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Aaron Kleinbaum, Executive Director of EELC, will step down to become NJ Assistant Attorney General

(Newark, New Jersey, July 19, 2019) It is with both pride and sadness that the EELC Board of Directors announces that Executive Director Aaron Kleinbaum is leaving EELC to take the position as Assistant Attorney General for Environmental Enforcement and Environmental Justice at the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.  Our loss is New Jersey’s gain, and Kleinbaum’s new position is good news for the environment in our region.

Kleinbaum leaves behind his record as a legal advocate for a clean energy future, for preserved open space, and for environmental justice in disadvantaged communities. Under his leadership, EELC has had victories in combating climate change, including a recent denial of state permits for the NESE fracked gas pipeline project.  Kleinbaum has opened up a new area of practice at EELC, Energy Efficiency, through EELC’s representation of local and national greens in front of the Board of Public Utilities.  He has led EELC in representing Environmental Justice communities, like Newark’s Ironbound in land use and contamination issues, as well as the Ramapo Mountain Indians in their fight to maintain the right to conduct ceremonial practices on their land.   He has worked tirelessly to safeguard the state’s water supply in the New Jersey Highlands and secured the legal right for the Highlands Council to be consulted on development issues. Kleinbaum leaves EELC stronger.  Under his leadership, he has superbly marshalled people and resources to fight for the environment. 

Pursuant to EELC’s succession plan, Ed Lloyd, Co-chair of the EELC Board will lead the Board’s national search for an Executive Director, and Alexi Assmus, PhD, Co-chair of the Board, will assume the role of Interim Executive Director.  Lloyd founded EELC in 1993, has represented environmental groups for 45 years, and is an endowed professor at Columbia University where he heads the law school’s environmental law clinic.  Assmus, a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford University has spent fifteen years doing research and teaching history of science at Harvard University, Polytechnic University, Princeton University, and the University of California at Berkeley.   She has led community groups working on environmental and land use issues, and she is currently a strategic communications professional.

Dan Greenhouse will be the Supervisory Attorney while the Executive Director search is conducted and will have primary EELC staff responsibility for legal decisions.  Prior to joining EELC as a Senior Staff Attorney, Greenhouse was an environmental litigator representing public and private clients, including eleven years of experience as Deputy Attorney General at the NJ Division of Law.

We cannot thank Kleinbaum enough for the unwavering commitment, passion, enthusiasm and motivation he has given to EELC over the past seven years. He will be greatly missed by the Board, staff, clients and donors alike. We look forward to following the success of his career and are hopeful and excited for the next chapter of EELC as we continue to thoughtfully and passionately represent our public interest clients.

Ed Lloyd, Esq., Co-Chair of Board

Alexi Assmus, PhD, Co-Chair of Board

# # #

Victory in New Jersey!

Newark, NJ (June 6, 2019) – Environmental groups and impacted homeowners declare victory and applaud the Murphy administration’s New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for the June 5, 2019 denial of Williams/Transco’s proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline project, which would transport fracked natural gas through New Jersey from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania to energy markets in New York City. The specific elements of the project primarily would have consisted of a new compressor station in Somerset County, NJ; increased pipeline pressure and capacity throughout existing Pennsylvania and New Jersey pipelines; and almost twenty-seven miles of new pipeline from Sayreville, New Jersey across the Raritan Bay to gas terminals in Rockaway Queens, New York. The NJDEP’s denial effectively means that the project cannot move forward unless Transco re-applies and is granted the permits.

The Eastern Environmental Law Center (EELC) represents NY/NJ Baykeeper, Food & Water Watch – New Jersey, Central Jersey Safe Energy Coalition, and the Princeton Manor Homeowners Association, who have numerous concerns regarding the NESE Project. Many of the individual members of these clients live close by the proposed new compressor station and pipelines included in the Project.

“NJDEP’s denial of the NESE project permits is the correct application of law and science – something that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) failed to do in its certification.” said Michele Langa, Staff Attorney at NY/NJ Baykeeper. “New York and now New Jersey have both rejected NESE as a project that damages the environment and is not in the public interest.”

The NJDEP agrees with the above environmental groups and impacted homeowners, and deemed that the project would cause significant adverse environmental impacts. The state of New Jersey recognizes the significant impacts to water, wildlife, and the safety and health of communities that were raised by elected officials, federal and state agencies, scientists, and citizens in comments to the NJDEP.

