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Vindication In The Pines

December 30th, 2016 No comments

We end the year with a smile on our face.

It’s rare to get vindicated so thoroughly and have your opponent eat their own backstabbing personal attack words.

Here is what Nancy Wittenberg, Executive Director of the Pinelands Commission was caught on tape saying to the Commission about me in July 2013, as the controversial debate on the South Jersey Gas pipeline took off:

But the thing that Bill [Wolfe] said that I wanted to remind you all of is that, Stacy [Roth], month after month after month, went on the record warning you: the pipeline project was coming. The public was here. We did not keep this a secret. It’s not my fault they missed it. But I really resented that and I resent Bill Wolfe saying it because he doesn’t know what we do. (listen, starts at time 2:30)

Let me repeat:

Bill Wolfe … doesn’t know what we do.

For more than 3 years, here is what I testified to the Commission and wrote, over and over and over again, about Ms. Wittenberg – valid substantive criticisms that were dismissed by the Commission as personal attacks:

The Executive Director of the Pinelands Commission, Nancy Wittenberg, has engaged in a pattern of conduct that makes a mockery of the Pinelands Commission, ignores the concerns of the public, and seriously impairs the integrity of the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP)

This conduct includes:

  • reversing a prior staff finding, backed by the Commission, that the South Jersey Gas (SJG) pipeline was inconsistent with the forest area standards of the CMP;
  • determining that a slightly revised SJG application should be considered “private development” and issued a “Certificate of Filing” under the CMP, bypassing the Commission and public review procedures;
  • misleading and manipulating the public and the Commission regarding various critical regulatory interpretations and alternatives and powers of the Commission;
  • providing undue and improper influence to SJG and engaging in extensive private email conversations with lawyers from SJG, including allowing SJG lawyers to review, and edit regulatory documents – including her own recommendations to the Commission and the Commission’s response to public comments – before those documents were shared with the Commission;
  • acting unilaterally and taking policy and regulatory positions on behalf of the Commission, without the knowledge or approval of the Commission or awareness of the public.

This pattern of conduct was repeated in the NJ Natural Gas pipeline controversy.

More specifically, I emphasized that Wittenberg abused her powers and violated the Pinelands Act on both the South Jersey Gas pipeline and the NJ Natural Gas “Southern Reliability Link” (SRL) pipeline:

3. [BPU President] Mroz stated that the pipeline was “approved by the Pinelands Commission” as consistent with the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).

LET ME BE CLEAR: That is a LIE –

The Pinelands Commission NEVER VOTED TO APPROVE THE PIPELINE.

The so called approval and CMP consistently determination was issued unilaterally by Gov. Christie’s installed Executive Director Nancy Wittenberg – not the Commission – who was following Orders of the Governor’s Office, not the direction of the  Pinelands Commission or the requirements of the CMP.

Wittenberg also directly participated in the fabricated fraudulent military need justification to evade Pinelands regulations.

Well, here’s what the Appellate Division found on November 7, 2016:

the CMP does not confer on the Executive Director or the Commission’s staff the authority to render final decisions on CMP compliance in these circumstances. There also is no provision in the Pinelands Act that confers upon the Executive Director authority to render a final decision for the Commission in the coordinated permitting process.

Here, the Commission retains final decision-making authority as to whether SJG’s proposed pipeline is consistent with the minimum standards of CMP. Indeed, as we have pointed out, the CMP states, “the Commission bears the ultimate responsibility for implementing and enforcing the provisions” of the Pinelands Act and the CMP. N.J.A.C. 7:50-1.11. The Commission therefore retains “ultimate responsibility” under the CMP to review the proposed project and render a final decision on CMP compliance.(@ p.22)

The Court vindicated my criticism.

The Pinelands Commission just passed a Resolution recognizing the Court’s decision striking down Wittenberg’s actions with respect to the SJG pipeline and another Resolution PC 4-16-43 that legally consolidated both the SJG and NJNG projects, because they both relied on the same illegal Wittenberg review process:

Whereas the Commission staff utilized the same review process for both the South Jersey Gas Company’s and the New Jersey Natural Gas Company’s Pinelands Development Applications;

So, given the Appellate Division’s decision, I wonder if Ms. Wittenberg still believes that I  don’t know what the Commission does.

Happy New Year – and eat your words, Wittenberg!

(You can’t say I didn’t try to warn you and prevent this via an appeal to reason).

