Category Archives: EPA

Sierra Club Director Tittel to Lecture January 23 at Brookdale

Lincroft, NJ – Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club will discuss the systematic political assault on both the state and nation’s environmental rules and regulations by radical conservative politicians at the January 23 combined general membership meetings of the Jersey Shore (Monmouth) Group of Sierra and the NJ Friends of Clearwater at the Brookdale Community College Lincroft main campus, 765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft. It will be held from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in the Warner Student Life Center, lower level, Twin Lights rooms. Community is encouraged to attend the free event sponsored by Brookdale’s Environmental Field Station at Sandy Hook. Light refreshments will be available beginning at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting to start at 6:30 p.m.

A life-long Jerseyan, Tittel worked in political consulting prior to consulting for environmental activism. He now spends much of his time working behind the scenes battling businesses, developers, bureaucrats and politicians.

According to Tittel, since the radical conservatives captured the U.S. House of Representatives, there have been about 190 votes against environmental regulations on the House Floor with about 85 targeting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – and more expected.

Tittle is critical of Governor Chris Christie in his opposition to many environmental bills. Christi’s environmental commissioner has insisted that any evaluation of new regulations must be balanced by their impact on economic growth.

Tittel will explain how pro-development opponents to environmental controls falsely blame the controls for the nation’s economic stagnation. He will conclude with the possible positive directions that can be taken to protect the environment.
Groups are welcome. Please advise to request any special needs seating. More information is available by calling 732-857-5305.

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Filed under Brookdale Community College, environmentalists, EPA, Jeff Tittel, Lincroft NJ, NJ Friends of Clearwater, press release, Sandy Hook, Sierra club

Rush Holt; Polluters Should Pay Once Again

Posted from Congressman Holt’s newletter

Last week, I toured two toxic cleanup sites in Middlesex County that are being restored to health by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program which requires polluters to pay for the cleanup of sites they have contaminated.

A few years ago, these sites were toxic dumps, unsafe for anyone to live or work. One had hosted incinerators for photographic film and circuit boards; the other had been home to a chemical plant used in the production of oil field chemicals and anti-corrosive agents. In both areas, toxic chemicals had leached into the soil and groundwater. Without intervention, the sites would have been unsafe for human habitation for decades, even centuries.

Now they are on track to be fully restored for public use. That is a testament to the potential of the Superfund, and it is evidence of the remarkable work of the Environmental Protection Agency – an agency that is so often the target of political attacks precisely because it is so effective in standing up against polluters.

The Superfund law originally required highly polluting industries to also pay for the cleanup of “orphan sites” where no specific polluter could be identified. More recently, however, Republicans in Congress have blocked efforts to require polluters to pay into the Superfund “orphan” cleanup fund.

Partly as a result, the Superfund is dramatically underfunded, delaying efforts to clean up hundreds of toxic waste sites across New Jersey and the country. Even worse, taxpayers – rather than polluters – are now being forced to take on the burden of cleaning up these “orphan” toxic industrial sites. This is simply a wrongheaded and wasteful way to use our very limited tax dollars.

Sincerely,

Rush Holt
Member of Congress

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Filed under chemical waste, Congressman Rush Holt, EPA, Middlesex County, New Jersey, polluters, superfund toxic waste sites, toxic waste

Pallone Announces Sayreville Landfill is No Longer a Superfund Toxic Waste Site

Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. Tuesday announced the Sayreville Landfill Superfund Site is free of toxic chemicals and that the site has now been removed from the Superfund list of the country’s most toxic waste sites. EPA’s Superfund program is responsible for the ongoing cleanup of numerous sites including the Imperial Oil and Raritan Bay Slag Superfund sites in New Jersey.

“This is a testament to the importance of the Superfund program and it’s a success for New Jerseyans who live in close proximity to this site,” said Pallone. “This site was harmful to the environment, but EPA’s commitment to cleaning up the site will make it possible for this land to be potentially put to use to the benefit of the taxpayers.”

Pallone has been a long-time advocate of fully funding the Superfund program and has raised concerns that the program lacks adequate funding because it is no longer funded by a tax on the chemical and petroleum industry. Because Congress has not reauthorized the polluter-pays taxes, the cleanup of Superfund sites is paid for out of the general treasury.

In April 2011, Pallone introduced H.R. 1634, the Superfund Polluter Pays Act, to restore polluter-pays provisions for cleaning up America’s most toxic and polluted sites. The bill mandates a cents per barrel tax on crude oil or refined oil products and dollars per ton on certain toxic chemicals The President’s FY 2012 budget, which calls for reauthorization of these taxes, estimates that they would raise about $2 billion per year and $20.8 billion over 10 years.