Langa of NY/NJ Baykeeper stressed that “if built, this pipeline would have disrupted commercial and recreational fishing and boating, having an adverse impact on marinas and boaters in Cheesequake Creek, Sandy Hook, and the rest of the Raritan Bay area. Construction of the pipeline would also have dredged up toxic sediments in the Bay and disturb 14,000 acres of habitat for shellfish, horseshoe crabs, and marine mammals. If Transco re-applies for the needed permits, NY/NJ Baykeeper will continue to fight the damaging NESE pipeline with sound science and the law to keep it from harming our beautiful bay, our air, our water, our health, our safety, and our planet.”

Barry Kutch, the leader of Central New Jersey Safe Energy Coalition, stated that “we applaud the NJDEP and the Murphy administration for denying this pipeline that would have increased our reliance on fossil fuels. It is good to see that citizens’ voices matter, and that the thousands of citizens opposing NESE were heard and the law was correctly applied. If Transco re-applies, we vow to keep fighting to protect our communities and our state from this project that threatens our health, safety, and environment.”

Eileen Balaban Eisenberg and Pradip Chakravarti, the leaders of the Princeton Manor Homeowners Association, a senior community that is in the shadow of the proposed compressor station, praised the NJDEP’s decision, saying “We feel vindicated that our concerns were heard and the NJDEP stood up for the people of NJ. This project brings nothing but harm to our Township and NJ with no benefits.”

Junior Romero, NJ Regional Organizer for Food & Water Watch, emphasized that NJDEP’s denial means that Transco cannot proceed with its pipeline. If Transco chooses to re-apply, Romero said that “we ask that the NJDEP and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) again deny the permits under their strict application standards. It’s gratifying in light of Trump’s pro-fossil fuel policies and FERC’s record that the states have stepped up to stop projects, like NESE, that take us in the wrong direction.”

The permit denial can be downloaded here.

About Eastern Environmental Law Center

About NY/NJ Baykeeper

About Food & Water Watch – New Jersey

About Central Jersey Safe Energy Coalition

About Princeton Manor

nj.com: Environmentalists beg for a halt as work on $180M Pinelands pipeline begins

photo: nj.com

As seasoned environmental and energy lawyers, EELC’S attorneys sued on behalf of New Jersey Sierra Club to stop the so-called Southern Reliability Link (SRL) pipeline in the #Pinelands. SRL poses a safety threat and would disrupt Pinelands communities. Also, it threatens wildlife and habitat in the environmentally-sensitive Pinelands region, and would risk contaminating groundwater in the event of construction mishaps or pipeline breaks. EELC appealed SRL’s permits and now sued to stop the construction while the appeal is pending. Pinelands Preservation Alliance also seeks to stop construction. Read more here: nj.com

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Year End letter from our Executive Director

Greetings to all of our friends and supporters.
Much has happened since I wrote you last. I have been heartened to see New Jersey pass the Clean Energy Act of 2018 and commit to a 2019 Energy Master Plan that would lay out a pathway to 100% clean energy for New Jersey by 2050.   We have also seen the Attorney General’s office move on recovering damages from six toxic chemical spills, including one we have been working on in Newark for several years.
EELC has recently taken on energy conservation work, on behalf of the National Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund that supports the “decoupling” of utility sales from revenues. Utilities have been disincentivized from aggressively pursuing energy conservation programs because their profits drop as they sell less energy.   Called GEM by PSE&G, or the Green Enabling Mechanism, decoupling would allow PSE&G to charge slightly higher rates as utility sales fall, while at the same time protecting customers from seeing higher bills.
The NRDC and EDF intervened in PSE&G’s petition to New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities to allow the electric utility to recover fixed costs even as their customers become more energy efficient, or even produce their own energy. In New Jersey, for example, 93,000 customers are now providing energy to the grid, mainly through rooftop solar, and these small-scale solar facilities produced about 2.3% of the state’s retail sales in 2017.   Decoupling prevents the utility from having to accept a significant financial penalty for allowing such distributed generation of electricity.   Decoupling is currently used in sixteen states that are serving 43 million electric customers. Nationwide, 105 electric and gas utilities are decoupled.
We continue our clean energy work in front of the BPU, work that in the past has led to the introduction of smart metering technology in New Jersey and to funds set aside for energy efficiency improvements after Superstorm Sandy.
Pipelines
 
