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Court Decision Giveaway to Developers

Date : Wed, 27 Jun 2012 12:10:23 -0400

For Immediate Release
June 22, 2012 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Court Decision Giveaway to Developers

Today the Appellate Court released their decision on the Board of Public Utility's (BPU) Main Extension Rules, a lawsuit challenging rules that would have stopped ratepayers from subsidizing infrastructure for developments outside of "smart growth areas".The Court sided with the developers, promoting more sprawl.*Jeff Tittel, Director of the NJ Sierra Club*, issued the following statement in response:

"Today the Court sided with developers over rate payers.Under this ruling when developers extend infrastructure, whether it is water lines, sewer lines, or gas pipelines, into rural or environmentally sensitive areas, the developer will not being paying those costs.The ratepayers will be paying the costs.Under this ruling we end up subsiding developers and those sprawl developments.Rate payers are going to have to reimburse developers for past projects."

"In 2005 the BPU adopted a smart growth rule based on Governor McGreevey's Executive Order trying to limit sprawl in New Jersey and New Jersey Energy Act and Franchise law.However the courts ruled that there was no statutory authority for this. We believe there was."

"However, this precedent could help us with some important upcoming environmental cases including the administration's Waiver Rules and exiting the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).The DEP, Consumer Affairs, and other agencies are proposing rules to waive standards without any statutory authority.The Governor has no authority to unilaterally pull out of RGGI without a public process"

"We believe the Legislature should fix this defect and require developers in rural and environmentally sensitive areas to pay for their own infrastructure upgrades, not the rest of the rate payers. We should not be subsiding bad developments with sprawl-fare.This creates public subsides that end up destroying our open spaces, adding more pollution, and causing higher property taxes."

"The Christie administration's BPU has been rescinding these and other smart growth rules because they want us to pay so the developers do not have to."

"The opinion is unpublished so it does not have the force of precedent. It really should be appealed but we do not think the Christie administration will do that."

"The Christie administration has spent over $1.5 billion so far subsidizing developers at the expense of taxpayers, from Prudential moving four blocks or Goya foods to add nine jobs.This does not include the additional $650 million slated for the Xanadu project.According to a recent study Governor Christie has given away more public money to developers than any Governor in history."

*Decision can be viewed here: *<a>

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2012-06-27 09:10:23

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
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