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Enviros Praise Gov, Say Keep Up the Fight on Permit Extension Act

Date : Fri, 13 Jun 2008 14:09:15 -0400

Sierra Club * Environment New Jersey New Jersey Environmental Federation

For Immediate Release Contacts: Jeff
Tittel, NJ Sierra Club, (609) 558-9100 June 13, 2008 Dave Pringle, NJ Enviro Fed, (732) 996-4288

Dena Mottola, Environment NJ, (609) 540-6609

Enviros Praise Gov, Say Keep Up the Fight on Permit Extension Act

Today the Sierra Club, New Jersey Environmental Federation, and Environment New Jersey thanked Governor Corzine for his work to date on the Permit Extension Act and called on him to keep up the fight against this terrible bill. “We needed the governor, Commissioner Jackson, and EPA Administrator Steinberg’s help to stop the legislature from destroying New Jersey’s environment,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

Yesterday the Assembly Environment Committee held a hearing on the Permit Extension Act (A2867). The bill was voted out of committee with amendments that would cut the time for the bill in half, limit the retroactivity clause, and exclude environmentally-sensitive areas in the Highlands and Pinelands. “We made some progress, but we still have a long way to go,” said Dena Mottola, Executive Director of Environment New Jersey. “Even with yesterday’s amendments, this bill is still a recipe for disaster in the state of New Jersey.”

Among the numerous problems remaining in the bill is the lack of a public health and safety clause, which would protect people from bad permits on toxic sites or in flood-prone areas. In addition, there is no clause to prevent the extension of permits and approvals issued prior to the last decade of environmental law and regulation from undermining critical measures intended to protect the public, such as the Kiddie College law, Water Quality Management Planning Rules, Flood Hazard Rules, Site Remediation Rules, clean up of the Passaic River, and the ability of the state to require cooling towers at Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant. The bill also fails to exclude many of the most environmentally important areas of the state, including the entire Highlands and Pinelands regions, Planning Areas 4 and 5, Critical Environmental Sites, the Dismal Swamp, designated environmentally-sensitive areas in the Meadowlands, and Category 1 watersheds.

“This law will still promote sprawl and bad development and put people in harm’s way,” said Dave Pringle, Campaign Director for New Jersey Environmental Federation. “We want to tell the governor to keep up the good work – and to veto this bill if necessary.”

The bill also continues to threaten many federally-delegated programs in New Jersey. Yesterday the Bush Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed with environmental groups on this point, issuing letters to New Jersey legislators expressing concern about the state’s ability to implement federal programs if this legislation were to pass and warning that the bill as currently written could potentially jeopardize federal funding to the state.

The groups warn that the Permit Extension Act is only the first in a package of a dozen bills being pushed by the builders. This legislation would overturn environmental protection, good planning, and citizen participation in New Jersey. “If we do not stop these bills, Corzine will no longer be governor of New Jersey – the builders will,” concluded Tittel.

##########

Becca Glenn, Program Assistant New Jersey Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618

609-656-7612: phone

609-656-7618: fax

Received on 2008-06-13 14:12:21

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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