Daily Archives: January 29, 2009

PALLONE INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO PROTECT COMMUNITIES’ RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT TOXIC RELEASES


Washington, D.C. — U.S. Rep Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, yesterday introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that will undo U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations weakening toxic reporting requirements that have been in place for nearly two decades.

The Toxic Right-to-Know-Protection Act will undo changes that have seriously undermined the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), a critical tool that has given communities access to an online database describing what toxic chemicals are being released from nearby plants and refineries. The TRI program has been extremely successful in empowering communities by ensuring that they know what chemicals and how much of these harmful chemicals are being released into the air, water and ground.

In December 2006, the Bush administration’s EPA announced final rules that loosened reporting requirements for the TRI. These rules have significantly reduced the amount of information available to the public about toxic chemicals by eliminating detailed reports from facilities that release up to 2,000 pounds of chemicals every year, and facilities that manage up to 500 pounds of chemicals known to pose some of the worst threats to human health, including lead and mercury.

Read full Press Release >>>Here

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Filed under Bush administration, EPA, Frank Pallone, Lead and Mercury, toxic chemicals, Toxic Right To Know Protection Act

PALLONE INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO PROTECT COMMUNITIES’ RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT TOXIC RELEASES


Washington, D.C. — U.S. Rep Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, yesterday introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that will undo U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations weakening toxic reporting requirements that have been in place for nearly two decades.

The Toxic Right-to-Know-Protection Act will undo changes that have seriously undermined the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), a critical tool that has given communities access to an online database describing what toxic chemicals are being released from nearby plants and refineries. The TRI program has been extremely successful in empowering communities by ensuring that they know what chemicals and how much of these harmful chemicals are being released into the air, water and ground.

In December 2006, the Bush administration’s EPA announced final rules that loosened reporting requirements for the TRI. These rules have significantly reduced the amount of information available to the public about toxic chemicals by eliminating detailed reports from facilities that release up to 2,000 pounds of chemicals every year, and facilities that manage up to 500 pounds of chemicals known to pose some of the worst threats to human health, including lead and mercury.

Read full Press Release >>>Here

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Filed under Bush administration, EPA, Frank Pallone, Lead and Mercury, toxic chemicals, Toxic Right To Know Protection Act

Could Sports Betting Be Coming to Atlantic City ?

In this video press release, in advance of Super Bowl XLIII, Assemblymen Nelson T. Albano (D-Cumberland/Atlantic/Cape May) and Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden) discuss their legislation to legalize professional sports betting in Atlantic City casinos.

The measure (A-1909) would provide New Jersey voters with an opportunity to decide – via a November General Election referendum – whether Atlantic City’s casinos should be able to accept in-person wagers, limited to professional sporting events.

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Filed under Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, Assemblyman Nelson Albano, Atlantic City, casinos, measure(A-1909), New Jersey, press release, Sports Betting, Super Bowl, voter referendum

Could Sports Betting Be Coming to Atlantic City ?

In this video press release, in advance of Super Bowl XLIII, Assemblymen Nelson T. Albano (D-Cumberland/Atlantic/Cape May) and Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden) discuss their legislation to legalize professional sports betting in Atlantic City casinos.

The measure (A-1909) would provide New Jersey voters with an opportunity to decide – via a November General Election referendum – whether Atlantic City’s casinos should be able to accept in-person wagers, limited to professional sporting events.

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Filed under Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, Assemblyman Nelson Albano, Atlantic City, casinos, measure(A-1909), New Jersey, press release, Sports Betting, Super Bowl, voter referendum

>HOLT: ECONOMIC RECOVERY BILL WOULD CREATE NEW JOBS,HELP THOSE STRUGGLING IN ECONOMIC CRISIS

>Here is what Congressman Rush Holt has to say about the passage of the Economic stimulas bill passed last night in the House.

Press Release:
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Rush Holt (NJ-12) tonight voted for the House-passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009, arguing that it would provide the comprehensive investment needed to stop the nation’s economic decline and rebuild the economy by creating millions of new jobs. Holt highlighted nearly $16 billion of new funding for science research and facilities, including $3 billion for the National Science Foundation, $2 billion for physical science research at the Department of Energy, $3.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health, and $3 billion for research into energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Senate still needs to pass the bill.

