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NJ Politicos Push Anti-Drilling Act while Pushing Wind Farms off Jersey Shore

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Long Branch NJ, in an embarrassing act of irony the Sierra Club, New Jersey Chapter joined Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) at a roundtable to highlight legislation to permanently ban offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. Last month, Pallone and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) reintroduced the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act that prohibits the U.S. Department of Interior from issuing leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil or gas along the Atlantic Coast, including the North, Mid-, and South Atlantic and Straits of Florida planning areas. Booker is an original co-sponsor of the bill.

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Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, announces his retirement

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Jeff Tittel in Upper Saddle River 

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, announced his retirement today. Jeff will have served as the NJSC Director for 23 years when he retires on May 1, 2021. He has been involved in every major environmental legislation passing in New Jersey for close to two decades. Just some of his legislative and regulatory lobbying achievements include passage of the California Car Law, the Highlands Act, New Jersey’s Global Warming Response Act, New Jersey’s Fertilizer Law, and NJ’s Electronic Waste Recycling Law. He also worked to pass New Jersey’s Plastic Bag Ban last year, which is one of the most comprehensive in the country, and helped get the Delaware River Basin Commission to pass a fracking ban. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, released the following statement:

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NJ State Board of Education to Promote “Climate Change” Indoctrination yet the States Air and Water remain Among the most Polluted in the Country

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, more indoctrination for your kids . First Lady Tammy Murphy today announced that the New Jersey State Board of Education has adopted her initiative to make New Jersey the first state in the nation to incorporate climate change education across its K-12 learning standards.

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Major Breakthrough in a 10-month Investigation in Toll Brothers Alleged Sludge Pumping into Local Brooks from the Apple Ridge Development in Mahwah

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photo by Derek Michalski , Pictured: Chairman of Mahwah Environmental Commission Richard Wolf documenting ongoing pollution at Toll Brothers construction site in Mahwah and Upper Saddle River.

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, Major breakthrough in a 10-month community investigation started back in January 2018 by GreenUSR activist and resident of Upper Saddle River Derek Michalski.

Ramsey, Mahwah, Upper and Saddle River. Over the weekend residents from Ramsay, Mahwah and Upper Saddle River met for the second weekend in a row on the property that was featured in April 23, 2018 CBS New York Evening News coverage. We all remember Channel 2 Lisa Rozner’s report from 5 months ago about those infamous hoses pumping mud into Upper Saddle River stream directly from 100 acre site that had arsenic in the past.* Since that day very little has been done to stop the mud pumping that is occurring now 24/7 according to eyewitnesses. Last weekend the site was visited by Richard Wolf, Chairman of Mahwah Environmental Commission. This weekend Councilwoman Janet Ariemma took initiative and also met with residents and visually inspected continuous mud discharge into the Pleasant Brook.

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Sierra Club: Governor Murphy is out there touting New Jersey’s biggest land-use and financial failure of the last 20 years

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

East Rutherford  NJ, Today Governor Murphy stood alongside developers to promote the American Dream mega-mall proposal in the Meadowlands. The American Dream proposal includes 109 acres being added to the Paterson Plank Road Redevelopment Area. This project with a mall and entertainment complex was supposed to open years ago. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority would give the final approval on which properties would be added for redevelopment. The Meadowlands is an extremely environmentally sensitive and flood-prone area and the New Jersey Sierra Club opposes this development.

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Sierra Club: Murphy Admin Steals Half of Volkswagen Settlement for Budget

Phill Murphy -Sara Medina del Castillo

April 23, 2018, 11:48 am | in

Trenton NJ, The Murphy Administration is taking $69 million of the $141 million the state will receive from settlements with Volkswagen involving air-pollution violations and cheating on emissions tests will go into the general fund for the state budget. This is funding that is supposed to be going to clean air initiatives, including electric vehicles programs.

“New Jersey is supposed to move forward with electric vehicles. Instead of helping to jumpstart our goals, the Murphy Administration is stealing $69 million, the entire state portion, of the Volkswagen settlement to balance the budget. Volkswagen is paying for the damage they did to communities by increasing and failing to report on air pollution. We received the settlement money because of Volkswagen’s pollution and it should all go toward mitigating those affects and cleaning New Jersey’s air. Instead, Murphy is letting the air our of our tired by taking the money for the general fund,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The Governor campaigned against taking environmental settlement monies for plugging budget holes the way Christie did. Now, he’s doing so. This goes against the spirit of the constitutional amendment.”

New Jersey accepted $72 million settlement from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust on top of the $69 million previously awarded by the Volkswagen Group of America. The funds settle allegations that Volkswagen “violated New Jersey’s clean air statutes and defrauded consumers by selling diesel vehicles equipped with “cheat” software that deactivated their on-board emission controls except during emissions testing.” The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been named lead agency in administering the funds. The state must submit a “Beneficiary Mitigation Plan” that explains how the funds will be used.

