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NJ Sierra Club's E-Newsletter September Edition

Read on to learn more about what we have going on and what’s been happening in Trenton and across the state. Check out below for fun outings and the latest environmental news. Keep reading for NEWS, ACTIVIST ACTIONS, EVENTS, and SIERRA CLUB OUTINGS:

Gov. Murphy Vetoes Bad Plastic Fee Bill- Win for Environment

Governor Murphy vetoed, A3267 (Vainieri Huttle)/S2600 (Ruiz) The bill established a fee on single-use plastic bags used in certain stores. Plastic has become a serious public health and environmental problem in New Jersey where plastic and microplastic are prevalent. New Jersey towns are joining the plastic ban bandwagon. Towns like Lambertville, Monmouth Beach, Teaneck, Longport, Long Beach, Ventor, Belmar, Point Pleasant Beach, Hoboken, Harvey Cedars, Stafford Township, Jersey City, Hoboken, Bradley Beach, Stone Harbor, Newark, Montclair, Edison, and Atlantic County have or are in the process of passing plastic bans.

“Sometimes, when a Governor vetoes an environmental bill, its actually good for the environment. This bag fee bill would have undermined all efforts in reducing plastic waste. The reason is because fees do not work as well as a ban. This preemption in the fee bill would have also blocked cities and towns from passing stronger ban ordinances. Plastics are a menace and an existential threat to our drinking water, beaches, and wildlife. We are finding millions of plastic particles in our rivers near our reservoirs and hundreds of pounds along our Jersey Shore beaches. Toxic plastic like polystyrene has even been found in women’s breast milk. Plastic has become a serious public health and environmental problem.

“If we want to curb our plastic footprint, New Jersey needs to move forward with a comprehensive ban like S.2776(Smith) that would ban single use plastics like plastic bags, straws, and polystyrene but also on plastic bottles and plastic packaging as well. We also would like Senator Smith’s bill to mirror California’s single use plastic ban by adding a 10- cent fee on paper and reusable bag and have a better enforcement mechanism in place. We hope to have the bill passed by the end of the year,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club speaking at the Bear Rally in Middletown, NJ

Murphy Signs Order Stopping Bear Hunt on Only State Lands

Governor Murphy has signed an Executive Order banning bear hunting on state lands, about 700,000 acres. However, this leaves just as much land in county parklands, private lands, water company lands, non-profit lands, and municipal lands where bears can still be hunted on. The N.J. Department of Environmental Protection is offering 11,000 bear hunting permits this year, with sales beginning on September 10th. While running for Governor, Murphy promised to put a moratorium on the bear hunt that was increased under Governor Christie. While this measure still allows hunting, it does make efforts to reduce the number of bears killer by restricting where they can be hunted. The New Jersey Sierra Club continues to advocate for a bear management plan that includes education, science, and public outreach before turning to hunting bears.

“This action is a step in the right direction by prohibiting bear hunting on state lands. With the bear hunt coming up, any effort to reduce the number of bears killed is a good thing. Unfortunately, there’s plenty of private lands for these bears to still be killed on including county parklands, water company lands, non-profit lands and municipal lands. Despite the ban on hunting bears on state lands, the DEP is giving out the same amount of permits as last year. This means the same number of hunters will be out there looking to kill the same number of bears,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We want to thank Governor Murphy for taking this important step towards protecting New Jersey’s black bears. However, this Order doesn’t stop the hunt, it just changes where most of the bears will get killed. We believe that Murphy does have the authority to fully stop the bear hunt in New Jersey and continue to urge him to keep to his commitment and do so.”

Governor Protects Spill Act, Stops Oil Spill Bill

Governor Murphy has vetoed S2662 (Sweeney). This bill limits liability for persons who deliver heating oil to unregulated tanks for discharges from that tank under certain circumstances. The Sierra Club wrote to the Governor opposing this bill because we believe that if signed into law, this legislation would have undermined environmental protection efforts by removing accountability. This law would put undue burdens on homeowners, costing them more money and creating safety and health issues for these communities. Many of those who use oil live in rural areas and depend on wells for drinking water. Oil spills can contaminate their drinking supply and that for surrounding homes. This also puts an unfair burden on those of modest means who may not be able to afford to convert to natural gas, especially senior citizens and people in urban areas.

