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EPA Issues Letter on Permit Extension Act

Date : Thu, 12 Jun 2008 17:21:29 -0400

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jeff Tittel June 12, 2008 (609) 558-9100

EPA Issues Letter on Permit Extension Act

On Monday the Sierra Club sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 2, asking them to intervene in the proposed Permit Extension Act. The club strongly believes that this proposed legislation undermines New Jersey’s ability to implement federally-delegated programs in the state. It will interfere with the state’s ability to protect the environment for the people of New Jersey and, in doing so, will violate federal law, Memorandums of Agreement, and other legal obligations.

“We very rarely see eye-to-eye with the Bush Administration on the environment,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, “but this bill is so bad that we need them to step forward and protect the people of New Jersey and our environment from the New Jersey legislature. Even though we have major policy disagreements with the Bush Administration, we know that they share some of the same concerns with this legislation and the impact that it will have.”

Under many federal laws, such as the Clean Water Act, authority to implement the program has been delegated by the federal government to the state. Because this legislation interferes with the state’s ability to live up to its commitments to implement these programs, the EPA needs to intercede to prevent New Jersey from going forward with the Permit Extension Act in its current form.

This bill would:

* undermine implementation of the Total Maximum Daily Load program on the Passaic River, stopping the clean up of sewer plants along the river and threatening New Jersey’s water supply

* prevent the state from implementing changes in the Safe Drinking Water Act and RCRA (the law on contaminated sites), allowing more toxins into our drinking water and our communities

* violate the Coastal Zone Management Act, prevent the state from requiring things like cooling towers at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant and from protecting our coast from overdevelopment and storm surge

* violate the federal Clean Water Act by preventing implementation of clean water programs and bringing permits back to life that have expired because of their impacts on water

* prevent New Jersey from implementing the federal Endangered Species Act and the Wetlands Program

* undermine citizens’ rights to be part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and prevent its implementation

* violate the Federal Emergency Management Act, due to the fact that the bill would allow more development in flood plains, putting more people in harm’s way, and undermine the new maps of the state FEMA has recently developed – this, in turn, could jeopardize flood insurance for New Jersey residents

* interfere with the federal Highway Authority Program, jeopardizing New Jersey’s funding

* prevent the state from implementing CERCLA (the Superfund law) and the Navigable Harbors Act, which may prevent the clean up of dioxin from Newark Bay

Not only does the federal government have agreements with New Jersey to implement these programs, it also provides funding to the state to compensate for the work involved. Violation of these agreements will cost New Jersey tens of millions of dollars, including monies for infrastructure from the Clean Water Revolving Fund.

If the Permit Extension Act is passed, the Sierra Club will be petitioning the Bush Administration to remove all delegated authority and funding from the state of New Jersey. “We would rather have the Bush Administration in charge of the environment in New Jersey than allow this law to go forward because, quite frankly, this law would be worse than anything the Bush Administration has ever tried to do to the state,” concluded Tittel.

##########

Attachment: Letter from the EPA to Legislative Leaders

Becca Glenn, Program Assistant New Jersey Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618

609-656-7612: phone

609-656-7618: fax

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Received on 2008-06-12 17:31:58

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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Page Last Modified 7/9/2008


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