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Governor Christie Out Vetoes Himself


Date : Thu, 23 Jan 2014 14:32:07 -0500

For Immediate Release

January 22, 2014

Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Governor Christie Out Vetoes Himself

Yesterday Governor took action on legislation waiting for his signature. He signed 100 bills and pocket vetoed 44, the most vetoes of any Governor. The Governor vetoed legislation that would have helped those affected by Sandy, protected our coast, and notified the public about combined sewer overflows. Governor Christie in total has vetoed 164 bills many of which have put our public health and environment at risk including vetoing the fracking waste ban bill. In the past he vetoed other important legislation including RGGI and cleaning up Barnegat Bay. All the while the Governor signs legislation like Water Quality Management Plan and Economic Opportunity Act, which will put our water supply at risk.

"When you look at the Governor's record on signing bills is he only signs bills that roll back environmental protections, takes side the polluters or subsidizes politically connected developers. Then he vetoes everything else from notices on combined sewer overflow to clean energy. It shows his agenda when it comes to the environment that he takes the side of polluters and fossil fuels over clean air, clean water, and clean energy. He is more concerned about ALEC and the Koch brothers then he is about helping New Jersey's environment and protecting public health," said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. "The real scandal in New Jersey is going to be what the Governor is doing to the environment. Years from now when we don't have clean water, air is more polluted, and no more open space that will be his legacy

Bills Vetoed

Notices on Combined Sewer Overflow A2852/ S831, which would have established notification requirements when combined sewer overflows occur. This legislation is vitally important sine New Jersey is ranked one of the worst in the nation by the EPA in trying to clean up and correct combined sewer overall problems. About 23 billion gallons of raw or partially treated sewage enter our waterways every year. Every time we have heavy rains, raw and partially treated sewerage ends up in our rivers and bays, threatening the health of people. This legislation would have required municipalities to inform residents when that toxic material enters waterways at the more than 200 permitted combined sewer outfalls across the state or when raw sewerage backs up out of manhole covers, out of pipes into people's homes or out of other outflows that are not permitted.

 "By vetoing this legislation Governor Christie is putting our public health at risk from raw sewage. The public has a right to know when their water is being tainted with sewage especially since every time it rains raw and partially treated sewage ends up in our waterways and homes. The public should know about the potential health threat of sewerage in flood waters and now they will remain uninformed," said Jeff Tittel.

Repeals CAFRA S2602/A3893, would have repealed law providing CAFRA permit exemption for certain grading or excavation of a dune. Governor Christie now puts our coast at risk since this legislation is long overdue. Even though CAFRA legislation calls for protection of dunes those standards and protections are waived by the DEP commissioner all the time. This was an important loophole that needs to be closed. Now buildings can still be built on dunes and lowering our dunes, which adds to storm damage.

 "The Governor said he wants to protect dunes, however he just vetoed a bill that would have protected dunes. Instead he protected developers over protecting property from storm surges. This bill would have been a good first step in protecting our coast from storm surges and storm damage. Now are coasts will still be vulnerable lacking dunes and natural systems that would have protected communities. Since it has been vetoed we can work to make this legislation stronger by adding in natural systems and beach access along with repealing the loophole," said Tittel.

Finance Storm Resistant Project A3898/S2632*, *would have dealtwith financing of water conservation, storm shelter construction, flood and hurricane resistance projects. This legislation changed the "clean energy special assessment" into the "clean energy and storm resistance special assessment." This would allow for projects including conservation projects, flood resistant and hurricane resistant construction projects, and storm shelter projects to be eligible for funding.

 New Jersey Sierra Club felt this was a step in the right direction by allowing new funding mechanism for people and property impacted by storms to rebuild. However, we believe that these projects funded through this should also use green building techniques, clean energy as well as cleaning up storm water through blue and green roofs.

 "The governor by vetoing this bill hurts people trying to rebuild after Sandy. This was a mechanism to help get money to rebuild since people don't have money it will slow down rebuilding our coat. Since it has been vetoed we can work to make it stronger by tying funding to using green building techniques, energy efficiency, and cleaning up storm water making our coast more resilient and sustainable," said Jeff Tittel.

Standards for Home Elevation S2976/A4394, *would have* provided standards for home elevation contractors. This legislation would have ensured that contractors working on home elevations are qualified, insured and equipped with proper machinery to lift homes. The contractors also had to be registered with the Division of Consumer Affairs. Since after Hurricane Sandy many homeowners will have to raise their homes and this would have made sure there are qualified contractors to handle the job and protects the homeowner from potential damage to home from lifting.

