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Corzine's Highlands $ell Out

Date : Thu, 30 Jul 2009 12:46:13 -0400

For Immediate Release

July 30, 2009

Contact: Jeff Tittel, Chapter Director

   (609) 558-9100


Corzine's Highlands $ell Out


Despite requests from a coalition of environmental organizations, Gov. Jon Corzine will not veto the minutes of the June Highlands Council meeting. At this meeting, amid ethical and conflict of interest issues, the council approved the Susquehanna-Roseland Transmission Line, which violates the Highlands Act and the state's Global Warming Response Act.


"Governor Corzine could have done the right thing and invalidated the council's vote, which was an outrageous abuse of power and breach of public trust, but chose not to," NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said.
"Instead, he will let shameful record stand."


By not vetoing the minutes, Gov. Corzine took the side of polluters, corruption, and dirty power, instead of siding with integrity and clean energy.


On June 25, the Highlands Council voted 8 - 2 that the 500-kv Susquehanna-Roseland Transmission Line, which will import dirty power from Pennsylvania while harming one of Jersey's most environmentally-sensitive areas, was consistent with the Highlands Plan. The determination appears to have been based not on consistency with the Regional Master Plan, but on an
$18.6 million "gift" from the applicant.


In December, the Highlands Council said the proposed power line conflicted with the Highlands Act and indentified 56 determinations of inconsistency. The Highlands Council later reversed course once PSE&G offered an $18.6 million donation for mitigation, raising serious ethical concerns.


In the wake of a sweeping federal corruption probe, Gov. Corzine said the state must stand up against corruption. "$18.6 million dollars is more money than any of the crooks who were arrested last week got," Tittel said.
"The fact that the Governor won't veto the minutes of this meeting shows that he is supportive of actions that invite bribes and undermine the environment.


In light of this outrageous decision, a coalition of a dozen environmental organizations, including NJ Sierra Club, Highlands Coalition, Stop the Lines, and the Pequannock River Coalition, formally requested that the Governor veto the minutes of the meeting. As the basis for their position, the groups cited issues with the council members standing, conflicts of interests, inconsistencies with the Highlands Regional Master Plan, and a violation clean energy policies.


This transmission line will import dirty power from coal-fired plants in Pennsylvania, drastically increasing the amount of coal-generated electricity in our grid and undermining New Jersey's Global Warming Response Act.


"Gov. Corzine's inaction shows he supports a power line that puts an ugly scar through the Highlands and undermines our clean energy efforts," Tittel said. "He may talk about clean energy but his actions show he's not willing to stand up for it."


While the Highlands Council offers rationale that the $18.6 million will be used to mitigate the impact of the proposed power lines, you cannot mitigate the removal of trees, pollution of wetlands, and disruption of steep slopes. You cannot mitigate the effects on global warming that will result from importing more and more dirty coal power from Pennsylvania. Those are direct onsite impacts that cannot be mitigated offsite.


"Governor Corzine had a test. He could be on the side of clean energy and integrity and against corruption and bribes. He failed that test and now we know where he stands on these issues." Tittel said.




Kara Seymour, Program Assistant

NJ Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street

Trenton, NJ 08618


(f) 609.656.7618


Received on 2009-07-30 09:46:13

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

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