“Governor Murphy has upheld the integrity of the Spill Act by vetoing this bill. The Spill Act was landmark legislation passed by Governor Byrne that holds polluters accountable and makes them clean up their mess. This bill was vetoed because it removed liability for oil spills for deliverers. This could lead to more carelessness, more spills, and possibly even willful actions. If a fuel oil deliverer spills oil or other fuel into a community, they must be held accountable for the pollution and safety issues that result from the spill. Otherwise, these companies will not have incentive to practice care and caution when delivering dangerous fossil fuels. If they are let off the hook for accidents, then it’s the homeowners of New Jersey who are left with the burden of cleaning up and protecting themselves from these materials,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We want to thank Governor Murphy for doing the right thing and vetoing this legislation that could have caused more problems for the people of New Jersey.”

EPA Fair Lawn Cleanup Plan Needs to Do More: The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to expand an existing cleanup plan for the Fair Lawn Well Field Superfund Site in Fair Lawn, NJ. The site has contaminated groundwater and some municipal wells with volatile compounds (VOCs), including 1,4 dioxane. Fair Lawn has some of the highest concentrations of 1,4 dioxane in New Jersey. The people of Fair Lawn’s health is at risk because they are drinking contaminated water. The EPA now wants to do an expanded cleanup plan for the Superfund site but it is not enough. Their proposal would only expand the current pumping system that has not been successful to treat the water. Pumping will not get rid these toxic chemicals, such as 1,4 dioxane toxins in their groundwater. They need to focus on attacking these chemicals and more importantly finding the source of contamination. Dioxane is a serious threat to the town’s public health and a threat to nearby water sources. It is important that the EPA’s expanded cleanup will not only remove harmful contaminates in the Fair Lawn’s water but find the main source of where those contaminates are coming from.”

Proposed Power Plant in Keasbey: Bad for Environment and Public Health: Another power plant is being proposed in New Jersey, this time in the Keasbey section of Woodbridge. The gas-fired power plant would be built next to an existing 725 MW plant on the Raritan River. CPV, Keasbey LLC. Is applying to build this plant on a subdivision. Their application includes the combined cycle natural gas electric generation facility as well as associated generation tie-in lines and graywater lines. The process may include accessing properties in Woodbridge, Edison, and Sayreville. “This is an area with an existing power plant and too much pollution already. Adding another plant will mean more air and water pollution and more possible safety and health concerns. This is the fourth proposed power plant in New Jersey, despite Governor Murphy’s goals for renewable energy. We will never reach those goals if we continue to pollute our communities with natural gas and other fossil fuels. This is an environmentally-sensitive area that has already suffered from the affects of Hurricane Sandy. The DEP should reject permits for this plant, as should the Woodbridge Planning Board.

PennEast 4th Anniversary- FERC Denies Rehearing Request: August 13th marks the fourth anniversary of PennEast’s proposal for their pipeline. NJ Sierra Club joined with Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Berks Gas Truth, and the Pipeline Safety Coalition to fight the pipeline and organize the community. We've stopped PennEast for the last four years and this is a victory for the people who have been fighting this dangerous and unnecessary pipeline. On keeping the list on how bad FERC really is, they have denied the rehearing requests by environmentalists, so they are going forward with the project. FERC is a rubberstamp and that is why it is so important for Governor Murphy to get the state to deny PennEast’s DEP permits. Murphy committed to block harmful pipelines like PennEast, he needs to keep his word. The people of the valley do not want this pipeline. We soon realized that we were on to something when meetings in Delaware or Holland Twps. would draw 400 or 500 people. 1,000s of people have showed up at rallies and town meetings to learn about how they can stop the PennEast pipeline. PennEast has a long way to go and many permits to get. We will continue to fight as we have for the past four years against this pipeline and the agencies that approve it.

