Thursday, October 30, 2014

EPA proposes modified cleanup for Pompton Lakes, NJ


  Pompton Lakes, NJ with DuPont site in background. Lake in foreground -The Record file photo 

In a news release today, the EPA announced a proposed new plan...


"...to remove mercury contamination from areas of Pompton Lake in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, including the areas where the Acid Brook flows into the lake, called the Acid Brook Delta. Areas of the sediment on the bottom of the lake have become contaminated with mercury and lead that flowed down the Acid Brook into the lake.

The public is encouraged to review the new plan and provide input.

Under the plan proposed today, in the form of a modification of its existing federal permit, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Inc. will be required to dredge lake bottom sediment from a 36 acre area of the Acid Brook Delta and also remove sediment from two other areas of the lake near the shoreline that have elevated levels of mercury and are subject to erosion.

These areas total an additional three acres in size. The proposed permit also requires DuPont to remove contaminated soil from a shoreline area where the Acid Brook flows into the lake, and replace it with clean soil. All of the sediment and soil will be sent to a licensed disposal facility. A long-term monitoring plan will be designed and implemented to assess Pompton Lake after the work is completed.

Click here for more details, including dates of public meetings 

 

Another year of Hudson River cleanup draws to a close








 





The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that next week the Hudson
 
River dredging will conclude for the year. Dredging is expected to continue in spring 2015. 

To date, about 2.5 million cubic yards of sediment contaminated with polychlorinated
 biphenyls
(PCBs) have been removed. In 2014 approximately 575,000 cubic yards of
 PCB-contaminated
sediment were dredged from the bottom of the river, exceeding the
annual goal of 350,000
cubic yards.

The agency said that dredging will resume next spring when the Champlain Canal reopens 
for the season. The remaining dredge areas are expected to be completed next year. Habitat
 
planting and reconstruction will continue in 2016. The historic EPA-mandated cleanup, which 
began in 2009, targets approximately 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment from
 
a 40-mile stretch of the Upper Hudson River between Fort Edward and Troy, New York.
 

According to the EPA, For nearly thirty years, ending in the late 1970’s, an estimated 1.3 
million pounds of PCBs were discharged into the Hudson River from two General Electric 
Co. capacitor manufacturing plants located in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, New York. 

PCBs are potentially cancer-causing chemicals that 
persist in the environment and can affect 
the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems. GE is conducting the cleanup work 
with EPA oversight under an agreement with the agency. 
According to GE, the company 
has invested more than $1 billion on the cleanup project to date.
 

Over the next several weeks, clean sand and gravel will be placed over previously dredged areas.
T
he dredged material remaining at GE’s de-watering and processing facility in Fort Edward will
be shipped by train to permitted out-of-state disposal facilities by the end of the year.
 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pitt research examines air pollution and a rise in Autism


Researchers think they've found a link between prenatal and early childhood exposure to air pollution and autism. The findings, by the University of Pittsburgh, are considered preliminary, The Allegheny Front reports.
Principal investigator Evelyn Talbott’s team interviewed more than 200 families with children on the autism spectrum in western Pennsylvania.
Autism diagnoses have risen sharply, about eight-fold in 20 years. Talbott says research into other potential causes, like genetics, is inconclusive. So, Pitt started looking at environmental factors, like air pollution from industry and transportation.
“There are more and more cars on the road,” Talbott says. “There are many chemicals out there that we should look at.”
Talbott’s team evaluated kids exposed to certain pollutants in utero to up to two years of age. They found autism levels up to twice as high as in children without those exposures. The researchers honed in on pollutants known to disrupt children’s endocrine systems and neurological development.
The Pitt study builds on three others that looked at children in North Carolina and West Virginia, California, and the U.S., and have similar results.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Busy environmental day coming up Monday in Trenton


The Senate and Assembly environmental committees will meet
in Trenton on Monday, October 27, to consider a variety of bills. Here are their agendas:



SENATE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY
10 a.m. - Committee Room 10, 3rd Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

A proposed committee substitute will be considered for Senate Bill No. 444 and Senate Bill No. 2419.

For consideration:
S-444  Ruiz, M.T. (D-29)
Clarifies that certain types of sewage and sewage sludge do not constitute hazardous substances under "Spill Compensation and Control Act."
      
S-2166  Lesniak, R.J. (D-20)
"Comprehensive Regulated Grease Recycling Act."
       
S-2354  Stack, B.P. (D-33)
Requires local governments and authorities to obtain financing cost estimate required to be provided by NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust for certain projects.
Related Bill: A-3548
       
S-2419  Smith, B. (D-17); Bateman, C. (R-16)
Prohibits contribution action against local public entity for cleanup and removal costs or any other damages associated with discharge of hazardous substances.
     