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Stories and Photos From 2016 – Part 3 (of 4)

December 30th, 2016 No comments

See Part 1 (Jan. – March) and Part 2 (April – June).

If you’ve enjoyed or benefited from our work, please consider providing financial support – you can make a non-tax deductable contribution to our PayPal account. Or, shoot me an email and we can arrange something different: bill_wolfe@comcast.net

July

EPA Asked To Review Christie DEP Order for Compliance With the Clean Water Act

Senator Sweeney Sells Out NJ’s “Exceptional Value” Streams and Rivers – Cuts Deal With Christie DEP To Avoid Veto

Democrats Go All In For Hillary’s Military Madness

DNC – Clinton Wrap-up: No Room Under the Tent for Dissent or Activists

DNC – Everybody Knows

DNC in Philly Day 3 – Loathing and Dissipation At FDR Park “Philly Awakening”

DNC In Philly Day 2 – Jill Stein Talks To Bernie or Bust

Camden NJ and the Democratic Convention

My Lunatic Fringe Moment On InfoWars

Thousands March In Philadelphia for Climate, Clean Energy And Bernie Sanders

Clinton’s VP Pick Is A Climate Disaster

Christie DEP Will Hold Public Hearings On Water Permits For Controversial Pinelands Pipeline and Compressor Station

Christie DEP Denies Public Records Request For Emails On Highlands Act Science and Legislative History

Ah, Pastoral! – A Pipeline Runs Through It

Trump – Pence Logo

This Is What Commercialization of State Parks Looks Like

Oversight Of Toxic Site Cleanup Is Not A Local Government Responsibility

(In Search Of) Civilization

A Brief Note To Those Who Report On The Weather

Trump’s NJ Partner

Turtle Law A Perfect Example of Everything That’s Wrong With NJ’s Conservation Community & Press Corps

Star Ledger Editorial Repeats Call on Senate President Sweeney and Legislature to Veto Christie DEP’s Highlands Septic and Stream Buffer Rule Rollbacks

Christie DEP Report Outlines Devastating Impacts Of Climate Change On NJ Coast

NJ At A Crossroads: Garden State or Pipeline State?

The Real Significance of “The Chairman”

The Invisible People of Plumsted, NJ

Dog Days

NJ Highlands Defenders Blast Christie DEP Proposal To Rollback Clean Water Rules

Public Meeting On Christie DEP Highlands Septic Density Rollback Tonight

We Who Believe In Freedom Can Not Rest Until It Comes

“Extremely Dry” Drought Conditions Contradict “Normal” Drought Status – Scientists Warn “Trouble Ahead”

Citizen’s Guide To Using The Clean Water Act To Kill Pipelines

Trumpet Vine

“Heavy Hitter” My Ass

The Section 401 Water Quality Certificate Ice Is Broken

Plumsted Pastor Joins Developer In Seeking To Silence An “Outside Agitator”

Dear Pipeline People: The Christie DEP Is Not Your Friend

Plumsted Land Use Board Approves Massive Crosswicks Creek Development

State Ethics Commission Asks DEP To Conduct Ethics Review Of Corporate Drinking Water Quality Institute Appointee

EPA Did Nothing To Mitigate Risks Of Dupont-Chemours Spinoff Bankruptcy

Sentiments That Flow From Soils, Streams, and Rivers

Major Plumsted Sprawl Development Hearing On Tuesday July 5

FERC’d Again

State Ethics Commission Asked To Review Appointment of Chemical Industry Rep To Drinking Water Panel and Limit His Role

NJ Drinking Water Panel Welcomes New Chemical Industry Member

August

California Groundwater Fracking Story Sheds Light On Similar NJ Loopholes and Abuses

The Origin and Demise of New Jersey’s Open Market Emissions Trading Program

National Park System History “Not a Bed of Roses” – A “Bitter Struggle” Against “Private Exploitation At The Hands Of The Selfish Few”

Protesters Denounce Christie’s “Apartheid” School Funding Plan

Hundreds of Pipeline Opponents Force DEP To Cancel Public Hearing On Controversial Compressor Station Wetlands Permit and Clean Water Act Certificate

Climate Science Trumps Political Science

The Weight of the Flag

Ford Ringwood Superfund Debate on Chemical 1,4, Dioxane Illustrates Flaws In Drinking Water Standards

Beach Access Debate Is A Diversion From Climate Change and Real Ocean and Coastal Issues

