Home > Uncategorized > Democratic Legislature Supports Water Privatization – Again Revives Zombie Development Projects

Democratic Legislature Supports Water Privatization – Again Revives Zombie Development Projects

 Sweeney Senate Approves Water Privatization and Permit Extension Act

Bills on Gov. Christie’s Desk – Expected To Be Signed

Corporate Interests Rule – The Cruel Hoax Continues

sweeney7Yesterday’s ray of sunshine created by NY Governor Cuomo’s ban on fracking in NY was dimmed by today’s shameful acts of the NJ Legislature, under the leadership of Democrats.

Both bills advance Gov. Christie’s privatization, political machine politics, and corporate agenda and are expected to be signed by the Gov. The Democrats did Christie’s dirty work.

The Senate rammed through two bills today that will continue a long pattern of abuse, promotion of corporate interests over the public interest, and weakenings of environmental protections.

As if eliminating local residents’ current rights to vote on whether their local water systems should be sold to a private corporation headquartered in France weren’t bad enough, today Senate President Sweeney’s Senate also approved a bill to extend the 2008 “Permit Extension Act”.

The corporate interests and political players are the same they were back in 2008  – Lou Greenwald in the Assembly and Paul Sarlo in the Senate.

But this time they are joined by right wing Republican Swentor from Sussex County, Senator Oroho.

Oroho recently served as NJ’s representative to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

So, NJ Democrats are teaming up with the ALEC agenda.

To illustrate a continuity of shame and total failure to progress over a long period of time, I thought I’d reprint my 2008 letter to Gov. Corzine requesting a veto of the original Permit Extension Act, which at the time I called a “cruel hoax” that would not solve underlying problems. Over six years later, the beat goes on:

June 30, 2008
The Honorable Jon S. Corzine
State House
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
Via hand carry
Re: request to Veto the “Permit Extension Act” A2867[2R]/S1919[2R]

Dear Governor Corzine:

On behalf of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), I am writing to request that you issue a Veto of “The Permit Extension Act” which passed both houses on June 23, 2008. PEER is a national support group for professionals in environmental agencies that seek enforcement of environmental laws and ethics.

The premises and provisions of the bill are fatally flawed. These flaws cannot be corrected by the series of narrowing amendments negotiated by Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson, or the issuance of a Conditional Veto on your part.

The bill provides no economic stimulus whatsoever, or other valid economic relief for the national economic recession and collapse of the housing market, the purported justifications for the legislation. As such, the bill represents a cruel hoax upon New Jersey residents suffering real economic hardship.

The regulatory relief provisions of the bill are totally unrelated to the causes of the economic problems the bill purports to address. The bill would apply to an unknown universe of thousands of DEP permits and municipal approvals.

It is simply reckless to enact legislation whose impacts have not been even crudely analyzed.

Implementation of the bill would undermine environmental protection by exempting prior approvals from changes in environmental standards and community preferences reflected in municipal land use planning and zoning. This is a fatal blow to core principles of environmental and land use law. Principles known as “time of decision” and “technology forcing” seek to assure that technology and markets adapt to meet changing environmental laws and standards that have evolved to meet changing conditions and new scientific knowledge, and that economic activities reflect those changes.

The bill would frustrate the ability of NJ to implement and meet the emission reduction goals of your signal accomplishment, The Global Warming Response Act. For example, thousands of projects would be exempt from any new energy conservation, energy efficiency, building codes, or other requirements to install renewable energy. This alone is sufficient policy grounds to kill this bill.

The amendments that carve out the Highlands, Pinelands, and “environmentally sensitive areas” under the State Plan would sacrifice urban areas and result in de jure and de facto differential and unequal protection of urban New Jersey. This would violate fundamental principles of environmental justice. As succinctly stated by South Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance Co-Chair Roy Jones:

“Separate and unequal … dates back to slavery” (Asbury Park Press, June 26, 2008).

We strongly urge you to Veto this bill and uphold your Constitutional obligation as Governor of all people of New Jersey, urban, suburban and rural, and not provide favors to special interests.

Bill Wolfe, Director


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  1. Jo
    January 31st, 2015 at 16:47 | #1

    Once again, our NJ state Democrats have let us down. I DO NOT, in principle, support the privatization of ANY natural resources. Elected officials, including Democrats, have been ceding the public commons i.e. what should be owned and shared by all of us, to private, profit-seeking shareholders. Follow the money and common sense will tell you where it could end up. Why should anyone OWN water? Did they manufacture it/ Was it their invention? This is insane.

  1. December 29th, 2014 at 09:18 | #1
  2. January 2nd, 2015 at 15:46 | #2
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