S-2491  Smith, B. (D-17)
Establishes position of State Oceanographer.
      
S-2494  Lesniak, R.J. (D-20)
Requires composting or recycling of food waste by large volume generators.
      
For discussion only:
S-2511  Madden, F.H. (D-4)
Removes anhydrous ammonia used for refrigeration as substance regulated by "Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act"; eliminates DOLWD licensing for operators of refrigerating plants using anhydrous ammonia.
     
____________________________________________________________________________

ASSEMBLY ENVIRONMENT AND SOLID WASTE
2 p.m. - Committee Room 9, 3rd Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

For consideration:
A-2913  Caride, M. (D-36); Dancer, R.S. (R-12); Bucco, A.M. (R-25); Watson Coleman, B. (D-15)
Designates Black Swallowtail butterfly as State Butterfly.
Related Bill: S-939
      
A-3125  Caride, M. (D-36)
Prohibits sale or planting of certain invasive plant species.
     
A-3133  Bramnick, J.M. (R-21); Burzichelli, J.J. (D-3)
Requires DEP to establish "private wildlife habitat certification program"; creates affirmative defense against municipal nuisance ordinances for properties certified under the program.
      
A-3354  Eustace, T.J. (D-38)
Establishes "Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management Program."
      
A-3355  Wilson, G.L. (D-5)
Requires training for pesticide applicators and operators concerning pollinating bees.
      
 A-3452  Mazzeo, V. (D-2)
Regulates planting and sale of running bamboo; establishes disclosure requirement for real estate licensees.
       
AJR-60  Wilson, G.L. (D-5); Riley, C.M. (D-3); Space, P. (R-24); Dancer, R.S. (R-12)
Designates June of each year as "Native Plant Appreciation Month."
     
  

Yo Philly, that's a fine-looking sewage overflow tank

Venice Island in Manayunk is a piece of infrastructure that doubles as a public park and theater.











"Venice Island, which will play an important role in managing stormwater in Philadelphia’s flood-prone riverfront Manayunk neighborhood, is hardly an ordinary piece of water infrastructure, "Sarah Goodyear writes in Next City.
"Yes, it incorporates that underground storage tank, which can hold up to four million gallons of overflow during heavy rainfalls, keeping raw sewage out of the Schuylkill. But the $45 million project also encompasses a theater, a spray park, a basketball court, and an outdoor amphitheater. It has a green roof and is surrounded by rain gardens that capture storm runoff.
Underground storage tanks and rain gardens make a critical stormwater management tool.
"The Venice Island facility is just the latest and most visible manifestation of Philly’s Green City, Clean Waters program, a 25-year, $2.5 billion initiative spearheaded by the Philadelphia Water Department that is changing the way the city manages its stormwater. The result of a groundbreaking agreement among the city and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green City, Clean Waters is emerging as a national model for how to go green from the bottom up. Crucially, the program involves both the public sector – led by the Philadelphia Water Department and Mayor Michael Nutter’s office of sustainability – and private landowners as well as neighborhood groups, residents and even schools."
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Energy and environment bills on tap today in Trenton


You might be interested in one or more bills scheduled for votes today in two Assembly committees and on the Senate floor of the New Jersey Legislature.


ASSEMBLY REGULATED PROFESSIONS
1 PM - Committee Room 15, Fourth Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, New Jersey
 
A-2600  Diegnan, P.J. (D-18); Mainor, C. (D-31); Giblin, T.P. (D-34)
Pertains to certain review and approval responsibilities of land surveyors.
      
A-3397  Giblin, T.P. (D-34)
Abolishes Landscape Irrigation Contractors Examining Board in the Department of Environmental Protection and transfers regulation of landscape irrigation contractors to Department of Community Affairs.  Related Bill: S-2234
    
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ASSEMBLY COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
2 PM - Committee Room 16, 4th Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ
 
A-943  Singleton, T. (D-7); Conaway, H. (D-7); Moriarty, P.D. (D-4); Green, J. (D-22); Lampitt, P.R. (D-6); Mazzeo, V. (D-2)
Permits small businesses to qualify for loans from NJEDA for costs of energy audit and making energy efficiency or conservation improvements.
   
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ASSEMBLY REGULATORY OVERSIGHT
2 PM - Committee Room 14, 4th Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

The committee will hear from invited speakers regarding the statutorily mandated report on the implementation of the E-Waste Recycling Plan that has not been filed by the Department of Environmental Protection.
 