"By vetoing this bill he puts people and property at risk because without standards there can be problems elevating homes. Since the state is requiring homeowners to elevate their homes they should also ensure contractors are qualified. Now homeowners are at risk for a potential contractor not skilled or qualified to elevate their home," Jeff stated.

 •Standards for Mold A1588/S2081, *would have required Department of Community Affairs to establish standards concerning mold hazards in residential building interiors, school facilities, and develop certification programs for mold inspectors and mold hazard abatement workers. This legislation is especially important after Hurricane Sandy with many homes and building being contaminated with mold putting the public health at risk.

"After Hurricane Sandy mold has been a major health problem. This veto will put people's health at risk as well as slowing down the rebuilding process," Jeff Tittel.

Establish Transportation Infrastructure Bank A3177/ S2143, would have established a State Transportation Infrastructure Bank within the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust. Now with this bill vetoed we should be working to fix the Transportation Trust Fund and finding stable source. We need to fix the Transportation Trust Fund not coming up with a whole another program.

"Because the governor has opposed increasing the gas tax the legislature tried to find another solution to find money for transporting. We have major needs in the state to fix roads, bridges and building new mass transit. Now this will hurt our economy, cost New Jersey jobs, and will keep people stuck in traffic longer adding to pollution," said Tittel.

Create Office of Clean Energy A2888/S2733, would have created the Office of Clean Energy. An Office of Clean Energy has already been established in the Board of Public Utilities; however it has been non-functioning. This legislation would have provided funding for this Office through the Societal Benefit Charge. This Office would have worked to promote energy efficiency, decrease the use of fossil fuels, and expand our renewable energy.

"This legislation was important especially after Hurricane Sandy dealing with climate change and sea level rise. In addition New Jersey is lagging behind other states when it comes to clean energy and green jobs, which would have helped to revitalize this industry creating much needed jobs," said Tittel.

Weaken Environment Protections S2499/A3323 would have required the state to review all licensing procedures concerning business or commercial enterprises. The New Jersey Sierra Club agrees with the veto since this bill would have just added more Red Tape instead of getting rid of Red Tape by attempting to revise and simplify licensing procedures. This would have limited permitting and allowed special interests or developers to get rid of regulations that they find burdensome potentially putting the environment and public health at risk. This bill itself seems to be less about streamlining, but more about limiting oversight and public involvement in the permitting process. Under this bill they could have eliminated standards that protect our drinking water or cleanup of toxic sites.

"This bill is part of the ongoing attack on environmental protections and rolling back of environmental standards. It was not about simplifying procedures it is about weakening protections to our air and water, " said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club

Bills Signed

Administrative Law Judge A1521/S2555, *makes the Administrative Law Judge's decision final. It allows agency heads and the Administrative Law Judge to wave any penalty that may be assessed at their own discretion. This law gives Office of Administrative Law judges final decision-making authority when it comes to agency rules. It allows the DEP commissioner to adopt these decisions without subjecting them to appeal. It also allows the DEP commissioner to hand over final authority to these politically appointed OAL judges, undermining due process and the public's rights. This law also comes from the ALEC and Koch Brothers agenda.

"This law will weaken environmental enforcement and give away permits to special interest. This law undermines the public's ability to know about permitting violations and how it affects their lives," Jeff Tittel.

Extending DEP Remedial Work A4543/S3075, *authorizes the DEP to extend time for remedial investigation of certain contaminated sites prior to undertaking direct oversight. The New Jersey Sierra Club believes this law goes too far by allowing an extension for two years. It should only allow for a 1 year extension in very limited circumstances for only good actors, meaning companies who have not had any violations or problems on their sites.

"By signing this bill Christie has given a gift to polluters. Instead we should be fixing the Licensed Site Remediation Program since it is broken and needs to be fixed. For too long polluters have not been held accountable to clean up the toxic sites that they made and now they will have an extension," said Tittel.

"His legislative record is part of his ongoing attack on the environment including weakening enforcement and dismantling decade's worth of environmental programs. He continues to side with developers and polluters over protecting the health and environment of the people of New Jersey. He has had the worst environmental record of any Governor in modern times. We are concerned that in his second term it will not only continue, but could get worse. He has consistently sacrificed New Jersey's environment for his national political ambitions, siding with ALEC over clean air and clean water for the people of New Jersey," said Jeff Tittel.

-- 
Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator
New Jersey Sierra Club
145 W. Hanover Street
Trenton, NJ 08618
609-656-7612
Received on 2014-01-23 11:32:07

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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