Advice for PennEast and All NJ Pipeline Opponents On Upcoming DEP Permit Hearings

Hillary Clinton’s White House Transition Chief Cut Dirty Deal on Delaware Watergap Powerline

Anti-Pipeline Activists Target Christie DEP’s Clean Water Act Powers

Extreme Heat Wave Causes Blackout – Not of the Electric Grid, the News Grid

EPA Science Advisory Board Criticizes EPA Fracking Finding On “No Widespread Impacts”

Field Commander Renna Opens Space

Fundraiser

DEP’s Own Scientific Report Finds Data DEP Relied On For Highlands Septic Rollback Is Riddled With Errors

Why Christie DEP Commissioner Martin Shut Down The Drinking Water Quality Institute

Senators Booker and Sweeney Team Up To Promote More Nuke Subsidies

USGS Study Finds NJ Highly Vulnerable To Lead In Drinking Water Due To Corrosive Water

View From the Crotch

Christie DEP Approves Another Fossil Fueled Power Plant

September

From Defunding State Parks To A Partnership With Donald Trump – They Know No Shame

Christie DEP Finds That Pipelines Crossing Streams Have “No Impact” On Them

The Chromium Pipe Treatment

Christie DEP Continues To Commercialize and Ruin State Parks

Whitman’s 9/11 Lies Were Not The First Time She Lied About Significant Public Health Risks Of Exposure To Toxic Chemicals

Beauty

E.P.I.C.

NJ Senate Takes First Step In Addressing Christie DEP Neglect of Drinking Water Protections

Think Before You Litigate – Public Access Lawsuit Blunder Now Apparent

Developing A Strategy To Move A Climate And Green Jobs Agenda

Labor Day Thoughts

Christie DEP Abusing OPRA to Cover Up Privatization Of Planning, Financing, and Management Of Public Lands

Pompton Lakes Drinking Water Contaminated With Same Toxic Chemical Recently Found At Ford Ringwood Superfund Site

Christie DEP Demands $1 Million Insurance Policy And A “Special Use” Permit Before Local Group Can Hike To See Sparta Mountain Logging Damage

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Stories and Photos From 2016 – Part 2 (of 4)

December 29th, 2016 No comments

As I noted in Part 1, we receive no Foundation, government, consulting, private environmental group funding, grants, or salary income. We accept no advertising revenue or reader fees. We work solo and rely on no “fundraising/development/promotional” or “public relations” staff flacks. We provide all this work for free.

If you’ve enjoyed or benefited from our work, please consider providing financial support – you can make a non-tax deductable contribution to our PayPal account. Or, shoot me an email and we can arrange something different: bill_wolfe@comcast.net

Hit links below to see stories, events, maps, charts, and pictures:

April

Support The Weedman –

Sparta Mountain – Take A Walk On The Wild Side

The Transco Compressor Station and Gas Pipeline Dewatering Permit Is Not In the Public Interest

Residents and Officials Demand That Christie DEP Deny Permits To Kill Controversial Pipeline

Dear Mayor Fulop

NJ DEP Has Know For YEARS that Up to 18% of NJ Homes Have High Lead Levels

Christie DEP Proposes To Weaken Key Highlands Water Quality Protections To Promote More Growth

Christie DEP and Highlands Council To Present Septic Density Rollbacks Tomorrow

Gov. Christie & Bob Martin Celebrate Earth Day

A Heartfelt Note To My New York Friends – Vote For Bernie!

Bernie Makes Brilliant Buy

Look At Who’s Watching

Mission Accomplished In The Pequannock Watershed?

Pinelands Forest Stewardship

Conducting Forensic Autopsies On the Canaries, While the Miners Are Poisoned

Christie DEP To Roll Out Rollbacks of Core Highlands Act Water Protections

Hardyston Township Officials Slam Christie DEP Sparta Mountain Logging Plan

A Last Ditch Effort To Avoid Disaster On Christie Flood Hazard Rules

Gov. Christie Evokes “I Worked the Cones” In A Stunt To Obscure Vulnerability On Lead and Drinking Water

New Jersey’s Notorious Lead Legacy

No Daylight Between Christie DEP and The Loggers In Sparta Mountain Battle

Bulls Island Remains Closed For The Sixth Year

NJ Audubon Is Today’s “April Fool” For Spinning Their Sparta Mountain Logging Plan