EPA Cleanup Plan Gibbstown-Hercules Superfund Site- Needs More: The United States Environmental Protection Agency are holding a public meeting tonight to discuss their proposal for a cleanup plan for the Hercules Inc. Superfund site in Gibbstown, New Jersey. The EPA is proposing a combination of excavation and treatment to address contamination to the soil, sediment and groundwater caused by previous chemical manufacturing operations at the site. Contaminates in groundwater include benzene, lead, and other organic compounds. Volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and lead have contaminated the soil at the site as well. The current proposed plan represents EPA’s final remedy required for the site. The site encompasses an 80-acre former process area and 4-acre area known as the solid waste disposal area. It’s good that the EPA will work to remove contaminated soil and groundwater however the plan does not include removing the toxic chemicals underneath the tar pits from the site. The other issue is that the cleanup plan includes capping in a flood prone area. We should not be capping over the most contaminated soil when we know that caps fail. The cap could break down because of storm surges and flooding, and release toxic chemicals into the Clonmell Creek and Delaware River. We could end up with a witch's brew of chemicals in our waterways as a result of a storm. The cleanup plan for Hercules Superfund site is a step in the right direction but there needs to be a full remediation.

This Week Dirty Dozen Beaches - More NJ Beach Closures: Another dozen beaches are closed bringing it up to 33 due to high levels of fecal bacteria. This adds to the 22 Jersey Shore beaches that were closed and or under advisory on Tuesday, August 14th. August 13th’s flooding wreaked havoc on New Jersey where 5 counties were in a state of emergency due to flooding. It is not unexpected that beaches in those counties have already been closed due to polluted stormwater runoff. These beaches are closed because of the failure of New Jersey to protect our bays and coast from chronic pollution. More rain will mean more polluted beaches. This is what happens when we roll back environmental protections and fail to control over-development, combined sewer overflows and storm water, and update our outdated water system. The DEP should be using testing that will take only hours rather than days. We also need at least $14 billion just to fix our combined sewer overflow systems and billions more to fix our water systems that are outdated and breaking. When rebuilding we need to incorporate protecting our storm water systems and water quality not only for tourism and our economy, but for the people of New Jersey who deserve a clean coast for to enjoy for future generations.

Holtec Will File to Buy Oyster Creek Plus Adds 5 New Third Parties: Holtec International, a Camden- based company plans to buy Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station and take over the site, including the decommissioning of the plant and other clean-up and restoration activities. Tomorrow Holtec will be filing with NRC tomorrow to build a nuclear repository in New Mexico. At their presentation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday, Holtec said that more subsidiaries and joint ventures would be involved in owning and decommissioning Oyster Creek. In their decommission plan, Holtec plans to use a new cask design for storing spent nuclear fuel, to move still-hot nuclear waste out of water pools and into dry casks in about half the usual time of five years. Before the BPU allows for the sale or the NRC approves the transfer, there are many serious questions that have to be answered. We want to make sure that if this transfer goes through, this becomes a positive for New Jersey. With Hotlec. adding more third parties in the purchase and new technology that they will not disclose to the public brings concerns about accountability, transparency, and funding that need to be answered to make sure this is a good deal for the ratepayers, environment, and communities of New Jersey.

Gov. Murphy Signs Lead Bill Into Law- Good Start, Needs More: Governor Murphy singed A4120 (Pinto Marin) into law. The legislation authorizes municipalities to levy special assessments, and issue bonds, to replace certain lead-contaminated water service lines. New Jersey has a major systemic problem when it comes to lead; whether it’s in our water, soil, or homes. In Newark alone, there are approximately 15,000 homes in which the water service lines connecting the property to the city's main water line are lead. This is the first real step by the Legislature to remove lead pipes from our streets. This law will help us target old lead pipes to get rid of and replace them with stronger pipes. We have $8 billion in pipes that need to be replaced. We need to turn that awareness of clean drinking water into action and this law is a good start but we need to do more to protect drinking water from lead in homes and schools. Thousands of children are diagnosed with lead poisoning in our state each year; over 3,500 a year. We thank Governor Murphy for signing this bill into law, it is a good first step to removing lead from out drinking water but we need to do more.”