        Photo courtesy of The Watershed Institute
Our client Food and Water Watch likes to say that New Jersey is a spaghetti bowl of pipelines with 1500 miles of already existing pipelines crisscrossing the state. In spite of this large existing network, six pipelines are currently being proposed to pass through the state. Energy companies are racing to profit from fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale in the Appalachians.
These proposed pipelines raise Fifth Amendment private property rights questions. “Public purpose” must be proven before private land can be seized through eminent domain for the construction of a privately-owned pipeline. In July, EELC submitted comments to FERC on its gas pipeline certificate policy which was last updated in 1999. We urged FERC to revamp its processes for determining whether a pipeline is truly needed, to reject contracts with a pipeline company’s own affiliates as proof of market demand, and to only grant pipelines the authority to seize land through eminent domain after a pipeline has received all of its required permits. FERC agreed that its permitting process is flawed and has undertaken a review.
In August, in contradiction to its own recognized need to review the process that determines public need for a project, FERC voted 3-2 to reject requests by our clients the New Jersey Conservation Foundationand Stony Brook Millstone Watershed for a rehearing of the PennEast pipeline and motions to stay the project. FERC Commissioner Richard Glick’s dissent made clear that the need for PennEast had not been established, “Today’s order simply is not the product of reasoned decision-making … It does not take much imagination to understand why an affiliate shipper might be interested in contracting with a related pipeline developer for capacity that may not be needed, such as the parent company’s prospect of earning a 14 percent return on equity.”
On other NJ pipeline news, EELC is representing NY/NJ BaykeeperFood and Water Watchand local homeowner associations to oppose the NESE pipeline which would convey an additional 400 million cubic feet/day of fracked gas from Pennsylvania to Sayreville, New Jersey, and across the Raritan Bay to the Rockaways in Queens.   EELC is working closely with residents of Franklin and South Brunswick Townships which oppose NESE because of a nearby proposed compressor station.
In April, New York State denied permits for the NESE pipeline, and in September the NJDEP cited deficiencies in the NESE application. The company continues to provide revised plans to the NJDEP to try to overcome these deficiencies. Barbara Cuthbert, a member of the Franklin Township Taskforce on Compressor Station 206 and NESE, pointed out that “Transco/Williams is a very competent company … When they’re going up against all of these state and federal regulations, they know all of these ways to maneuver out of what we know to be damaging to the environment.”
The next major step on NESE is the Final Environmental Impact Statement which, if issued, will be drafted by the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC). Its possible release has been pushed back from this fall to early next year. EELC commissioned an expert to study water quality issues. The expert identified major failures in Transco/Williams’ plans. For example, NESE will impermissibly destroy valuable wetlands, create flooding hazards, and damage the habitat of Raritan Bay.
Environmental Justice
 
NJ Attorney General Grewal addresses contamination in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood
 
In early August, EELC joined Newark’s Ironbound community as NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, NJDEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe and NJ Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver
announced the filing of six lawsuits for cost recovery and natural resources damages resulting from toxic chemical spills throughout the state. One of those sites is the Ironbound’s Manufacturers Place neighborhood whose residents have been exposed to contaminated groundwater and toxic vapors from the former Ronson Metals Corporation.
This is a shocking situation which began after the DEP required Ronson Metal Corps, a manufacturer of cigarette lighters, to remediate their closed facility to industrial clean-up standards and place a deed restriction on the property. Tragically, the property was sold to a developer who built nineteen homes in 2002 and promptly disappeared.
In 2012, when the DEP returned for a routine check on the property, which should have been repurposed as a parking lot or some other industrial use, they found the homes built on the contaminated site. Indoor air quality testing revealed unacceptable levels of tri-chloroethane (TCE) a volatile industrial solvent within the living spaces of fifteen homes.
Many residents are at risk for health impacts related to their exposure. TCE is a likely carcinogen and can cause harmful effects on the nervous system, liver, respiratory system, kidneys, blood, immune system and heart as well as reproductive effects. Soil vapor extraction units were installed to remove the toxic air from beneath the affected homes and to vent it into the atmosphere, much like radon systems.
EELC represents the Ironbound Community Corporation in this important environmental justice matter and is seeking justice for the impacted residents.
Open Space
 
