EELC provided legal assistance to Bergen Save the Watershed Action Network (SWAN) and the Hackensack Riverkeeper to preserve 55 acres of valuable watershed property. The land, owned by United Water — now Suez — in Harrington Park, borders the Oradell Reservoir and falls under the Watershed Protection and Moratorium Act, which protects lands which serve as buffer zones for public water supplies.
Read the northjersey.com article here.
I’d love to share with you some good food, good talk, and good work by our friends at the Eastern Environmental Law Center at my home in mid-April. I’ll be cooking eggs collected from our own chickens (you can visit them and guess who laid your breakfast egg!) and enjoying the early spring flowers, first thing Wednesday morning April 19th at 8 am, and I hope you can join us. For the non-egg eaters, I will have other delicious options and good, strong coffee available (tea too, if you insist!)
View of farms in the NJ Highlands which stretch 60 miles from Phillipsburg in southwest New Jersey to Oakland in the northeast. The Highlands lie in the counties of Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren and include more than 88 New Jersey towns. The New Jersey Highlands are part of the Appalachian range which runs from Maine to Georgia. Photo courtesy of EELC client, the Highlands Coalition. Read More
Waterfront communities throughout New Jersey are debating how they can protect themselves from the type of high-level flooding and tidal surges they experienced with Hurricane Sandy as they plan for climate change and the increasing storms and sea level rise it brings. Hoboken, with piers and development directly on the tidal Hudson River, has been in the vanguard of waterfront municipalities seeking to amend their ordinances to protect waterfront open space and incorporate updated coastal hazard maps and federal and state coastal regulations. EELC, along with its ally, N.J. Appleseed, and their client Hoboken’s Fund for a Better Waterfront are fighting a complicated legal battle to protect municipal ordinances from developers who do not want flood ordinances to apply to high-rise projects built on piers. The amended Hoboken ordinances prohibit buildings on piers and below the mean high tide mark, referencing new federal coastal maps showing areas of high hazard in heavy storms. Alongside this story of municipalities adapting to increasingly destructive storms and climate change, is the tale of a citizen’s group realizing a vision for a continuous public park along Hoboken’s Hudson Waterfront, an area for walking, boating, and enjoying the spectacular views of the river and Manhattan.
In a brief filed recently on behalf of the Sierra Club, EELC charges that the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities ignored state and local laws when it approved a proposal for a New Jersey Natural Gas pipeline in the Pinelands. According to EELC Senior Staff Attorney, Raghu Murthy, the BPU short-circuited the local approval process for Pinelands developments and failed to demonstrate that the Southern Reliability Link pipeline is necessary. EELC also opposed a related decision by the Pinelands Commission Executive Director. Read More
On January 30th, in a victory for both environmental advocates and for the New Jersey Pinelands, the New Jersey state appeals court remanded a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) decision which failed to adequately protect a critical wetland habitat in Manchester Township, part of the Pinelands National Reserve. Aaron Kleinbaum, EELC Executive director calls this a “major win for the appellants, who work to protect the state’s wetlands and resources.” EELC, representing the Pinelands Preservation Alliance and Save Barnegat Bay in this matter, submitted comments to the NJDEP supporting the preservation of these Pineland wetlands. Soon after the appeals court decision, the Walmart superstore abandoned its plans.
UPDATE (April 10, 2017): On Friday, April 7, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final environmental impact statement for the PennEast pipeline. For more on this latest development, read our press release here.
Recent articles: http://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/local/land-environment/2017/04/07/penneast-step-closer-approval-groups-plan-sue/100176130/ https://www.law360.com/articles/911159/ferc-gives-final-enviro-statement-to-1b-penneast-pipeline
When people think of New Jersey, rolling hills, horse pastures, and 18th-century colonial homes are not the first things that come to mind. However, these places — one of our state’s best-kept secrets — do exist. Preservationists have worked for decades to keep these iconic sites intact for future generations. These unique resources, which have state and federal protection, deserve to be safe from development and damage. By threatening to destroy over 4,000 acres of previously preserved lands (including private property, taxpayer-funded lands, and historic sites), the PennEast pipeline puts this open country at risk. EELC’s clients the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Alliance are opposing the PennEast pipeline Read More
New Jersey is a state of many “firsts”: the first boardwalk, first copper mine, and first drive-in movie theater. Ironically, our state is the birthplace of modern electricity, but as one of only eighteen states without advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), we are lagging far behind in new utility technology. EELC is collaborating with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to advocate for AMI and smart meters for state residents, which can improve efficiency, reduce electric costs, clean our airways, and even bring in revenue. In 2015, Business Insider forecasted a whopping savings exceeding $150 billion for customers switching to smart meters. By improving efficiency and purchasing electricity when prices are lowest, customers slash dollars off their electric bills. Customers can also sell surplus electricity back to their utility companies and enjoy faster repairs during power outages.
Seeking positive change for state residents, EELC is taking action to bring utility customers maximum benefits at a minimal cost via smart grid technology. In April 2016, Rockland Electric Company (RECO) filed a petition Read More
Eight years after the NJ Department of Environmental Protection revoked a sewage permit for a wild trout stream in the Highlands region, the agency suddenly reissued the discharge permit to the surprise of environmental organizations. The Highlands is an area stretching across northern New Jersey that is protected by the NJ Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, state legislation passed in 2004. The permit allows the discharge of 100,000 gallons of treated sewer water daily into the Northern branch of the Rockaway Creek, which is a designated wild trout stream and home to 20 other fish species. NJDEP first issued the permit in the 1990s, but revoked it in 2006 after the stream gained new protections. On April 7, 2015, EELC appealed this right to discharge sewage into a protected stream on behalf of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, the Raritan Headwaters Association, the Township of Readington, and the Sierra Club. Read More
This summer, EELC was busy making the case to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that the PennEast pipeline does not fulfill a public need, and that critical scientific evidence is missing from FERC’s consideration of environmental impacts. EELC recently submitted expert reports to FERC, documenting some of the true costs of construction, including water supply degradation and harm to the surrounding environment.
FERC controls interstate transmission of electricity and natural gas, and must decide which new natural gas pipeline projects it will approve. EELC’s advocacy in front of this regulatory body is on behalf of the groups participating in the Rethink Energy campaign. The campaign advocates for greater energy efficiency, renewable energy, and overall infrastructure planning before any new pipelines are built in New Jersey. Read More
From major spills to small leaks, emergency response plans provide the public with a roadmap to safety. You wouldn’t board a plane without oxygen masks or a cruise ship without life jackets. But what happens when danger lurks and there are no emergency procedures in place? That’s the issue facing Newark’s Ironbound residents because the Newark Energy Center (NEC), a massive gas-powered energy plant, lacks a publicly available chemical response plan.
In 2010, a 620-megawatt power plant in Middletown, CT exploded with earthquake-like force. The tragedy killed at least five, injured dozens more, and caused considerable structural and economic damage. The NEC, with a 655-megawatt generating capacity, could cause catastrophic damage to the Ironbound neighborhood in Newark in the event of a spill, leak, or explosion. Alarmingly, Newark’s residents have no plan on what to do if something goes wrong, but EELC is working to change that. Read More