Friday, April 18, 2014

Gov. Christie makes appointments to LPG safety board

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie yesterday announced the following appointments to the state's Liquefied Petroleum Gas Education and Safety Board:
Industry Representatives
Appoint Michael G. Merrill (Chester, Morris)
Reappoint William P. Curcio (Sparta, Sussex)
Reappoint Larry A. Horowitz (Perrineville, Monmouth)
Reappoint Thomas A. Leahy (Brick, Ocean)

Representative of a Gas Public Utility Involved in the Storage and Distribution of Liquefied Petroleum Gas
Reappoint Gene Doughtery (Franklinville, Gloucester)

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Public Members/Fire Safety Professionals
Appoint Louis B. Kilmer (Cinnaminson, Burlington)
Appoint Robert H. Zander (Colts Neck, Monmouth)

Public Member
Appoint Michael Ticktin (Roosevelt, Monmouth) 

Environmental Community Representative
Appoint Chuck Feinberg (Rockaway Township, Morris) 

The LPG board functions under the Division of Codes and Standards within the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The board is required to meet quarterly to advise the Department on the enforcement of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety Act and the DCA's Liquefied Petroleum Gas regulations. 

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Bill would repeal 'Summer gas' rule in Pittsburgh area  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

As tech lowers cost, fuel cell commercial uses expand

Recently, Wal-Mart placed an order for 1,738 fuel cell powered forklifts that move products in the giant retailers' warehouses.

Gibbons attorneys
Uzoamaka N. Okoye and Samuel H. Megerditchian write in their firm's Environmental and Green Issues blog that this: "highly publicized order spotlights the emerging commercial markets and the technologies and patents that have made the production of energy through fuel cells more cost effective."

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The attorneys note that the
Clean Energy Patent Growth Index shows that "for the last decade fuel cell related patents outpaced all other clean energy technology patents until 2013 when solar patents for the first time surpassed fuel cell patents."

Read the full post here     

Wal-Mart Chooses Fuel Cell Forklifts 
DOE fuels US competitiveness in fuel cell market with $3-million project 
European Hydrogen Fuel Cell Charging Clusters Planned 
FuelCell CEO Expects First Big Sale in Europe This Year  
Toyota's North America chief seeks fuel cell sedan supply boost

Monday, April 14, 2014

Want shore protection funds? Make your beaches public

With New Jersey spending more tax dollars on shore protection projects after
Superstorm Sandy, advocates for greater public access to beaches see the
time is ripe for legislative change

Tom Johnson reports today in NJ Spotlight that a bill moving in Trenton (S-183) would
require any shore protection projects receiving public funding to include public access
to the waterfront, an amendment urged by a conservation group in a vote by a committee considering the bill last month.

Beyond the public access requirement, the measure also would require the DEP to establish a priority system for ranking shore protection projects.
It also requires all shore protection projects that include a structural component, such as seawalls and other permanent facilities, to also include non-structural components, like sand dunes. Towns with dunes fared much better during Hurricane Sandy than those without these natural barriers.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Looking for environmental seminars? Here's the place

You'll be surprised by the number of valuable environmental seminars, forums, meetings, workshops, webinars and other great educational and networking opportunities available each week in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware. And most of them are free!

Where can you find them? On our free Enviro-Events Calendar

Be sure to use the form in the upper right to
sign up for free email updates.
You'll receive one when we add new events--at least several times a week.

Tell your friends and colleagues, too, so they can subscribe to this great service.

Bonus: Submit information on your upcoming environmental event to:  We'll list it for free.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Should chemicals pass safety tests like pharmaceuticals?

Should Congress shift the burden of proof about a chemical’s safety or toxicity to the manufacturer before the chemical can be released into the environment?

Two prominent women physician believe that chemical makers should share the same burden as pharmaceutical companies when it comes to product safety.

Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD, and Linda C. Giudice, MD, PhD, write in The Hill that the Toxic Substances Control Act, unchanged since its passage in 1976, could do much more to protect the public --- especially pregnant women and children-- from unsafe chemical exposures.

"U.S. and global chemical production has risen steadily, with a more-than-15-fold increase between 1947 and 2007. A reformed Toxic Substances Control Act can give us a greater understanding of the risks posed by toxic chemicals in our environment, and better equip us to inform and care for our patients"

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Why do Conry, who is
president of the American Congress of Obstetricians, and Giudice, the past president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, think this is necessary?

"Studies have documented that dozens of toxic chemicals are found in virtually every pregnant woman in the United States," they write "Robust scientific evidence demonstrates that preconception and prenatal exposure to toxic chemicals can have a profound and lasting impact on health across a patient’s life, including increased risk of cancer in childhood and impairment of reproductive health development in adulthood, such as infertility."

Read the full post here

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Bill would repeal 'Summer gas' rule in Pittsburgh area

The Environmental Resources and Energy Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill that would eliminate the requirement for summer blend gasoline in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler,
Fayette, Greene and Washington Counties.

The legislation, SB 1037, sponsored by Senators Elder Vogel and  Timothy Solobay,
passed the Senate 46-0 on March 19.

