|New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney|
By Frank Brill
S611 / S874 (Sweeney/Smith/Bateman) - Requires State's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This is the often-vetoed bête noire of former Gov. Chris Christie. Opposed by the fossil fuel industry and heavy electricity users, it would bring the state back into compact of seven northeastern states that seek to discourage industrial carbon dioxide emissions--that contribute to climate change--by taxing their emission levels at energy plants. Revenue from the RGGI tax has provided millions for energy efficiency and other environmental projects in participating states. The sponsors need not worry about a gubernatorial veto this time. Gov. Phil Murphy this week signed an executive order that puts RGGI reentry into motion.
The second Bill sponsored by Senate President Sweeney is
S877. It establishes a 'Nuclear Diversity Certificate program.' You may have no idea what that benign term means but we bet you'll recognize its more popular description: 'rate subsidies (or bale-outs) for PSEG's three southern New Jersey nuclear plants.' This bill failed on a Hail Mary pass- attempt in the final hours of the previous session but has been reintroduced under a new number and with some concessions that seek to limit the ferocity of the opposition.
Other less luminary bills up for Senate votes Monday include:
S1057 (Van Drew) - Requires EDA, in consultation with Department of Agriculture, to establish loan program for certain vineyard and winery capital expenses.
S1082 (Cruz-Perez / Singleton) - Provides tax credits to vineyards and wineries for qualified capital expenses.
S1083 (Cruz-Perez / Gopal) - Establishes loan program and provides corporation business tax and gross income tax credits for establishment of new vineyards and wineries.
Meanwhile in committee
The Senate Environment and Energy Committee meets on Monday at 10:00 AM in Committee Room 10, 3rd Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ. and will consider:
S71 (Singleton) - Prohibits dumping dredge spoils on and around certain islands without municipal approval.
S74 (Singleton) - Requires DEP to establish maximum contaminant level for 1,2,3-trichloropropane in drinking water.
S534 (Oroho / Sarlo) - Excludes corrugated containers sold by the manufacturer from definition of "litter-generating product"; exempts such sales from user fee imposed under "Clean Communities Program Act."
S601 (Smith) - Requires end-of-life recycling of solar and photovoltaic energy generation facilities and structures.
S879 (Sweeney) - Amends definition of "existing Major Hazardous Waste facility" in "Major Hazardous Waste Facilities Siting Act."
S1074 (Smith / Bateman) - Provides for protection of public's rights under public trust doctrine. You might not know it from the description but this is a beach-access bill that addresses the thorny issue of private-property-owner rights vs. the rights of John Q. Public to walk alongside Richie Rich's beachfront mansion to get to the surf.
SR29 (Sarlo / Bateman) - Opposes expansion of oil and natural gas drilling on Outer Continental Shelf. President Trump wants to make Big Oil bigger still by allowing gas and oil exploration off the Jersey coast (and other eastern states as well, except maybe the one with Mar a Lago). This bill doesn't take kindly to the move.
Lest we forget the Assembly
Before all the scheduled action listed above takes place:NJ Assembly's Environment Committee to meet on Feb. 1
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