Over 30 drums were removed from the Sayreville Landfill Superfund site, a system to control stormwater and contain methane gas was installed and the site was capped. The work was done with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and overseen by EPA.

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Filed under chemical waste, Congressman Frank Pallone, EPA, Imperial Oil, New Jersey, Raritan Bay, rsey landfill, Sayreville NJ, Superfund program, toxic waste

Pallone Condemns GOP’s Ongoing Agenda to Weaken EPA

Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. on Wednesday decried the latest efforts from House Republicans to roll back crucial regulations that preserve and protect the environment. Under the guise of creating jobs and protecting the border, the proposals put forth by Republicans would roll back historic advances in environmental protection and harm public health by blocking the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to enforce rules that prevent hazardous air pollution from entering the air, dangerous materials such as mercury from entering the water supply and our ability to protect the iconic bald eagle from extinction.

“If House Republicans had their way, federal lands that are a national treasure would no longer be protected and polluters would no longer be accountable with the false and misleading claim they are securing the border,” said Pallone. “Americans should be outraged at this latest in a string of attacks against EPA. Congress should focus on creating jobs above all else such as moving forward with the American Jobs Act.”

The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, which was rushed through the Natural Resources Committee, would waive over 35 environmental laws that protect historic sites, endangered species and air and water quality, based on the fallacy that they interfere with Customs and Border Patrol agents’ ability to protect the border.

The assault on the environment continued on the House floor today with consideration of a Republican bill that would weaken EPA’s ability to regulate pollution from cement kilns that incinerate waste and release some of the most harmful pollutants including mercury and acid gases.

Pallone offered an amendment that would weaken the disastrous effects of this legislation on public health. His amendment would prevent the bill from going into effect if it interferes with the Department of Health and Human Service’s goal of reducing our children’s exposure to mercury.

“Republicans have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at EPA today in an effort to weaken regulations that are vital to public health. The effect of both of these pieces of legislation becoming law would be higher prevalence of asthma, heart attacks and chronic bronchitis and hundreds of acres less of federally protected lands for Americans to enjoy. That’s a bleak landscape,” Pallone added.

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Filed under American Jobs Act, Congress, Congressman Frank Pallone, Department of Health and Human Services, environmental laws, EPA, press release, public health

Pallone Announces Over $500,000 For Job Safety Training, Pollution Prevention Efforts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. Thursday announced over half a million dollars in federal grants that will help create and maintain jobs, improve worker safety and prevent pollution in the region. The Department of Labor allocated $348,000 to two local organizations that will support in-person, hands-on training and educational programs for workers and employers in industries with especially high injury and fatality rates.

“Employees should not have to worry about their lives while they are on the job,” said Pallone. “Worker safety is the best it has ever been, but that doesn’t mean we can’t always do more to prevent accidents on the job. I’m glad to see this money go toward training that will save lives.”

Rutgers University received $180,000 that will fund hazard prevention training and materials to limited-English, low-literacy, young and hard-to-reach workers employed in the warehouse and light production industries. University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey received $168,000 to update training materials and provide training on the use of fall protection in the construction industry.

Additionally, EPA awarded two grants totaling $200,000 to Rutgers to reduce the University’s carbon footprint. The first grant of $50,000 will facilitate the Center for Advanced Energy Systems implementation of a smart electrical metering system on the Busch and Livingston campuses in Piscataway. The second grant for $150,000 will help the university recruit high school students as “Water Champions” to lead water conservation changes throughout their communities. Both grants were part of approximately $4 million in grants EPA awards each year aimed at prevention pollution across the nation.

“As one of the largest universities in the region, it’s significant that Rutgers is working hard to make its carbon footprint small,” said Pallone. “Rutgers is working hard to lead the way on pollution prevention and I hope other educational institutions and localities will follow its lead. Protecting the environment also keeps and creates jobs in the area, which continues to be one of my highest priorities.”

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Filed under carbon footprint, Center for Advanced Energy Systems, Congressman Frank Pallone, EPA, Job Training, pollution prevention, press release, Rutgers University, US Department of Labor

Authorities seize four giant tortoises, including 500-pounder, from Highlands home

NJ.Com

HIGHLANDS — Authorities are seizing four tortoises, including one weighing 500 pounds, from a Monmouth County home and are relocating them to a zoo.