“We desperately need the $69 million that they want to divert to make our economy greener with electric vehicles. This could jumpstart our clean transportation system. We need to make sure that that funds go to the right places including to plug-ins and helping urban areas where air pollution is worst. This will help create jobs and move our state forward with an automobile that has zero emissions and decrease fossil fuels. The biggest source of air pollution and greenhouse gases in our state comes from automobiles, which is why we need to increase electric vehicles to clean our air. We need to install plug-in stations along with providing things like zip cars, ride shares, and taxis to encourage EV’s that everyone can afford,” said Jeff Tittel. “We should be using the entirety of the $141 million to move New Jersey forward on electric vehicles.”

Last Fall, New Jersey voters approved Ballot Question #2 to dedicate environmental settlement funds to environmental clean-ups. This will block future administrations from robbing the money meant for repairing, preserving, or restoring natural resources. In NJ, these resources are held in the Public Trust. If you spill chemicals and destroy them, you not only have to clean-up your mess, but also compensate the public for their loss. The ballot language is as follows:

9. There shall be credited annually to a special account in the General Fund an amount equivalent to the revenue annually derived from all settlements and judicial and administrative awards relating to natural resource damages collected by the State in connection with claims based on environmental contamination.

“The voters overwhelmingly decided that environmental settlement money such as that from the Volkswagen settlement should be used only for non-environmental purposes. Isn’t air pollution an environmental contaminate as well? The Murphy Administration is going against these wishes by taking half of the funds for plugging budget holes. Volkswagen illegally added air pollution, creating increased health impacts and climate impacts. The entirety of the settlement funds should be used to mitigate those affects by improving our air quality and reducing greenhouse gasses,” said Jeff Tittel. “Even if it we believed it was legal to take the funds, we would recommend against doing so because it hurts the people and environment of New Jersey.”

The Clean Energy Fund is being raided once again; this time by $136 million or even higher. This includes $80 million for NJ Transit, $50 million for lights in government buildings, $2 million to the BPU and $5 million to implement RGGI. This Fund is meant to support projects that make our homes more resilient such as weatherization, along with energy efficiency and green jobs. The DEP is also suffering from budget raids and money being redirected.

“The Clean Energy Fund has become the state’s ATM. Christie consistently used the money to balance the budget and the Murphy Administration is continuing that pattern. This has become a hidden energy tax on consumers. Instead of using this money for the environment and creating jobs, it is used to plug budget holes. On top of the clean energy fund raids, $80 million dollars are being diverted from the DEP. This is funding for important programs that would go towards cleaning up toxic sites, brownfield redevelopment, and watershed protection. This will have a real impact on the agency because by diverting those funds, they are not hiring enough staff for DEP to do its job,” said Jeff Tittel.

We should be using these funds for things such as promoting electric vehicles in New Jersey. We can electrify our ports, especially in urban areas, with electric busses to reduce air pollution in areas already highly affected. We can use electric vehicles for transportation in and around the ports including moving goods and containers. We can implement clean transportation programs so that our school children can ride in cleaner, quieter, and healthier school buses that are powered by electricity. This is especially important for children who live in urban areas already overburdened by air pollution. Electric busses will benefit all mass transit riders, as well as anyone living in the city where they run without released air toxins.

“Stealing half of the Volkswagen funds for plugging budget holes is wrong and unfair to the people of New Jersey. We need to take advantage of the full $141 million to create more in-state jobs, better vehicles, less carbon pollution, and cleaner, healthier air. We believe that these funds can ideally be used to move New Jersey forward with electric vehicles. We can see the benefits of clean air and clean jobs if we put this money to good use. We can build a state-wide network of charging stations, create green jobs, save people money on gas, and reduce air pollution,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

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County Sheriff Sued Over Contamination at the Bergen County Police Academy Gun Range

Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino

January 11,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Mahwah NJ, the Bergen Record reports (https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/bergen/2018/01/10/suit-bergen-knew-gun-range-site-contaminated-squashed-probe/1016898001/ ) a lawsuit claims that not only did county officials know about the contamination at the Bergen County Police Academy gun range, but that they actively squashed an investigation into alleged crimes by those who led the dumping.

The law suit alleges the famed “double dipper” and “party changer” Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino retaliated against Frank Carrafiello and other officers who investigated the soil remediation project. The suit names not only Saudino, but the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office , the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Bergen county government .

The suit claims that Sheriff Saudino demoted officers, forced others to retire and changed the assignments of those officers who investigated the remediation.

The New Jersey Sierra Club and Mahwah officials outlined the contamination at the Bergen County Law and Public Safety Institute. They also said the county allegedly announced lead bullet casing and other potentially toxic materials to be dumped on the site for about a year.

Jeff Tittel, executive director of the Sierra Club, said the materials oxidized and broke down, possibly seeping into the groundwater and nearby streams, the Ramapo River and the Ramapo Aquifer, which provides drinking water to thousands of people.

A Bergen County spokeswoman claims in April that County Executive James Tedesco’s administration “took swift and immediate action upon learning of the potential environmental issue at the Law and Public Safety Institute shooting range located in Mahwah.”