Green Acres preserved beachfront lost to private amusement park
This summer EELC fought on behalf the American Littoral Society and the New Jersey Conservation Foundationto defend against an unprecedented transfer of 1.37 acres of public beachfront property in Seaside Heights worth $2 million to a private developer. This property had been preserved through the state’s Green Acres program, but a private developer received approval to build an amusement park on the land.
Green Acres publicly acquired lands can only be developed if the land is swapped for another parcel of equal usefulness and recreational or economic value. In this case, the town accepted in trade an antique merry-go-round, a small parking lot, and nearby undevelopable wetlands worth less than $300k in trade. This sets a terrible precedent and was important to challenge in the Appellate Division. The Court agreed with EELC that the agencies had failed to set forth findings on the adverse consequences of the trade, as required by the Green Acres regulations.
The Appellate Court stated that it would usually require a remand to correct this error. However, citing “unique circumstances”, the Court concluded that a remand was not warranted in this instance.
While 1.37 acres of public beach parkland has been lost, the Appellate Division opinion serves as an important notice that Green Acres parkland cannot be traded into private ownership for historic objects.
Our Summer Interns
We were fortunate to have two fantastic law students intern with EELC over the summer. Ollia Pappas is a joint degree student focusing on environmental law at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. Ollia assisted tremendously with EELC’s clean energy caseload. Ruth Sheridan is combining her artistic background from The Cooper Union with environmental law from EELC and spent most of her summer focusing on pipeline litigation work. Both were a joy to have at the office and we wish them a successful year in law school.
Ruth Sheridan and Ollia Pappas
For more information on all of our legal efforts on behalf of the environmental community, please visit us at our website, and on Facebook and Twitter.
 With best wishes,
Aaron Kleinbaum
Executive Director
Eastern Environmental Law Center

 

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Newsletter: Fall Greetings from EELC

Greetings to all of our friends and supporters.
Much has happened since I wrote you last. I have been heartened to see New Jersey pass the Clean Energy Act of 2018 and commit to a 2019 Energy Master Plan that would lay out a pathway to 100% clean energy for New Jersey by 2050.   We have also seen the Attorney General’s office move on recovering damages from six toxic chemical spills, including one we have been working on in Newark for several years.
EELC has recently taken on energy conservation work, on behalf of the National Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund that supports the “decoupling” of utility sales from revenues. Utilities have been disincentivized from aggressively pursuing energy conservation programs because their profits drop as they sell less energy.   Called GEM by PSE&G, or the Green Enabling Mechanism, decoupling would allow PSE&G to charge slightly higher rates as utility sales fall, while at the same time protecting customers from seeing higher bills.
The NRDC and EDF intervened in PSE&G’s petition to New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities to allow the electric utility to recover fixed costs even as their customers become more energy efficient, or even produce their own energy. In New Jersey, for example, 93,000 customers are now providing energy to the grid, mainly through rooftop solar, and these small-scale solar facilities produced about 2.3% of the state’s retail sales in 2017.   Decoupling prevents the utility from having to accept a significant financial penalty for allowing such distributed generation of electricity.   Decoupling is currently used in sixteen states that are serving 43 million electric customers. Nationwide, 105 electric and gas utilities are decoupled.
We continue our clean energy work in front of the BPU, work that in the past has led to the introduction of smart metering technology in New Jersey and to funds set aside for energy efficiency improvements after Superstorm Sandy.