The state Environmental Protection Department says animal cruelty charges are being pursued by the Monmouth County SPCA against the property owner in Highlands.

DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese says neighbors reported what they described as “crying” by the tortoises and were feeding them. The tortoises were being kept in the yard.

The reptiles are being taken to the Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey.

Ragonese says besides the 500-pounder, there was a 200-pound tortoise and two 20-pounders. The reptiles are Aldabra tortoises, which are second in size only to the Galapagos tortoise. The owner apparently obtained the tortoises 15 years ago in California.

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Filed under Aldabra tortoises, EPA, giant turtals, Highlands New Jersey, Monmouth County, Popcorn Park Zoo, SPCA

Rush Holt; The Debt Ceiling Downer

For the moment we have put the debt crisis behind us. That is small comfort as the economy at large, the job situation, the housing market, and the financial markets continue to suffer. The Tea Party in Congress and its enablers should never have been allowed to threaten America’s good name in order to advance their view of a diminished government and trickle-down economics. They should never have been allowed to force a closed-door, hurried revision of our entire economy. And they certainly should never have been able to get away with a deal that increases inequities in our society and our economy. You, like most Americans, may have watched in dismay—or even in disgust—as Washington fumbled the self-imposed crisis.

Putting aside the distasteful process and the worrisome prospect that government by hostage-taking will continue, this week I had to face the immediate questions: Was the resulting deal going to help the economy? Would it create jobs? Would it reduce the crippling inequities in our economy and society? Would it bring down the deficit, as was the ostensible goal? On all counts my answer was “No,” and I voted against the resolution on the House floor.

I am pleased that we as a country are paying our debts, but I lament the damage done to the institutions of government and the good name of the United States as the most reliable, most creditworthy entity in the entire financial world. I lament especially the damage done to our view of ourselves. The negotiations were based on Tea Party premises: that our deficit is the principal concern facing us, that America is a pitiful debtor nation, that we must lower our sights, that we must end the quest to free our people from want and inequalities, that we cannot afford any longer to be the nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal. Are we no longer the America of the 1940’s that paid for millions of GI’s to go to college and buy homes, while rebuilding ourselves and Europe, when we were faced with a national debt much greater than today?

The deal this week may have the beneficial effect of showing that in the long run the United States intends to bring expenditures more in line with revenues. In the short term, though, the deal is a downer. It not only avoids dealing with today’s principal needs—job creation and economic growth—it actually will cost jobs and preclude any economic stimulation. At a time when clearly the economy is shaky, it is a mistake to declare, as the deal effectively does, that the federal government will have no direct hand in getting the economy moving. To meet next year’s target of spending reductions will require cuts equivalent to the budgets of all the following government operations combined: the EPA, the National Park Service, the Small Business Administration, FEMA emergency and firefighter grants, and the Women-Infants-and-Children food grants. In subsequent years, the cuts would be even ten times larger. Why should we rally to the cry, “No, We Can’t?” Have we forgotten that barely a decade ago we paid down the deficit with strong economic growth, job creation, and budgetary discipline without resorting to gimmicks, triggers, or Balanced Budget Amendments?

I would have liked to vote on a plan that protected the major functions granted to Congress under the Constitution rather than turning them over to an undemocratic, isolated committee of twelve. I would have liked to vote on a plan that would have accelerated withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, saving lives and dollars, and that would have produced savings in our healthcare costs and dealt with the looming loss of 30 percent of doctors’ reimbursement under Medicare. Instead, the plan that was presented was negotiated on the turf of the Tea Party, which seems to think that it is anti-capitalist to ask those individuals and companies doing well in this economy to bear some of the load, even though the one or two percent of people with the highest income have seen their income grow by about 25 percent while everyone else has seen an effective decline and America’s largest corporations have reaped immense profits by using loopholes and offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes.

Nevertheless, I am making it my job to beat back the pessimistic view in Washington that gave rise to this deal. We must not let this deal be the chart of our country’s future course. It is based on false premises that fail to recognize the inherent fairness that is characteristic of our people, the ingenuity and entrepreneurial energy that have sparked our economy for generations, and the unshakable American meliorism that says we can and must make life better for each succeeding generation. I think that now, more than ever, we must have a realistic view of our situation so that we can strongly defend equality and build a community that reinforces the opportunities for each individual.

Sincerely,

RUSH HOLT
Member of Congress

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Filed under Afghanistan, Congress, Congressman Rush Holt, debt ceiling, economy, EPA, Iraq, Medicare, National Park Service, Tea Party