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Senate panel moves against Christie environmental plans

It also voted to require New Jersey to obtain 30 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 - a standard Gov. Christie three months ago called unrealistic and dropped back to 22.5 percent in his energy master plan. Lobbyists and advocates jammed the third-floor hearing room of the Senate Environmental and Energy Committee to testify.

TRENTON - Democratic legislators Monday resumed a long-running debate with the Christie administration over environmental policy's role in making New Jersey a competitive place to do business.

Taking a timeout from reelection campaigns, lawmakers returned for committee votes, including two on pushing back major Christie administration environmental ideas.

A Senate panel moved to block a proposed rule allowing the Department of Environmental Protection to waive regulations for businesses and citizens seeking permits or approvals in certain instances.

It also voted to require New Jersey to obtain 30 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 - a standard Gov. Christie three months ago called unrealistic and dropped back to 22.5 percent in his energy master plan.

Lobbyists and advocates jammed the third-floor hearing room of the Senate Environmental and Energy Committee to testify. The measures passed, 3-2, along party lines, with Republicans voting no.

The waiver is grounded in Christie's Executive Order 2, which calls on state agencies to adopt programs to give businesses and citizens "relief from regulatory burdens."

The DEP in March proposed... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

TRENTON - Democratic legislators Monday resumed a long-running debate with the Christie administration over environmental policy's role in making New Jersey a competitive place to do business.

Taking a timeout from reelection campaigns, lawmakers returned for committee votes, including two on pushing back major Christie administration environmental ideas.

A Senate panel moved to block a proposed rule allowing the Department of Environmental Protection to waive regulations for businesses and citizens seeking permits or approvals in certain instances.

It also voted to require New Jersey to obtain 30 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 - a standard Gov. Christie three months ago called unrealistic and dropped back to 22.5 percent in his energy master plan.

Lobbyists and advocates jammed the third-floor hearing room of the Senate Environmental and Energy Committee to testify. The measures passed, 3-2, along party lines, with Republicans voting no.

The waiver is grounded in Christie's Executive Order 2, which calls on state agencies to adopt programs to give businesses and citizens "relief from regulatory burdens."

The DEP in March proposed waiving certain regulations if they conflicted with other state or federal rules, or created "an exceptional and undue hardship." Other exceptions would be made if the waivers would enhance the environment or were deemed necessary in an emergency.

The Senate panel's resolution states that the proposal is not consistent with the legislative intent of many laws. If approved by the Legislature, the resolution would give the state environmental commissioner 30 days to amend or withdraw the waiver rule.

The rule could take effect any day, though the DEP is reviewing comments and could make changes.

Business groups, including the state builders' association, opposed the committee's resolution.

The waiver rule "gives both the DEP and businesses the opportunity to have common sense applied to the regulatory process," said Sara Bluhm, vice president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

"As we're looking at how to rebuild the economy . . . we need to know that there is flexibility at the DEP," Bluhm said.

Environmental advocates supported the resolution, saying language in the waiver rule was too vague and gave administrators too much discretion.


Source: http://www.nj.com/news/inde...

SEP 20 2011
http://www.windaction.org/posts/31977-senate-panel-moves-against-christie-environmental-plans
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