Gov. Murphy Signs Bad Prescribed Burn Bill- Bad for Pinelands & Forest: Governor Murphy signed the Prescribed Burn A1675 (Dancer)/S2140 (Beach) into law. The bill authorizes prescribed burning in certain circumstances. This legislation will allow for prescribed burns on any area of land in the State designated in danger of wildfires. There are serious problems with this law because it does not properly address air pollution, safety concerns, and liability. Prescribed burns can get out of control or pushed by winds, threatening property and people. Under this law, liability is limited which mean people can get careless with prescribed burns. The law also does not take into account environmental criteria such as protections for areas containing endangered species. We believe Governor Murphy should have vetoed and either conditionally vetoed the bill to ensure that there are stricter and stronger environmental safety and liability standards in place. There is no need for prescribed burns because they already happen naturally in the Pinelands. While prescribed burns can be at times important conservation tools, there needs to be much clearer guidelines and standards to make sure we are not impacting people and wildlife with air pollution and that there is proper liability if the burn gets out of control.

Special Events!

On Saturday, September 8th, people across the country will be participating in the People’s Climate March. Here in New Jersey you have three opportunities to join in this collective effort to raise awareness and demand responsibility on climate change. Communities, towns, and cities from coast to coast are refusing to accept Trump’s attacks on the places, the things, and the people we love. On September 8th, we are rising up together all across the map!

We will be loud, we will be united, and we will be everywhere with our call for politicians to listen to the people, not the polluters, the billionaires, or the hateful. We will continue fighting for climate, jobs, and justice today, in November, and beyond. Please join us to Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice.

Morristown: There will be a rally with speakers followed by a festival with tables at the Morristown Town Hall lawn and steps (200 South Street Morristown, NJ 07960) with a predicted start time is 11:00 am. This event is sponsored by the New Jersey Sierra Club, Green Faith, and others.

Jersey City: We’ll be meeting at the Fountain at Lincoln Park (194 Kensington Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07304) from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. You can RSVP to event here. This event is sponsored by Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and Board of Chosen Freeholders; Friends of Lincoln Park; and Hudson County Sierra Club. Click here for more details.

Red Bank: The “Monmouth County for Clean Energy” PCM march will begin at Riverside Gardens Park, West Front Street at 10 AM. The march follows a designated short route through Red Bank Borough streets, to a rally at “Marine Park”, 1 Marine Park, East Front Street, and concludes at noon.

Wilderness Symposium

Date and Time: Wed, Sep 5, 2018 7:00 PM (Local Time)

Organized By: South Highlands Group

Location: 65 Halstead St, Clinton, NJ 08809, USA

Event Organizers: Jonathan Wall, docjdwall@gmail.com, (908) 295-1890

Wilderness Symposium: Join us for an informative discussion about various wilderness proposals including the need for wildlife corridors to connect our increasingly fragmented natural lands and threats to our federal lands from the Trump administration and Congress. District 7 Congressional Candidate Tom Malinowski is scheduled to speak.

The Palisades to The Cloisters via GWB Urban Hike

Date and Time: Sat, Sep 8, 2018 9:30 AM (Local Time)

Organized By: New Jersey Chp Sierra Singles

Location: Fort Lee, NJ 07024, USA

Event Organizers: Jimi Oleksiak, oleksiak@mac.com, 732 259-3793 & Jerry Ruocco, jerilu@optonline.net, 201 895-1998‬

The hike will cover 8 Miles in 4 hours on paved paths and park walkways. Features: The Palisades, The Hudson River, George Washington Bridge, The Cloisters Facilities: Restrooms at the parking lot for the Palisades and Fort Tryon Park, NY

Level: Moderate

Bring: Hiking boots and a knapsack with water and lunch.>>>> Sneakers are Allowed. <<<<

Signup Restrictions: Registration is required.

Cancellation Policy: Heavy rain cancels

Avian Wildlife Center

Date and Time: Tuesday, Sep 11, 2018 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (Local Time)

Organized By: Skylands Group

Location: Limecrest Road, Newton, NJ 07860, USA

Event Organizers: Greg Gorman, ggorman07419@embarqmail.com, 973-886-7950

Giselle Chazotte Smisko, Director of the Avian Wildlife Center of Wantage, NJ will be presenting. The Avian Wildlife Center is a wildlife rehabilitation center that treats all species of injured and orphaned wild birds with the goal of returning them healthy to the wild.