Pipelines

Photo Courtesy The Watershed Institute                                                                                                                         

Our client Food and Water Watch likes to say that New Jersey is a spaghetti bowl of pipelines with 1500 miles of already existing pipelines crisscrossing the state. In spite of this large existing network, six pipelines are currently being proposed to pass through the state. Energy companies are racing to profit from fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale in the Appalachians.
These proposed pipelines raise Fifth Amendment private property rights questions. “Public purpose” must be proven before private land can be seized through eminent domain for the construction of a privately-owned pipeline. In July, EELC submitted comments to FERC on its gas pipeline certificate policy which was last updated in 1999. We urged FERC to revamp its processes for determining whether a pipeline is truly needed, to reject contracts with a pipeline company’s own affiliates as proof of market demand, and to only grant pipelines the authority to seize land through eminent domain after a pipeline has received all of its required permits. FERC agreed that its permitting process is flawed and has undertaken a review.
In August, in contradiction to its own recognized need to review the process that determines public need for a project, FERC voted 3-2 to reject requests by our clients the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Stony Brook Millstone Watershed for a rehearing of the PennEast pipeline and motions to stay the project. FERC Commissioner Richard Glick’s dissent made clear that the need for PennEast had not been established, “Today’s order simply is not the product of reasoned decision-making … It does not take much imagination to understand why an affiliate shipper might be interested in contracting with a related pipeline developer for capacity that may not be needed, such as the parent company’s prospect of earning a 14 percent return on equity.”
On other NJ pipeline news, EELC is representing NY/NJ BaykeeperFood and Water Watchand local homeowner associations to oppose the NESE pipeline which would convey an additional 400 million cubic feet/day of fracked gas from Pennsylvania to Sayreville, New Jersey, and across the Raritan Bay to the Rockaways in Queens.   EELC is working closely with residents of Franklin and South Brunswick Townships which oppose NESE because of a nearby proposed compressor station.
In April, New York State denied permits for the NESE pipeline, and in September the NJDEP cited deficiencies in the NESE application. The company continues to provide revised plans to the NJDEP to try to overcome these deficiencies. Barbara Cuthbert, a member of the Franklin Township Taskforce on Compressor Station 206 and NESE, pointed out that “Transco/Williams is a very competent company … When they’re going up against all of these state and federal regulations, they know all of these ways to maneuver out of what we know to be damaging to the environment.”
The next major step on NESE is the Final Environmental Impact Statement which, if issued, will be drafted by the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC). Its possible release has been pushed back from this fall to early next year. EELC commissioned an expert to study water quality issues. The expert identified major failures in Transco/Williams’ plans. For example, NESE will impermissibly destroy valuable wetlands, create flooding hazards, and damage the habitat of Raritan Bay.

Environmental Justice

NJ Attorney General Grewal addresses contamination in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood

In early August, EELC joined Newark’s Ironbound community as NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, NJDEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe and NJ Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver
announced the filing of six lawsuits for cost recovery and natural resources damages resulting from toxic chemical spills throughout the state. One of those sites is the Ironbound’s Manufacturers Place neighborhood whose residents have been exposed to contaminated groundwater and toxic vapors from the former Ronson Metals Corporation.
This is a shocking situation which began after the DEP required Ronson Metal Corps, a manufacturer of cigarette lighters, to remediate their closed facility to industrial clean-up standards and place a deed restriction on the property. Tragically, the property was sold to a developer who built nineteen homes in 2002 and promptly disappeared.
In 2012, when the DEP returned for a routine check on the property, which should have been repurposed as a parking lot or some other industrial use, they found the homes built on the contaminated site. Indoor air quality testing revealed unacceptable levels of tri-chloroethane (TCE) a volatile industrial solvent within the living spaces of fifteen homes.
Many residents are at risk for health impacts related to their exposure. TCE is a likely carcinogen and can cause harmful effects on the nervous system, liver, respiratory system, kidneys, blood, immune system and heart as well as reproductive effects. Soil vapor extraction units were installed to remove the toxic air from beneath the affected homes and to vent it into the atmosphere, much like radon systems.
EELC represents the Ironbound Community Corporation in this important environmental justice matter and is seeking justice for the impacted residents.

Open Space

Green Acres preserved beachfront lost to private amusement park

This summer EELC fought on behalf the American Littoral Society and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation to defend against an unprecedented transfer of 1.37 acres of public beachfront property in Seaside Heights worth $2 million to a private developer. This property had been preserved through the state’s Green Acres program, but a private developer received approval to build an amusement park on the land.
Green Acres publicly acquired lands can only be developed if the land is swapped for another parcel of equal usefulness and recreational or economic value. In this case, the town accepted in trade an antique merry-go-round, a small parking lot, and nearby undevelopable wetlands worth less than $300k in trade. This sets a terrible precedent and was important to challenge in the Appellate Division. The Court agreed with EELC that the agencies had failed to set forth findings on the adverse consequences of the trade, as required by the Green Acres regulations.
The Appellate Court stated that it would usually require a remand to correct this error. However, citing “unique circumstances”, the Court concluded that a remand was not warranted in this instance.
While 1.37 acres of public beach parkland has been lost, the Appellate Division opinion serves as an important notice that Green Acres parkland cannot be traded into private ownership for historic objects.

Our Summer Interns

Ruth Sheridan and Ollia Pappas

We were fortunate to have two fantastic law students intern with EELC over the summer. Ollia Pappas is a joint degree student focusing on environmental law at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. Ollia assisted tremendously with EELC’s clean energy caseload. Ruth Sheridan is combining her artistic background from The Cooper Union with environmental law from EELC and spent most of her summer focusing on pipeline litigation work. Both were a joy to have at the office and we wish them a successful year in law school.