“The ideal project is one that keeps on giving, and that is exactly what scientific research does,” Holt said. “In his Inaugural Address, President Obama said ‘we will restore science to its rightful place.’ This legislation places science at the center of short-term job creation and long-term economic growth.”

In December 2008, Holt hosted a roundtable discussion at Princeton University, along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, senior Congressional leaders, and national leaders in the science and technology community to highlight the importance of innovation infrastructure to ensure long-term American competitiveness.

Holt also drew attention to other investments that would help create new jobs and help families struggling in the economy, including funding for:

–School modernization, including funding for Holt’s initiative to increase energy efficiency (an estimated $250 million for New Jersey).

–Helping states prevent the laying off of teachers and other school employees (an estimated $1.7 million for New Jersey)

–Road and bridge construction, as well as improving public transit and rail (an estimated $1.15 billion for New Jersey)

–Transforming the nation’s electricity systems through the Smart Grid Investment Program.

–Job training, including for green-collar jobs.

–Increasing Pell Grants to $5,350 by the next school year, helping to make college more affordable.

–Extending unemployment benefits through 2009 and extending health care coverage for unemployed workers (an estimated 148,000 New Jersey workers would be eligible).

“We’re past the point where we can hope the economy will right itself,” Holt said. “People are hurting now. New Jersey’s unemployment rate has risen to 7.1 percent from 4.2 percent just a year ago. This legislation would provide the bold, wise action needed to get our economy on the road to recovery. Every dollar spent would create new jobs and help build the economy for the 21st century.”

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Filed under economic recovery bill, infrastructure, Job Training, New Jersey, President Obama, press release, Princton University, Rush Holt, unemployment benefits

HOLT: ECONOMIC RECOVERY BILL WOULD CREATE NEW JOBS,HELP THOSE STRUGGLING IN ECONOMIC CRISIS

Here is what Congressman Rush Holt has to say about the passage of the Economic stimulas bill passed last night in the House.

Press Release:
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Rush Holt (NJ-12) tonight voted for the House-passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009, arguing that it would provide the comprehensive investment needed to stop the nation’s economic decline and rebuild the economy by creating millions of new jobs. Holt highlighted nearly $16 billion of new funding for science research and facilities, including $3 billion for the National Science Foundation, $2 billion for physical science research at the Department of Energy, $3.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health, and $3 billion for research into energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Senate still needs to pass the bill.

“The ideal project is one that keeps on giving, and that is exactly what scientific research does,” Holt said. “In his Inaugural Address, President Obama said ‘we will restore science to its rightful place.’ This legislation places science at the center of short-term job creation and long-term economic growth.”

In December 2008, Holt hosted a roundtable discussion at Princeton University, along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, senior Congressional leaders, and national leaders in the science and technology community to highlight the importance of innovation infrastructure to ensure long-term American competitiveness.

Holt also drew attention to other investments that would help create new jobs and help families struggling in the economy, including funding for:

–School modernization, including funding for Holt’s initiative to increase energy efficiency (an estimated $250 million for New Jersey).

–Helping states prevent the laying off of teachers and other school employees (an estimated $1.7 million for New Jersey)

–Road and bridge construction, as well as improving public transit and rail (an estimated $1.15 billion for New Jersey)

–Transforming the nation’s electricity systems through the Smart Grid Investment Program.

–Job training, including for green-collar jobs.

–Increasing Pell Grants to $5,350 by the next school year, helping to make college more affordable.

–Extending unemployment benefits through 2009 and extending health care coverage for unemployed workers (an estimated 148,000 New Jersey workers would be eligible).

“We’re past the point where we can hope the economy will right itself,” Holt said. “People are hurting now. New Jersey’s unemployment rate has risen to 7.1 percent from 4.2 percent just a year ago. This legislation would provide the bold, wise action needed to get our economy on the road to recovery. Every dollar spent would create new jobs and help build the economy for the 21st century.”

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Filed under economic recovery bill, infrastructure, Job Training, New Jersey, President Obama, press release, Princton University, Rush Holt, unemployment benefits

>N.J. high court denies Town Center appeals:Mountain Hill project may now move forward

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It looks like the efforts of  Middletown Township has fallen short. Its attempt to stop life long resident and former State Assemblyman Joshep Azzolina and his family from going ahead with thier long sought after Town Center project was  again struck down by the courts. 

