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New Jersey Sierra Club Helps Launch Campaign against South Jersey Gas Pinelands Pipeline

Trenton, NJ 8/20/2015 from the Sierra Club:  Today at the Statehouse in Trenton, the New Jersey Sierra Club and environmental groups launched a campaign to fight the South Jersey Gas pipeline being pushed through the Pinelands. These groups have won significant battles for the Pinelands in the past, including the battle for the Pinelands Act forty years ago and blocking pipelines more recently. Now they come together again to fight the latest threat to New Jersey’s unique ecosystem: a pipeline that Pinelands Commission’s Executive Director Nancy Wittenberg is trying to sneakily push through. Two years ago the Pinelands Commission voted down South Jersey Gas’s (SJG) pipeline and now they’re back.  Wittenberg is playing games with the rules and the facts…
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Jury Convicts New Jersey Man of Illegally Trafficking in Paddlefish

A New Jersey man was convicted in federal court today of illegally trafficking in paddlefish caviar after being caught in stemming from an undercover operation in the Warsaw, Missouri, area, announced the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and the Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri. In support of Missouri’s paddlefish conservation efforts, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Conservation conducted an undercover investigation known as “Operation Roadhouse,” centered on an area known as the Roadhouse in Warsaw.  As part of the operation, state and federal officers operated a paddlefish snagging business during the 2011 and 2012 paddlefish seasons. Petr Babenko, 45, of Vineland, New Jersey, was found guilty of participating in…
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Drones Terrify Pilots, So Why Are They Sold at Newark Airport?

Federal rules prohibit flying a drone within five miles of an airport, but that apparently doesn't mean you can't buy one inside secure airport terminals. While the FAA has issued stern warnings against flying the increasingly popular craft near airports, and pilots have sounded the alarm bell as drone sightings soar, at least two stores inside Newark Liberty were selling the gadgets this week. Brookstone, on the secure side of Terminal C, had Parrot's Bebop Drone equipped with an 1080 pixel HD camera for sale, as well as the smaller Quark Micro Drone by Propel, which is not equipped with a camera. On Monday night, Hudson News, at the north end of Terminal A, had a table stocked with a…
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Virginia Tech Shooting Survivor Makes Case for Change at Safety Meeting

One survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech University shooting can recall vivid images of the day she was hit by three bullets as a gunman methodically worked his way through her class. On Tuesday, Kristina Anderson, 28, of Washington, offered chilling details of that day and shared its lessons with about 450 law enforcement officers, rescue workers, and education officials gathered at Washington Township High School for the South Jersey School Safety and Security Conference. "Brace yourself," she recalled thinking as the gunman shot her French teacher, and then student after student. "Your turn is going to come." She was curled up at her seat, hugging the desk with her head down. The first bullet struck her back, slicing her…
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Pennsylvania Water Utility to Reduce Sewage Discharges to Delaware River and Local Creeks

The Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with the Delaware County Regional Water Quality Control Authority (DELCORA) resolving alleged Clean Water Act violations involving combined sewer overflows (CSOs) to the Delaware River and its tributaries.  In a proposed consent decree, DELCORA has agreed to develop and implement a plan to control and significantly reduce overflows from its sewer system, which will improve the water quality of the Delaware River, Chester Creek and Ridley Creek near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Based on information submitted by DELCORA, EPA estimates that the Authority could spend as much as $200 million to implement an overflow control plan that complies with the terms of the Clean Water Act.  Once the…
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Drunk Driver Arrested for Boating onto Rock Jetty

Spring Lake,NJ: Dozens of Rescue workers attempt to remove boaters from boat stranded on a Spring Lake rock Jetty which protrudes from the beach into the Atlantic. The boater was arrested and charged with drunk driving. Photo courtesy Bill Senck (C)2015 via faceb
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Teaneck: Get Out if Oil Train Disaster

Oil-Train Disaster Plan Reveals 8,000 in Teaneck Would be Evacuated NJ: Larry Robertson, Teaneck's emergency management coordinator, had a message Wednesday for residents who live within a half-mile of the tracks used by trains carrying Bakken crude oil: If there's a disaster, get out. "Leave immediately -- no time for shoes, no time for briefcases and laptops. Grab you family members and go," said Robertson, who was holding an informational meeting in the Teaneck Police Department on plans for handling a rail emergency. Robertson estimated that should a leak, spill, fire or explosion occur, about 8,000 residents who live in the half-mile radius of the site would need to evacuate. The township is in the process of acquiring a townwide loudspeaker…
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BPU Authority on Pinelands Natural Gas Pipeline