For more information on all of our legal efforts on behalf of the environmental community, please visit us at our website, and on Facebook and Twitter.
 With best wishes,
Aaron Kleinbaum
Executive Director
Eastern Environmental Law Center

Green Acres Land Cannot be Traded Into Private Ownership for Historic Objects

The New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed, with modification, the approval of a Green Acres land swap in I/M/O Seaside Heights Borough Public Beach, July 30, 2018.  Litwin & Provence LLC and Eastern Environmental Law Center represented the American Littoral Society (ALS) and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF), who appealed the June 2016 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and NJ State House Commission (SHC) Green Acres disposal approval.  The approval allowed for the unprecedented transfer of 1.37 acres of municipally-owned beach to a private developer in exchange for a wooden carousel built in the 1890s, a smaller “boardwalk facing” land (but not beach front), and a 67-acre wetland parcel in Toms River. Following the swap, the private developer built a private amusement pier on the beachfront parcel. Monday’s decision modified the challenged approval, but ultimately affirmed the disposal of the public beach.

ALS and NJCF appealed the approval of the swap, which threatened to open the gates to more transfers of public beach to private owners in exchange for historic objects and rather than replacement parkland.  Though the Appellate Division decision allows the swap to stand, the Court modified the conditions of the approval to make clear that parkland must be swapped for replacement parkland, not historic objects.  The Court agreed with the argument by ALS and NJCF, ruling that the Green Acres law allows “the exchange of lands together with historic properties, not the exchange of land for historic properties independent of any replacement land”, and that the Green Acres regulations “contemplate that any major disposal must involve replacement land, not solely personal property….”  By requiring the carousel to be placed upon the boardwalk-facing parcel, the Court modified the challenged approval to make it comport with the law.

The Court further agreed with ALS and NJCF that the agencies had failed to set forth findings on the adverse consequences of the conveyance, as required by the Green Acres regulations. The Appellate Division agreed with ALS and NJCF that the agencies were required to complete this analysis because “…under the plan language of the regulation, DEP and the SHC must consider whether a proposed disposal will ‘substantially’ result in any of the adverse consequences . . .” The Court stated that it would usually require a remand to correct this error. However, citing “unique circumstances”, the Court concluded that a remand was not warranted in this instance.

While 1.37 of public beach parkland has been lost, the Appellate Division opinion serves as important notice that Green Acres parkland cannot be traded into private ownership for historic objects.

 

 

Environmental Groups & Legislators Warn of Kavanaugh’s Environmental Record

EELC Senior Staff Attorney Jenn Danis (far right) with NJ Senator Cory Booker in Brick, NJ, August 6, 2018.

 

EELC senior staff attorney Jenn Danis joined NJ Senators Booker & Menendez and others to discuss the detrimental effects a Judge Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination could have on the environment. In Brick, NJ, an area hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, Danis spoke on behalf of The Watershed Institute and NJ Conservation Foundation about Kavanaugh’s environmental record on the US Court of Appeals DC Circuit: “Judge Kavanaugh routinely ruled to limit the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to protect our country against what many have called the largest threat to our national security – climate change.” Despite what Kavanaugh’s beliefs are regarding climate change, Danis said he “narrowly interprets EPA’s authority to reach any issues that are not explicitly spelled out by Congress. This will have very bad consequences for EPA’s ability to make regulations regarding GHG emissions and protect against climate change…”

https://www.app.com/story/news/politics/2018/08/06/democrats-shore-risk-under-trumps-supreme-court-pick/913085002/

 

 

EELC submits legal comments to FERC detailing flaws in pipeline approval policies

EELC submitted legal comments yesterday on behalf of clients New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJ Conservation), The Watershed Institute and Sierra Club to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in response to the federal agency’s request for comments on its gas pipeline certificate policy, which was last updated in 1999. The purpose of the comments was to urge FERC to revamp its processes for determining whether a pipeline is truly needed, not accept contracts with a pipeline company’s own affiliates as proof of market demand, and not grant pipelines the authority to seize land through eminent domain before a pipeline has received all of its required permits. EELC’s comments were submitted with the Columbia Environmental Law Clinic.

Read the comments here.

