New Jersey Currents - Fall 2014

October 23, 2014

Climate Change, Water, and Jobs

On September 21, Clean Water Action joined more than 400,000 people in New York City for the largest climate march in history, the People’s Climate March. “Climate change is water change,” says Clean Water Action’s New Jersey Director, Amy Goldsmith, “and if we want clean water for our future, we have to take action on climate now.”

When Congress first passed the 1972 Clean Water Act, it was with the understanding that all streams and wetlands can impact the biological, physical and chemical integrity of larger downstream waters. But starting in 2001, polluter-friendly court decisions and the agency actions that followed stripped away longstanding Clean Water Act protections, leaving critical resources vulnerable to pollution and destruction. We’re taking action here - you can too. Read more

Vote for Clean Water

The federal elections this year are especially critical. The balance of power is up in the air and we are at THE tipping point when it comes to the climate crisis, a clean green economy, a functioning government at even the most basic level and so much more.  On the environment, five candidates from New Jersey really stand out and Clean Water Action is proud to endorse them: Read more

Radioactive Waste Update

A recent U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) decision could allow spent fuel rods to remain on site for up to sixty years after the Jersey Shore’s Oyster Creek plant closes, along with other nuclear plants around the country. The facilities would effectively become “a mini Yucca Mountain,” says Clean Water Action’s Peg Sturmfels, referring to the remote Nevada site once considered as a location for storing all of the nation’s highly radioactive waste.

Making matters worse, recent analysis conducted for the NRC indicates that stress fractures are forming on the stainless steel dry casks being used for long term on-site storage of spent fuel rods. “There isn’t a technology that exists today that can handle this waste which remains radioactive for tens of thousands of years,” Sturmfels says.

Despite these troubling facts, the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry lobby group, and the NRC both want to build more nuclear reactors. Clean Water Action and GRAMMES (Grandmothers, Mothers and More) are fighting to require that Oyster Creek’s casks be double-wrapped with stainless steel and concrete, and that instruments be installed to provide continuous monitoring for heat and corrosion.

Legislature Can Reverse Christie’s 
Veto of Frack Waste Ban!

Governor Christie’s veto of a key clean water bill, S1041, this August disappointed and angered many. The measure would have banned the dumping of frack wastes in New Jersey. Christie rejected a bipartisan super majority (over 80 percent) in the legislature, including 25 Republicans supporting the bill to protect New Jersey’s waterways and public health from this pollution. 

An override vote is possible, since so many legislators voted for the bill. However, lawmakers are facing heavy industry pressure to abandon their earlier environmental protection commitments Read More

Are Ports Harming Residents’ Health?

Clean Water Action chairs the Coalition for Healthy Ports (CHP), the group engaged in a multi-year fight to ensure that while the Port of New York and New Jersey grows, diesel emissions and other health harming impacts are reduced. “The Port Authority claims that pollution levels have gone down,” says Clean Water Action’s Kim Gaddy, “but we want to see the proof. They want us to take their word for it, but that’s not good enough.”

The Port of New York and New Jersey is the East Coast’s largest, and the third-largest nationally. Plans call for doubling its capacity to handle supersized Panamax ships, with new, taller cranes being installed at the docks. The cranes will have cleaner engines and, in some cases, cleaner power to operate them. But there are no plans to require docked ships to “plug in” to electric shore power as is the case in other ports worldwide. Read more