May

Christie DEP Holds Public Hearing On Highlands Clean Water Rollback

Public Comment Period Closes Today On Transco Compressor Station “Dewatering” Permit for Southern Reliability Link Pipeline

Strategic Advice To NJ Pipeline Foes: Build A Public Campaign To Pressure DEP To Deny Clean Water Act 401 Approval

Climate Deer In The Headlights

Christie DEP Commissioner Bob Martin Misleads Legislature On Pipelines – With a Little Help From His Friends

Take a Look At Christie DEP “Lowest Priority” Streams For Updating Flood Maps

Christie DEP’s “Concurrent Proposal” to “Fix” Flood Hazard Rules to Avoid Legislative Veto Is A Sham

EPA Asked To Conduct Enforcement Review of BL England Plant and Christie DEP Permit Renewal

Christie DEP Adopts Flood Hazard Rule Despite Pending Legislative Veto

Sponsors of Highlands Act Urged to Veto Christie DEP Proposed Rollback of Groundwater Protection As “Inconsistent with Legislative Intent”

USGS Study Christie DEP Relied On To Rollback Highlands Protections Is Challenged Under Federal Data Quality Act

“The Whole World Is In Non-Attainment for Greenhouse Gases”

Time To Pull The Plug on the BL England Power Plant

Dear Chairman Gusciora

The Renewable Energy “Ventilator Death” Legislator Lied About Tennessee Gas Pipeline

Christie DEP Has New Role: Consultant To Polluters

NJ Legislator Deploys A “Death Panel” Scare Tactic In Climate Denying Attack on Solar and Wind Power

The Fine Art of Pipeline Kabuki On Display Today in Trenton

NJ Legislators Must Strengthen Proposed Pipeline Resolution

Bordentown Files Clean Water Act Based Challenge of FERC Transco Pipeline Approval

Continuing Misplaced Focus Diverts Pipeline Foes

Sanders NJ Rallies Provide A Great Opportunity To Contrast Clinton Climate Policy And Shine a National Media Light On Christie Pipelines and Power Plants

Pipelines and Private Property Rights

DEP Scientists Document Ecological Health of Headwater Streams At Same Time Christie Hacks Rollback Their Protections

June

Tell Senate President Sweeney – No Deals On Clean Water

Pipeline Activists Declare Energy Independence In Celebration of the 4th – Urge Sweeney To Block The Pinelands Pipeline

Some Advice for the Open Space Crowd

Does Back Room Open Space “Deal” Provide Cover for Democrats To Abandon Veto of DEP Flood Hazard Rules?

Casino Gambling Partners With Farmland Preservation

Highlands Documentary Exposes Folly Of Christie DEP Logging Scheme

Hey You!

We Call on NJ Audubon To Repudiate Trump Money and Sever Partnership

Is Senate President Sweeney Playing Politics With Clean Water?

Massive Sprawl Development Follows Christie DEP Approval of New Sewer Plant

Connecting the Dots Between Pipelines and Clean Water

Bordentown Bluffs – A Wonderful Walk

Legislature Will Veto Gov. Christie’s DEP Flood Hazard Rules

While PennEast Pipeline Foes Focus on FERC, Pennsylvania DEP Quietly Issues Water Quality Certificate

DEP Has No Legislative Authority To Establish A Riparian Mitigation Bank And Trading Scheme

FERC Struggling With Chesterfield – Bordentown Clean Water Act Challenge To “Southern Reliability Link” Pinelands Pipeline

Christie DEP Casually Notes That DEP Has Known About The Lead In Drinking Water Problem “For a Generation Or So”

Why Is NJ Media Keeping NY Gov. Cuomo’s Pipeline Kill A Secret?

Senate Will Decide Fate Of Christie Flood Hazard Rule Rollback

Sparta Mountain Logging Debate Pits Ecologists Against Commercial Logging and Hunting Interests

Response to NJ Farm Bureau Lies On Highlands Water Quality Rollback

Standing Room Only To Protect The Highlands At DEP Hearing On Water Quality Rollback

(next: July – September)

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Stories and Photos From 2016 – Part 1 (of 4)

December 29th, 2016 No comments

Overall, 2016 was a disaster – our greatest policy disappointments were the continued denial of climate change in Trenton and at the Pinelands Commission and the failure by the Legislature to follow through with the veto of the Christie DEP Flood Hazard rules, a dirty deal engineered by Senate President Sweeney  –  but we had fun anyway.