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Central Group Monthly Meeting

Date and Time: Wednesday, Sep 12, 2018 6:00 PM (Local Time)

Organized By: Central Jersey Group

Location: Mercer County Community College - Student Center and Library, 1200 Old Trenton Rd, West Windsor Township, NJ 08550, USA

Event Organizers: Joanne Pannone, 609-977-8222 & Kip Cherry, 609-731-9336

Dr. Alain Kornhauser (who presented self driving cars) presents "Opportunities for Central Jersey".

Cost: free

Signup Instructions: RSVP: kipatthesierraclub@gmail.com

Additional Directions: Easy parking, and access to Student Center, across from the Security Office.

Loantaka Group Meeting - Meet Mikie Sherrill

Date and Time: Wednesday, Sep 12, 2018 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM (Local Time)

Organized By: Loantaka Group

Location: Library of The Chathams, 214 Main St, Chatham Township, NJ 07928, USA

Event Organizers: Paul Sanderson, paulmsanderson@aol.com, (908) 233-2414

Mikie Sherrill is running for the NJ 11th District Congressional seat. The seat is currently held by Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen who is not running for re-election. Mikie will discuss her positions on environmental issues and then there will be a Q&A session.

General Membership Meeting

Date and Time: Wednesday, Sep 12, 2018 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM (Local Time)

Organized By: West Jersey Group

Location: 45 Friends Ave Haddonfield, NJ

Event Organizers: Gina Carola, ginaceee@verizon.net, (856) 885-1738

Recycling Houses in Camden Pilar Hogan of Saint Joseph’s Carpenter Society will bring us up to date on their most recent accomplishments in Camden where there is a great need for affordable housing.

Cost: FREE - open to the public

Bring: Your friends

Hudson County Book Group

Date and Time: Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (Local Time)

Organized By: Hudson County Group

Location: Beechwood Cafe, 290 Grove St, JC

Event Organizers: John Ottomanelli, otto.pittsburgh@gmail.com

The Hudson County Sierra Club Book Group will meet to read and discuss literature about environmental justice, conservation policy, climate change, sustainable development, etc.

We will read 'Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions' edited by Denise Fairchild & Al Weinrub. This volume brings together racial, cultural, and generational perspectives. This diversity is bound together by a common operating frame: that the global fight to save the planet— to conserve and restore our natural resources to be life-sustaining—must fully engage community residents and must change the larger economy to be sustainable, democratic, and just.

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Bring: Reading Selection: 'Energy Democracy' edited by Denise Fairchild and Al Weinrub (ISBN: 9781610918510).

Additional Directions: Look for the table with several copies of the reading selection prominently displayed.

Cancellation Policy: Activity is held rain or shine, but may be altered due to inclement weather

Screening of 'Reinventing Power'

Date and Time: Sun, Sep 30, 2018 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM (Local Time)

Organized By: Hudson County Group

Location: HCCC Library, 71 Sip Ave, JC

Event Organizers: Andrea Rodriguez, aarodriguez87@gmail.com, (201) 888-6384 &John Ottomanelli, otto.pittsburgh@gmail.com

Join the Hudson County Sierra Club for a viewing of the film, 'Reinventing Power: America’s Renewable Energy Boom.' The film takes us across the country to hear directly from the people making our clean energy future achievable. These individuals are working to rebuild what’s broken, rethink what’s possible, and revitalize communities. These stories are proof that America does not need to choose between keeping our lights on and protecting our communities. Critically, Reinventing Power underscores the notion that we don’t have to sacrifice jobs for a clean environment. Supporting a clean energy future means building a better, more prosperous future for everyone. Over the film’s 50 minutes, you’ll meet people in eight states whose lives were changed by the renewable energy industry while exploring various aspects of the clean energy industry from innovation to installation.

Followed by post-screening discussion and 'next steps' toward cleaner energy. #ReadyFor100

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Additional Directions: The HCCC Library is across the street from the Journal Square Transportation Center. There are several paid parking options: Journal Square PATH Garage, 16 Path Plaza; Square Ramp Parking, 801 Pavonia Ave; State Square Parking, 132 Sip Ave; Sip Parking, 60 Sip Ave.

Cancellation Policy: Activity is held rain or shine, but may be altered due to inclement weather

Created By
Taylor McFarland | NJ Sierra Club
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