ACR-189  McKeon, J.F. (D-27); Lagana, J.A. (D-38); Gusciora, R. (D-15)
Determines that proposed DEP rules and regulations repealing rules and regulations concerning State participation in greenhouse gas cap and trade programs are inconsistent with legislative intent.
Related Bill: SCR-125
    
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SENATE VOTING SESSION
2 PM - Senate Chambers
 
S-768  Weinberg, L. (D-37)
Extends "whistleblower" protections to employee disclosure of governmental mismanagement, waste and abuse.
      
SCR-125  Sweeney, S.M. (D-3); Smith, B. (D-17)
Determines that proposed DEP rules and regulations repealing rules and regulations concerning State participation in greenhouse gas cap and trade programs are inconsistent with legislative intent.

 
    

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Philadelphia becoming shale energy hub is no slam dunk

The Mariner East Pipeline
Boosters of an emerging movement to develop Philadelphia as an energy hub were cautioned Tuesday that they need to do more to sell a skeptical public, Andrew Maykuth writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"Energy consultants told a gathering of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce that public opposition may be the biggest obstacle to advancing the dream of a Delaware River industrial revival tied to the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom.

"This industry has not done a good job with public interface and informing the public about the nature of the projects coming through their communities," said Andrew S. Levine, the cochair of the environment and energy practice at the law firm of Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young L.L.P.

"Julie Ross, a managing partner of Environmental Resources Management's Mid-Atlantic business unit in Philadelphia, told the group that "improper, inappropriate" handling of key constituencies can impede infrastructure projects."



Monday, October 20, 2014

Tocks Island behind it, Del. Water Gap looks to future

With the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area less than three months away, park Superintendent John Donahue said the time has come “to move ahead from what didn't happen, to what we would like to see happen.”
The New Jersey Herald's Bruce A. Scruton reports:
Part of that is the still-evolving Vision 2030 plan, a 14-page document that looks at future needs, projects and goals for the 70,000-acre recreation area, which stretches about 40 miles along the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania and annually is among the 10 most-visited units of the National Park Service.
The plan, which is likely to be fully released for public comment in early January, calls for projects including a new park headquarters building, completion of a loop road tying both sides of the river together, a “corporate identity” for the park, and getting neighboring towns and the two states involved in a range of projects and collaborations.
The plan also brings forward the idea of turning the recreation area into a designated national park and preserve, and being the center of a corridor of land, largely undeveloped, from New York, through New Jersey and into Pennsylvania.
The corridor would include federal, state and locally owned open space for wildlife to freely traverse and wetlands preservation.

Friday, October 17, 2014

NJ Senate panel withholds vote on Gov’s Pinelands picks

                                                                                                      Pinelands lake – Photo: Georgian.edu
The New Jersey Senate's Judiciary Committee yesterday held off action on two nominees to
the Pinelands Commission whose appointment conservationists feared would tip the balance of the agency to support a controversial 22-mile natural gas pipeline through the heart of the preserve.
NJ Spotlight's Tom Johnson reports:
At a hearing where senators repeatedly questioned the nominees about their views on the project, few specific answers were forthcoming on how they stood on the proposal, which was blocked by the Pinelands Commission in a vote this past January.
The nominations are viewed as important because the nominees would replace two commissioners who voted to block the pipeline, which also sparked opposition from four former governors -- Democrats Brendan Byrne and Jim Florio and Republicans Tom Kean and Christie Whitman.
Related energy and environmental news:  

Christie nominees to Pinelands panel held amid pipeline controversy

Senate forgoes vote on Pinelands panel nominees

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cancer awareness drill bits stir up a pink stink


Sandy Bauers, the Philadelphia Inquirer's GreenSpace columnist on Sunday wrote:

Just when you were sure the world couldn't possibly get any pinker during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here's the latest: a Texas company that is a leading provider of gas and oil-field services is painting 1,000 of its drill bits that signature shade of pink and sending them worldwide.
The bits - bigger than a gallon paint bucket - will arrive in pink boxes with informational pamphlets.
The company, Baker Hughes Inc., also will give the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation a $100,000 check at the NFL's final "pink-out" game Oct. 26 in Pittsburgh.
Jeanne Rizzo, president of the nonprofit Breast Cancer Fund, is all but reaching for the pink Pepto Bismol.
She figured she had ceased being amazed "by the willingness of companies to market themselves through this tragic disease."
Indeed, she originally thought the campaign, "Doing Our Bit for the Cure," was a joke. "I'm thinking it can't be true," she said. "It can't be that bad."
Her organization, which advocates for moving "Beyond Pink" - they consider the awareness battle already won - and toward a focus on environmental causes and prevention, has called the campaign "perverse."
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