Here’s some stories we wrote – while many were ignored by the mainstream press, we know we had an impact.

We create content, offer expert analysis, and provide science and law based strategic and technical assistance to community and environmental groups that is unique in NJ. We testify before the legislature and hold accountable regulatory and planning agencies like the DEP, EPA, USGS, Pinelands & Highlands, DRBC, and BPU. We challenge regulations and permits. We support whistleblowers. We name names and don’t pull punches. We even criticize our environmental “colleagues” and media and the corporatized Foundations that fund and manipulate them.

This work involves countless hours in the field and reading and writing. It is a labor of love, but I do have to eat.

We receive no Foundation, government, consulting, private environmental group funding, grants, or salary income. We accept no advertising revenue or reader fees. We work solo and rely on no “fundraising/development/promotional” or “public relations” staff flacks. We provide all this work for free.

If you’ve enjoyed or benefited from our work, please consider providing financial support – we thank our generous friends who have helped keep us going – you can make a non-tax deductable contribution to our PayPal account. Or, shoot me an email and we can arrange something different: bill_wolfe@comcast.net

Hit links below to see stories, events, maps, charts, and pictures:

January

More Dual Sexed Fish Documented In NJ Rivers (look at THAT map!)

Gov. Christie Cans Pinelands Commission Chairman

Huge Turnout of Pinelands Pipeline Opponents In Bordentown Last Night

The Elysian (Fracked) Fields of Princeton – Montgomery

Sparta Mountain Is Public Land, Purchased with Green Acres Funds

Meet Your New Pinelands Commissioner

Christie Energy Plan Attracts Another Huge Fossil Fracked Fueled Power Plant

Environmental Damage Of DEP Sparta Mountain Logging Plan Largely Unregulated

Gov. Christie Uses The Environment To Bash Public Workers

Legislature Invokes Constitutional Power, Moves To Veto Christie DEP Flood Hazard Rules

Port Authority Dirty Diesel Rollback Must Have Had Green Light From Christie DEP

DEP’s Sparta Mountain Logging Scheme Conflicts With Golden Wing Warbler Recovery Plan It Allegedly Is Based On

Senate “Emergency” Session Moves Bill To Respond to Court Decision Striking Down DEP Public Access Rules

Christie DEP Proposes Vast Expansion of Logging On Sparta Mountain (Part One)

February 

USGS Study Documents High Levels of Prescription Drugs In Streams – Source is Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plants

“People Over Pipelines”

Christie DEP Managing NJ State Parks, Public Lands & Forests As Cash Cows

Is The Legislature Serious About Responding to Problems Highlighted In Flint Michigan?

High Point State Park (photos)

Take A Look At DEP & Audubon “Forest Stewardship” On Sparta Mountain (photos)

NJ Highlands Coalition Joins Public Debate On DEP Sparta Mountain Logging Plan

Calling Bullshit On NJ Audubon’s “Forest Stewardship”

Sparta Mountain Update – A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Audit

NJ Pioneers Another Toxic Superfund Reform

Deadline Passed For Christie DEP To Respond To Legislative Veto of Flood Rules

Anarchy In The Pines (incredible photos!)

The Legislature’s Time Is Better Spent Conducting Oversight Than Passing Environmental Bills For Christie’s Veto Pen

“Amusing Ourselves To Death”

An Artful Dodge On Lessons of Flint For New Jersey

Expanded Logging On Sparta Mountain Could Contribute To Widespread Ecological Harm

The “Crime” At Fenimore Landfill Was Lax Oversight by Christie DEP

Essential Reading For NJ Shore Dwellers – Back Bays & Barrier Islands

Maps, Lies, and the DEP Webpage

A Key Lesson of the Victory That Forced Cancellation of the Amwell Power Plant In Hillsborough

Christie DEP Clean Water Act Report Shows That 99% of NJ Watersheds Fail to Meet Fishable and Swimmable Standards

March

Christie DEP Highlands Logging Plans Would Reduce The Forest’s Carbon Storage Capacity and Worsen Climate Change

The DEP Sparta Mountain “Stewardship” Plan Contradicts Governor Christie’s Veto of “Forest Stewarship” Legislation

Sponsors of the Highlands Act Asked To Block The Christie DEP Logging Plan for Sparta Mountain & Highlands Forests

Christie DEP Budget Flouts EPA Oversight – May Jeopardize Federal Funding

A Road Toward Redemption for The Pinelands Commission

No Solitude (photos)

This is not a flood – it’s a high tide

Historic Bordentown Home Facing Sheriff’s Sale

Green Mafia Strikes Again – Chapters 27 & 28

NJ Audubon Supported Preservation of Highlands Forests, Not Logging – What Explains The U-Turn?