In a memo accompanying the legislation the sponsors write that, in 1998, the state Department of Environmental Protection adopted a 7.8psi RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure) fuel standard for southwestern Pennsylvania to address federal air pollution control measures.

"Since that time, ethanol became mandated by the federal government, increasing the RVP value of fuel. This resulted in an exclusive “boutique” fuel mandate for southwestern Pennsylvania."

The sponsors say that the law has resulted in "gas prices averaging 10 to 15 cents higher in western Pennsylvania than in neighboring counties and also across the border in Ohio."

"In Pennsylvania, this boutique fuel is only required for the Pittsburgh region, and demand for the product is low. This equates to a hidden tax drivers must pay in southwestern Pennsylvania that is not required anywhere else," they argue.

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The Pittsburgh-based
Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) opposes the measure.

“Southwestern Pennsylvania and much of the northeastern United States struggle to meet federal health-based standards for ozone for a number of years,” said its Legal Director Joe Osborne. “The summer gas requirement is one of the most common sense and cost-effective ways to reduce ozone emissions in the area.” 

Related environmental news stories:
Bill to Do Away With 'Summer Gas' in Pittsburgh Passes Senate

Saturday, April 5, 2014

High voltage issue: Reversing NJ solar slowdown

[Updated at 10:45 p.m. to add related news stories}

New Jersey once ranked second the nation in the number of solar energy installations, but its status has dropped in recent years.

How much?
It depends on which study you believe. One says the Garden State now ranks third in the cumulative number of solar installations. But an industry trade group claims that the state has slipped to fifth place.

Tom Johnson, who covers energy and environment issues for NJ Spotlight, asked a number of experts how to the slide can be reversed. He found that there is no easy answer.

Read the full story here

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Solar Industry Snapshot: A Volatile Sector Still in Search of Stability 
Energy company offers incentive to move to solar for PSE&G customers
UD researchers and utility employees join to discuss solar power integration

PSEG Long Island announces results for 100 MW solar PV procurement program

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Sunoco Pipeline plan draws political resistance

                                  The Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook. (April Saul / Philadelphia Inquirer)

An elaborate plan by Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. to transport Marcellus Shale natural gas liquids by pipeline across Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook is running into resistance, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports today.

The company's subsidiary, Sunoco Pipeline L.P., last month filed an application with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to sidestep local zoning restrictions to build pump and valve control stations in 31 municipalities crossed by the pipeline.

Sunoco Pipeline argues that it is a "public utility corporation," and that
the PUC can exempt the construction of the above-ground structure from local zoning if it determines the buildings are "reasonably necessary for the
convenience or welfare of the public."

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A pumping station slated to be built on a two-acre site at the corner of Boot
Road and Route 202 in West Goshen Township has triggered alarm.

Two suburban Philadelphia state senators on Wednesday wrote to the PUC, contending that the exemptions would conflict with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision in December upholding local zoning rights over oil and gas activity.

Read the full story: Sunoco Pipeline plan draws political resistance

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Will you know if a fracker next door polluted your well?

fracking rig and farm

So you're farming a bucolic little site in Pennsylvania, assuming that the well water you use to grow your crops and nourish your livestock has not been tainted by the operations of the nearby natural gas drilling site.

After all, it there was a problem, the state Department of Environmental Protection would notify you, right?  Wrong.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports today that:

“Even when pollution discharges from shale gas well pads and impoundments contaminate private water supplies, those violations often go unrecorded or publicly reported by state environmental regulators, according to documents filed in the Pennsylvania Superior Court case challenging the constitutionality of the state's oil and gas law, Act 13.

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“According to a 40-page brief, filed with the court in Harrisburg, it is the "practice" of state Department of Environmental Protection regulators not to issue a violation notice, fines or formal determinations of contamination where shale gas development companies reach private settlements with water well owners.

“That DEP "practice," which began during the Rendell administration and continues to the present day, makes it impossible, according to the brief, for the public to know where and when groundwater, wells and springs are contaminated, because there is no publicly accessible record.”

Related environmental news stories:
Fracking California's Coast: Billions of Gallons of Fracking Pollution
State Senator Vincent Hughes Announces Legislation to Tax Natural
Natural gas industry buoyed by advancing technology 
Shale gas drilling could be boost to Allegheny County parks
Citi: Natural Gas Prices Don't Reflect Risks - Wall Street Journal (blog) 
Pa. Farm Bureau takes on natural gas drilling companies in royalty disputes

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NJ's Kimberly Diamond to lead Women of Wind Energy

Kimberly E. Diamond of Berkeley Heights, NJ has recently been appointed as Chair of the New York/New Jersey Chapter oWomen of Wind Energy (WoWE).
Chapter members include professionals from all areas of the wind industry, including investment bankers, lawyers, consultants, and developers.

Diamond, an attorney with Lowenstein Sandler LLP in the firm’s New York City office, has held a number of influential positions in the NY/NJ WoWE Chapter and in the national WoWE organization for over five years. 
In addition to serving on WoWE’s National Mentoring Steering Committee for several years, she has mentored professionals and graduate students in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and San Diego, CA.  She received the 2011 Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award during the inaugural year of such award.
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