murphy gets high marks, calling the first 100 days “a whirlwind of pro-environmental actions, propelling New Jersey back to a leadership position to become the greenest state in America.”
News Article • 3/26/2018 • by Malik A. Lyons at Tapinto Franklin Township
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Williams' Northeast Supply Enhancement project reached a major milestone Friday, March 23, thanks to the release of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's draft Environmental Impact Statement.
The NESE project would have “less than significant levels” of impact on the environment in Franklin Township, according to FERC.
“This draft Environmental Impact Statement is a significant milestone for the project," Christopher Stockton, spokesperson for Williams/Transco said in a prepared statement. "Since this proposal was first introduced in 2016, we have worked diligently to identify potential environmental issues or concerns, incorporating adjustments to the project design to avoid or minimize impacts. We believe that the draft EIS positively reflects our efforts to collaborate with stakeholders to design this project in an environmentally responsible manner.”
Many local residents who have been paying close attention to the project would beg to differ.
News Article • 3/14/2018 • by Tom Johnson at NJ Spotlight
Trying to break an impasse, lawmakers and the governor’s office have apparently agreed to jointly move three bills to subsidize nuclear power, promote clean energy, and revive an offshore wind project off Atlantic City.
The bills, expected to be introduced yesterday but not yet available, aim to advance a key priority of Senate President Steven Sweeney to prop up nuclear power plants in South Jersey, as well as enact significant parts of Gov. Phil Murphy’s ambitious clean-energy agenda.
News Article • 3/5/2018 • by Ed Potosnak at Press of Atlantic City
Who hasn’t purchased a pack of gum, or other small item, only to have it swiftly loaded into a plastic shopping bag for the short journey to their car? More and more, New Jerseyans are realizing the extent of our wasteful plastic bag problem. Sometimes referred to as the “urban tumbleweed,” flimsy single-use bags are not only ugly to look at — often found hanging from trees, gathered in storm drains or washed up on shores — they’re also terrible for the environment. The chemicals in the plastic pose a threat to sea birds and fish, and all too often make their way back into our food.
News Article • 3/5/2018 • by Tom Johnson at NJ Spotlight
With legislators revisiting a bill to subsidize nuclear power, the co-owners of the Salem nuclear plant in South Jersey will no longer fund capital projects at the generating station.
The announcement, made in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday, comes in the wake of the Senate last week postponing a vote on a controversial measure that could have utility customers pay $300 million a year to prop up plants owned by Public Service Enterprise Group and Exelon.
News Article • 2/27/2018 • by Danielle Muoio at Politico
Members of the New York and New Jersey congressional delegations received higher scores than most of their counterparts on the League of Conservation Voters' 2017 scorecard that rates Congress’ votes on environmental and energy issues.
According to the league, the scorecard serves as a yardstick to assess the environmental records of every member of Congress as the Trump administration continues to roll back environmental protections. The LCV said in its report that 2017 an “unmitigated disaster” for the environment and public health.
Experts from 20 environmental and conservation organizations select key votes on energy, global warming, public lands, wildlife conservation and spending for environmental programs and rate members of Congress on a 100-point scale, based on how they voted on each issue. The 2017 scorecard included 35 House votes and 19 Senate votes. Absences counted as anti-environment votes.
On average, members of the House and Senate voted in line with the LCV 45 percent of the time, with major differences based on party affiliation. New York and New Jersey both beat the national averages.
News Article • 2/27/2018 • by Tom Johnson at NJ Spotlight
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.
News Article • 2/26/2018 • by Christian Hetrick at Observer
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.
News Article • 2/14/2018 • by Tom Johnson at NJ Spotlight
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.