Warning: Climate Bomb Train Ahead

Star Ledger Editorial Board Joins Kabuki Dance on Christie DEP Clean Water Rule Rollback

Christie BPU Commissioners Literally Run and Hide From Protesters of Pinelands Pipeline

Newark Lead Story Hitting the Cover-up Phase

Christie BPU Slated To Approve Another Pinelands Pipeline Tomorrow

Inside Christie DEP Commissioner Bob Martin’s Management Bubble of True Believers (or Cynical Bastards)

The Newark Lead Scandal Is The Tip of the Iceberg and A Predictable Outcome of Christie Policy

Why Is The Bergen Record Misleading Readers and Protecting Dupont?

Pinelands Commission Moves To Restore Credibility – Signals Intent To Regulate Motorized Vehicle Destruction

Lack of NY State Water Quality Permit Blocks Constitution Pipeline

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Buy ‘Em

Make Polluters Pay For Lead Abatement

Newark Garbage Incinerator Emissions: “A Billion Lead Bullets to the Brains of Newark’s Kids”

Senate Committee Blinks In Showdown On Veto of Christie DEP Clean Water Rule Rollbacks

NJ Audubon Is Misrepresenting Facts, Science and Regulations In Defending Their Sparta Mountain Logging Plan

Assembly Moves To Veto Christie DEP’s Clean Water & Flood Rule Rollbacks

Billionaire’s Elite Hunting Club Gave NJ Audubon $140,000 To Develop Sparta Mountain Logging Plan

NJ Audubon Partners With Donald Trump

(coming soon – Part 2 – April – June)

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Another Fossil Energy Industry “Reliability” Lie Exposed

December 28th, 2016 No comments

NJ Exports of Power to NY Are A Massive Ripoff

Opponents of PSEG Susquehanna- Roseland Powerline Proven Correct

Very similar energy industry lies being used to justify gas pipelines

view from Blairstown Rd - looking west

view from Blairstown Rd – looking west (9/3/13)

[Update below]

Today we have some news from New York, which we use to focus on the NJ side of the story and the larger energy infrastructure and climate policy implications.

David Giambusso, reporter for POLITICO New York, just wrote an important killer story that exposes lies by PSEG used to justify billion dollar investments in unnecessary boondoggle fossil energy infrastructure,  see:

A regional fight between utilities could end up costing the New York Power Authority dearly if a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission doesn’t go its way.

At the center of the fight is the Hudson Transmission Partners (HTP) line between New Jersey and New York City — so far an underperforming investment by New York State that now could be saddled with hundreds of millions in additional costs.

The 660-megawatt transmission line has underperformed since it opened in 2013. NYPA is the leaseholder for the line and has to pay for 75 percent of its capacity whether it delivers electricity or not. So far, the line has delivered far less than needed to make it profitable. In June, POLITICO reported that NYPA could shell out $500 million by 2020 for the line.

Use of the word “underperformed” is an understatement – the HTP powerline is virtually useless. In a prior story, Giambusso reported:

Last May, POLITICO New York reported the line did not deliver electricity 73.6 percent of the time between April 2014 and April 2015. For roughly 24 percent of the time, it delivered less than 99 megawatts. (see: Underperforming NJ-NY transmission line becomes money pit for state authority

The HTP boondoggle exposes the big lie about “reliability” that the fossil energy industry repeatedly uses to justify needless fossil infrastructure projects to boost their profits.

The HTP line was a component of the controversial Susquehanna – Roseland Powerline (SRP) through the Delaware Watergap and NJ Highlands.