New Jersey 8/14/2015: Today at the Pinelands Commission, Executive Director Nancy Wittenberg said the South Jersey Gas pipeline is now a private development for use in the Pinelands, which she claims exempts it from any action by the Pinelands Commission. Under her ruling, she and the BPU will have the authority to approve or deny the pipeline. This means that if her decision stands there will be no public hearing, public input, and the Pinelands Commission does not have a voice or vote on this decision. The Pinelands is a truly unique and ecologically important region, recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  There are plants and species in the Pinelands found nowhere else in the world.  The Pinelands protects 17 trillion…
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No More Utility Shut Off Awareness Campaign at Statehouse

Trenton, NJ. 8/13/2015: The New Jersey Service Workers handout a newspaper to passersby at the Trenton Statehouse Annex. They are raising awareness about Gas  & Electric Company shutoffs in homes that cannot afford to pay full rates as the US economy is widening  pay and loosing employment opportunities. NewJerseyStrong-com Photo / Stanley Brick (C)2015  
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Unconstitutional Punishment to Jail Homeless

Washington, DC: The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest today arguing that making it a crime for people who are homeless to sleep in public places, when there is insufficient shelter space in a city, unconstitutionally punishes them for being homeless.  The statement of interest was filed in federal district court in Idaho in Bell v. City of Boise et al., a case brought by homeless plaintiffs who were convicted under Boise ordinances that criminalize sleeping or camping in public. As stated by the Justice Department in its filing, “t should be uncontroversial that punishing conduct that is a universal and unavoidable consequence of being human violates the Eighth Amendment. . .  Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity—, it must…
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PennEast is Complaining to FERC About Public’s Opposition to Pipeline

PennEast is Complaining to FERC About Public’s Opposition to Pipeline The PennEast Status Report filed with FERC Tuesday included NJDEP and PennEast meeting notes that showed homeowners denying survey access is making PennEast’s application increasingly difficult. PennEast admitted that a recent letter from NJDEP saying that they couldn’t deem PennEast’s applications for permits complete caused even more people to deny access. The media storm that followed helped landowners decide to revoke prior access given, as urged by the New Jersey Sierra Club and other environmental groups. Without at least 60 percent of surveys, PennEast is unable to retrieve the information they need to move this project forward. “According to the latest filing, more than 2/3 of people in New Jersey…
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COAST GUARD STATION SANDY HOOK RESCUES OVERDUE BOATER NEAR SANDY HOOK, N.J.

New Jersey — The Coast Guard rescued a 19 year-old boater, who had been reported missing the evening before, off the coast of Sandy Hook, New Jersey, Wednesday. At approximately 9:40 , Tuesday, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New York command center in Staten Island, New York, received a report from the Highlands Police Department, that a recreational craft with one person aboard had not made it to their destination in Highlands, New Jersey. Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook launched a rescue boatcrew and Sector New York issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast notice to mariners. Other local agencies involved with the search included: New York Fire Department Marine unitsNew York Police Department Aviation and Marine unitsAtlantic Highlands Fire DepartmentUnion Beach Fire…
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State Announces Over $1.9 Million in Federal Homeland Security Grants

Trenton, NJ: The State announced Tuesday that New Jersey's Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP) has been awarded $ million for nonprofit organizations under the Jersey City/Newark Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), a 74 percent increase from 2014, and the second-highest total in the nation. Twenty-seven nonprofit organizations, including religious institutions, operating in New Jersey's UASI and Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) will share the federal grants to improve physical security. This year, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) allotted $13 million nationwide to support target hardening and other physical security enhancements for nonprofit organizations in the country's highest risk urban areas. "Bolstering security for nonprofit organizations and religious institutions in New Jersey remains…
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NTSB Suggests State Needs Emergency Response Overhaul

Federal safety officials who reviewed a highway crash that badly injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed a friend were sharply critical of the emergency response to it and are urging the state to establish minimum standards, but prior efforts at reform have failed. The criticism came during a National Transportation Safety Board meeting Tuesday to determine the cause of the June 7, 2014, crash on the NJ Turnpike and to make safety recommendations. It came after the Democrat-led Legislature passed measures to overhaul the state's emergency response system in 2011 and 2013 but Republican Gov. Chris Christie vetoed them. The panel's written review found the emergency response included "missteps on scene due to poor communication, lack of oversight, and nonstandard…
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Hazardous Waste

Hearing on Hazardous Waste Facility in Falls Township, Tomorrow: A Hazard to the Delaware River   The  Elcon  Recycling Center has re-filed an application for a liquid hazardous waste treatment facility across the Delaware River that would put the entire water supply for 6 million people at risk. The proposed site has been moved from the original Bristol Township location to Falls Township, which is directly across from Trenton and the Bordentown in the Keystone Industrial Port Complex. The application was submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to turn industrial liquid waste from chemical and pharmaceutical companies into clean water. The water supply for 6 million people would be at risk if this incinerator is built. Tomorrow, a…
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