 

 

Victory for the environment: Williams withdraws NESE pipeline application from NJDEP

EELC is celebrating its victory for the environment: On June 14, 2018, Williams/Transco withdrew its Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline application from the NJDEP. Franklin Township’s Mayor, ​Phil Kramer celebrated the victory too, but said, “The Fight isn’t over yet.” On behalf of its clients, Central Jersey Safe Energy Coalition, Princeton Manor Homeowners Association, Food & Water Watch & NY/NJ Baykeeper, EELC agrees that the battle against the pipeline through Raritan Bay and the new compressor station in Franklin Township will continue because the pipeline company reapplied for the pipeline work a few days later. Nevertheless, the permit withdrawal and reapplication recognizes that NJDEP would not approve the project.

https://www.mycentraljersey.com/…/transco-pipeli…/722114002/

New York State Denies NESE Water Permit

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“NYDEC”) today denied Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company’s (“Transco”) application for Water Quality Certification for its Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (“NESE”) due to incomplete information. According to the NYDEC’s statement, the application was not only incomplete, the materials submitted raised serious environmental concerns as well.

EELC is proud to represent the following clients in this matter:

Central Jersey Safe Energy Coalition

Princeton Manor Homeowners Association

Food & Water Watch

NY/NY Baykeeper

EELC Spring Letter to Supporters

Happy Spring!
First, I’d like to thank all our supporters again for helping us make 2017 a year in which we were able to bring our work on clean energy and pipelines to a national level and expand our representation of New Jersey’s environmental organizations and community groups in our other priority areas: environmental justice and open space.
With respect to open space, EELC is working with the Highlands Coalition and local residents and has filed a lawsuit to protect the Meer Tract located at Federal Hill, a historically and environmentally important property preserved as open space in the Highlands Region. The Meer Tract is one of the most valuable remaining open spaces in Passaic County. The property provides a significant quantity of clean drinking water, and also serves as critical wildlife habitat.

Read More

NJDEP Challenges FERC Certificate for PennEast

UPDATE (February 20, 2018): In an unprecedented move NJDEP, in agreement with EELC’s position, has asked FERC to reverse its decision to issue a conditional certificate to PennEast due to “woefully insufficient data”.

On behalf of clients New Jersey Conservation Foundation  and Stony Brook–Millstone Watershed Association, EELC today filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a rehearing and rescission of its recent order granting a conditional certificate of public convenience and necessity.  Also filed is a motion for a stay of that Certificate Order. “FERC issued this Order less than one month after it acknowledged its pipeline review process is not properly considering need, impacts to landowners, or the environment,” said Jennifer Danis, EELC Senior Staff Attorney.  “Our request asks FERC to reconsider its flawed decision to allow PennEast to plow forward, blindly relying on private contracts to justify massive land seizures.”

 

NJDEP to PennEast: Pipeline Denied

In a strongly worded letter to PennEast, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection denied a freshwater wetlands permit sought by the pipeline company.  The Conditional Certificate that FERC recently issued for PennEast clearly states that the pipeline can’t proceed without permits from NJDEP.

Tom Gilbert, campaign director, New Jersey Conservation Foundation said, “PennEast wants to put a polluting, dangerous pipeline across dozens of pure streams and rivers that are the source of our drinking water…  If PennEast reapplies to NJDEP, we are confident that their damaging pipeline won’t be able to meet the strict standards that project our water and natural resources.”
Read MyCentralJersey.com article here.
New Jersey Conservation Foundation
rethinkenergynj

Fight Against PennEast Pipeline Shifts to New Jersey

FERC approved PennEast pipeline despite lack of need & threats to water, health & safety. New Jersey doesn’t need or want this damaging pipeline, and has the power to stop it when it faces a more stringent state review.

“By issuing this Certificate, FERC failed to meet its obligations under the law. We’ll be challenging its decision, which ignored the extensive economic and scientific evidence showing that PennEast would provide no public benefit, a core requirement for a project that anticipates having to take private property for much of its route in New Jersey,” said Jennifer Danis, senior attorney, Eastern Environmental Law Center.

FERC Certificate Press Release_FINAL

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Judge Denies Ramapo Polo Club’s Injunction Against Ramapoughs

A Superior Court judge just gave a significant win to EELC and its client, the Ramapough Mountain Indians. In an Order signed on December 15, the Court denied the neighborhood Polo Club residents’ request for a restraining order preventing the Ramapoughs from using their own land for prayer and cultural assembly.

This involves the ongoing dispute between the Ramapoughs  and the Township of Mahway, NJ over teepees and other religious and indigenous practices on land near the Polo Club subdivision and the Ramapo River.  Read More