Stop the Lines was a local group that opposed the SRP project. They explain the link between the Susquehanna Roseland line and the Hudson line: (read the STL BPU motion to dismiss)citations omitted @ page 12)

In the FERC rate recovery tariff for this project and three others , the Susquehanna-Roseland line is committed to serve points east. This purpose and commitment is evidenced by firm transmission withdrawal rights established for Neptune Regional Transmission System (Neptune) at 685MW and East Coast Power (ECP) at 330MW, totaling 1,015MW of firm transmission withdrawal rights. The PJM tariff assigned cost responsibility for the Susquehanna-Roseland to Neptune and ECP, based on these firm transmission withdrawal rights. This 1,015MW is soon to be joined by Hudson Transmission Partners at 670MW. Exhibit STL-12, p. 8 (firm transmission withdrawal rights allocated and Susquehanna-Roseland cost allocation regarding those firm transmission withdrawal rights); Ex. S-96, Hudson Transmission Partners firm transmission withdrawal rights of 670MW presumed in staff base case). The firm withdrawal rights from the Roseland substation already in the tariff at 1,015MW plus that of the Hudson Transmission Partners (HTP), 670MW, which will be added as soon as the interconnection agreement is signed, totals 1,670MW or more committed.

The SRP opponents  “Stop The Lines” warned that the project was not needed, that PSEG “reliability” claims were lies, and that the real motivations were driven by private profit and expanding markets for coal based power:

Q. Please describe the purpose of your testimony.

A. I have been asked by the Municipal Interveners to challenge the New Jersey segment of the Susquehanna to Roseland 500 kV line (the “Project”). The purpose of my testimony is threefold. First, I believe that the Public Service Electric & Gas Company’s (PSEG) justification for the Project is unsound, and that the Project is not needed due to reductions in electricity demand and diminished economic growth. Second, I will demonstrate that, even if there is a proposed need for electricity, energy efficiency and demand side management, along with the deployment of distributed generation, offer much better alternatives than the Susquehanna-Roseland project. Third, I will describe how the Project appears to violate reasonable standards for electricity reliability, and that it conflicts with New Jersey’s stated energy policy due to the substantial environmental and social costs of the project. (read the energy expert testimony to BPU)

The link to expansion of coal power was made clear in a petition to BPU:

The “PJM Eastern Interface along the Delaware River, separating Pennsylvania and New Jersey” has been described as a “constraint,” and an “impediment to west/east trade,” one of three “certain physical constraints on the transmission system that have limited further flows of coal based generation to markets in the east.”

The Susquehanna-Roseland transmission project, at the northeasterly part of Project Mountaineer Line 1, would traverse that constraint, the “PJM Eastern Interface along the Delaware River, separating Pennsylvania and New Jersey” and address that impediment of coalbased generation to markets in the east. (read the STL BPU motion to dismiss)

Can you even imagine the kind of warped power engineering mentality that views the lovely Wild & Scenic Delaware River as a “constraint” to expansion of coal based markets? That allows those views to dominate energy policy?

In another major “I told you so!”, Stop the Lines even criticized and predicted the current battle over cost allocation:

… cost allocation schemes shifting costs away from economic benefactors so egregious that the court has rejected the cost allocation scheme for the Susquehanna-Roseland project. Foisting this project on landowners and ratepayers of New Jersey would be against the public interest and against the charge of the Board of Public Utilities. (@page 10)

The HTP fiasco should inform the current debates over the need for gas pipeline capacity, which are based on similar lies. (think “resilience“)

[End note: In a 2008 post about legislative hearings on proposed PSEG NJ exports to NY, we questioned how new energy infrastructure for NJ was needed when NJ exported large amounts of power to NY City.

We highlighted contradictions and concluded:

During the recent RGGI debate, energy lobbyists suggested that NJ power demand far outstripped instate energy supply, causing imports of dirty mid-west coal power. How can they now claim that EXPORT of NJ generated power to New York City will have no impact on system reliability or air quality? …

According to PJM, the following NJ power exports are planned or underway:

1,200 MW (Bergen, proposed)
300 MW (Linden under construction)
200 MW (Linden, proposed)
660 MW (Neptune to Long Island, existing)

The testimony of PJM representatives should be required reading – a primer on the economic and regulatory policy barriers to reducing coal based global warming emissions and market entry/access restrictions to renewable power technologies. The PJM primary goal is system reliability – with reliability viewed very narrowly as limited to increases in power production and distribution. As a result, economic regulatory policies provide incentives for more traditional power production that undermine energy conservation and renewable power.For example, no one mentioned the concept of a “carbon adder” to make dirty coal power prices reflect their true staggering environmental costs. The Committee took no testimony from environmental experts or those concerned about global warming.

[Update: My friend Scott Olson, one of the leaders of the SR line opposition, just sent me bunch of new articles that show that I vastly understated the lies. OMG, the entire public justification for the project was a massive and systematic set of lies, see:

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