White House Task Force Uses Lessons from Sandy and Irene to Urge Changes in Federal Programs, Support for Resilience

Task Force Report CoverThe White House last week released a long-awaited report from the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, the result of a yearlong effort to distill the collective experience of state, local and tribal governments dealing with extreme weather events into recommendations to enhance the help available from federal agencies.  Continue reading

Election 2014 Ballot Initiatives: Northeastern Voters Approve Measures on Open Space, Water Quality and Mass Transit

Voters in four northeastern states considered ballot initiatives on Election Day related to enhancing water quality, preserving open space, expanding the bottle bill and improving mass transit. Here is how they fared:
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New York State’s Bold New Plan to Restructure Its Electricity System

Electricity is rediscovering its roots by virtue of the advantages that twenty-first century technologies offer. In the transportation sector, cleaner more fuel-efficient electric vehicles recall the early years of the automobile industry, when nearly one-third of cars manufactured in the U.S. had electric motors. And today’s electricity grid is revisiting the embryonic power system of the late eighteen- and early nineteen-hundreds, when electricity generated in small neighborhood plants powered gears and kept the lights on. Continue reading


As Connecticut Enacts Moratorium on Fracking Waste, other States in Region Consider Bills

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has signed into law a bill that creates a three-year moratorium on the disposal, storage, treatment or sale of waste produced from hydraulic fracturing, and instructs state environmental officials to devise a regulatory policy for handling … Continue reading


Obama’s Climate Action Plan Gives States Flexibility on Carbon-Cutting Measures

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday unveiled a proposal to sharply reduce carbon emissions from power plants, one that provides states with flexibility to devise their own approach to meeting the regulation. The standards would require an overall average … Continue reading

A Year and a Half and Counting: The Status of the Post-Sandy Recovery in the NY/NJ Region

More than eighteen months after Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of the Eastern United States, many of the worst-hit towns and neighborhoods are still waiting to return to a semblance of normal life. The protracted recovery process underscores the power of the storm, especially along coastal New York and New Jersey. But its slow pace also raises a question: Why is the implementation of post-Sandy rebuilding plans taking so long? Continue reading

Multimedia: One Year After Sandy: A Conversation with New Jersey Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski

Weber Ave SignDeputy Speaker John Wisniewski recently spoke with CSG/ERC Energy & Environment Program staff about the buyouts underway in his district for homeowners whose properties were destroyed by Sandy; and about the costs, and benefits, of relocation.

Currently, almost 200 homes in the coastal community of Sayreville, New Jersey are expected to be eligible for buyouts under the state’s Blue Acres Program. Among other issues, Deputy Speaker Wisniewski discusses questions surrounding how the community will be able to compensate for the loss of nearly $1 million in property tax revenue. There are also unanswered questions about who will maintain newly created open space where destroyed homes once stood.

“Long term, this has to be a topic that this legislature and other state legislatures engage in,” says Wisniewski. “Because if we fail to do this, we do so at our peril. If we fail to do this, we will be buying bigger bills that we won’t be able to pay in the future.”

Rona Cohen