Below is the story from the Independent:

BY JAMIE ROMM -In what may be the final blow for opponents of the Town Center project, the New Jersey Supreme Court declined to hear appeals by the Middletown Township government challenging the project.

The denial lets stand a lower court decision that will allow the mixed-use development to go forward.

The state Supreme Court released three decisions on Jan. 20 denying appeals by the Middletown Township Committee, the township Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The appeals sought to overturn a ruling by the Appellate Division of state Superior Court issued Sept. 10 in favor of the Town Center project proposed by Mountain Hill LLC for Route 35 north at Kings Highway East.

“We are grateful that the Appellate Division and Supreme Court agreed with my client that Middletown and its two boards acted improperly standing in the way of this amazing project,” Mountain Hill’s attorney Gary F. Fox, of Ocean Township, said in a press release. “I give tremendous credit to my client for not giving up when it was unsuccessful at the trial court level.”

Fox said in a press release issued last week that the decision validates his client as well as what he has been saying over the past decade: that the Town Center project is a valid project.

“This case is an example of why appellate courts exist; to correct errors made at the trial court level,” Fox said in the release. “Now it’s time to move ahead and get this project going.”

The plan currently before the Middletown Planning Board proposes approximately 1.4 million square feet of retail space and 200 residential apartments.

The appellate court had ruled that formerMayor Joan Smith should not have had a vote on the Planning Board hearing to rezone former Assemblyman Joseph Azzolina Sr.’s property from a town center to an active adult community, because her title company had prior business dealings with Mountain Hill.

“We conclude that Smith had a disqualifying conflict of interest that infected not only her official actions in 2001 but also those in 2004,” the opinion stated. “As a consequence, the 2004 Master Plan and both 2004 AAC ordinances are invalid and of no effect.”

Former Middletown Township Attorney Bernard Reilly said last October, when filing the appeal with the Supreme Court, that he would have to prove that Smith did not have a conflict of interest in voting against the Town Center proposal.

The township argued that there was no conflict of interest because her business relationship with members of Mountain Hill in the past was minor and occurred many years prior.

The Supreme Court decision left in place the appellate court’s decision overruling trial court Judge Lawrence M. Lawson, who had allowed Middletown to rezone the Town Center project out of existence.

The appellate panel ruled entirely in Mountain Hill’s favor, overturning the trial court decisions, invalidating the rezoning, the Master Plan and numerous rulings by the Zoning Board.

The decisions end Middletown’s right to appeal and give a green light to Mountain Hill to proceed with its Town Center project without any further interference from the township.

The township’s December 2008 affording housing plan includes the Town Center tract and anticipates it will provide at least 400 residential apartment units of which 80 would be deemed affordable and go toward its state-mandated affordable housing obligation.

Mountain Hill and Middletown have battled in court over development of the property for more than a decade.

On Sept. 30, the Township Committee unanimously agreed to petition the New Jersey Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that the project could go forward.

The Sept. 10 decision by Appellate Division Judge C.L. Miniman invalidated the township’s 2004 master plan and directed that the 1993 master plan be the one the township would have to follow. The court said the Planning Board should have heard Mountain Hill’s January 2003 application.

The court overturned a 2006 decision by Lawson who ruled the Planning Board should follow the 2004 master plan, which changed the zoning to an active adult community and blocked the Town Center development.

On Oct. 1, 2008, the Planning Board passed a resolution reaffirming its 2004 master plan, which does not permit the proposed $150 million, 137-acre mixed-use development.

Mountain Hill, which is controlled by members of the Azzolina family, sought to overturn a zoning change adopted by the Middletown Township Committee about five years ago to stop the project from getting off the ground.

According to Fox, the Azzolina family acquired this property over a period of many years between 1954 and 1993 with the goal of building a shopping center.

Fox said the 1993 master plan supported the Town Center project while the 2004 master plan did not permit it.

On Oct 31, 2003, the Planning Board denied Mountain Hill the ability to file any more applications for the Town Center.

The revised master plan in 2004 was approved to establish a model for land use in Middletown and infuriated proponents of the town center development.

The plan, unanimously adopted by the Planning Board on Jan. 29, 2003, was a policy document “to serve as a development and conservation guide for the 24,000-some acres that comprise the township,” as described in the plan.

See story>>> Here

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Filed under Joseph Azzloina, Middletown, Mountain Hill LLC, New Jersey Supreme Court, the Independent, Town Center