Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Pallone Announces CLEAN Future Act, a Bold New Plan to Achieve a 100 Percent Clean Economy by 2050

January 8, 2020

The Plan Details Deep Decarbonization Strategies for Each Sector of the U.S. Economy within the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Jurisdiction and Novel Concepts for Achieving Nationwide Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Pollution

Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) today released the legislative framework of the draft Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act – an ambitious new climate plan to ensure the United States achieves net-zero greenhouse gas pollution no later than 2050. Pallone made the announcement with other Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which he chairs, and spoke about the plan at a press conference today on Capitol Hill. Video of his remarks are available here.

The CLEAN Future Act is a comprehensive proposal of sector-specific and economy-wide solutions to address the climate crisis. Critically, the CLEAN Future Act formally adopts the goal of achieving of a 100 percent clean economy by 2050. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, avoiding the most catastrophic outcomes of climate change requires cutting carbon pollution to net-zero by 2050. The draft bill incorporates both proven and novel concepts, presenting a set of policy proposals that will put the U.S. on the path to a clean and prosperous economy.

“Record wildfires, flooding, heat waves and drought have spelled out a dire reality: the climate crisis is here, and we can no longer afford to address this crisis along the margins. Today we are providing the kind of serious federal leadership this moment requires,” said Congressman Pallone. “This plan represents our commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas pollution. For the sake of the American people, the long-term sustainability of our economy, and public health, we must act boldly, and that is exactly what we intend to do.”

The framework is the result of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s ongoing work to seriously and meaningfully tackle the climate crisis. The Committee held 15 hearings addressing the climate crisis, including seven focused on how best to facilitate deep decarbonization of various sectors of our economy. Legislative text of the draft CLEAN Future Act will be released by the end of the month. Hearings and stakeholder meetings will continue throughout the year.

The Committee’s framework details the legislation’s proposals to date, which include taking ambitious new policies within the Committee’s jurisdiction, all aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas pollution to net-zero by 2050. The draft legislation includes the following key areas:

Power Sector: The CLEAN Future Act proposes a nationwide CES requiring all retail electricity suppliers to obtain 100 percent clean energy by 2050. The CES in the discussion draft text mandates that all retail electricity suppliers provide an increasing supply of clean energy to consumers starting in 2022, rising to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. The draft legislation stipulates that suppliers must possess a sufficient quantity of “clean energy credits” at the end of each year, or may otherwise make an “alternative compliance payment.” Suppliers may buy and trade clean energy credits from one another or purchase them via auction. The mandate is technology-neutral, allowing electricity suppliers ample flexibility and freedom of choice.

Building Sector: The draft legislation aims to improve the efficiency of new and existing buildings, as well as the equipment and appliances that operate within them. The Act establishes national energy savings targets for continued improvement of model building energy codes, leading to a requirement of zero-energy-ready buildings by 2030. This section further provides assistance for states and Tribes to support adoption of updated model building energy codes and support full compliance. The CLEAN Future Act also incorporates several additional measures to reduce building emissions.

Transportation Sector: The draft legislation reduces transportation emissions, the largest source of GHG emissions, by improving vehicle efficiency, accelerating the transition to low- to zero-carbon fuels and building the infrastructure needed for a clean transportation system. The bill directs EPA to set new, increasingly stringent greenhouse gas emission standards for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles, including non-road modes of transportation. It further requires year-over-year improvements to those standards – and that the level of the standards be set in accordance with the path to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Industrial Sector: The CLEAN Future Act establishes a Buy Clean Program that sets performance targets to steadily reduce emissions from construction materials and products used in projects that receive federal funding. With the vast majority of U.S. construction projects funded by government dollars, this proposal would transform these carbon-intensive industries by ensuring that these projects only use the cleanest construction materials. The program also strengthens the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector while reducing climate pollution by promoting the use of low-carbon materials and expanding the market for cleaner products.

National Climate Target for Federal Agencies: The CLEAN Future Act directs all federal agencies to use all existing authorities to put the country on a path toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It does not stipulate which energy sources or strategies qualify, instead taking a technology-inclusive approach to reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century. To ensure federal agencies’ collective efforts remain on track, the draft legislation directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate each agency’s plans, make recommendations and report on progress each year.

State Climate Plans: The CLEAN Future Act empowers the states to complete the transition to a net-zero economy, based on the existing federalism model in the Clean Air Act. The bill sets a national climate standard of net-zero greenhouse gas pollution in each state by 2050. States are then granted flexibility to develop plans to meet the 2050 and interim standards based on their policy preferences, priorities and circumstances. Each state must submit a climate plan to EPA, which then reviews and approves or disapproves each plan. States may work independently or cooperatively as they develop their plans to meet the national climate standard. To ensure that states have ample guidance and expertise at their disposal, the bill directs EPA to develop a set of model greenhouse gas control strategies, which states can choose to incorporate into their plans.

National Climate Bank: The CLEAN Future Act establishes a first-of-its-kind National Climate Bank to help states, cities, communities and companies in the transition to a clean economy. The Bank will mobilize public and private investments to provide financing for low- and zero-emissions energy technologies, climate resiliency, building efficiency and electrification, industrial decarbonization, grid modernization, agriculture projects, and clean transportation. The CLEAN Future Act requires that the Bank prioritize investments in communities that are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change, including frontline, rural, low-income and environmental justice communities.

Environmental Justice: The draft legislation requires that states’ individual climate plans, and state implementation plans for other hazardous air pollutants proactively consider the needs of frontline and environmental justice communities. The draft also includes grant programs to allow impacted communities to participate in the permitting and regulation of petrochemical facilities in their neighborhoods. It further protects these groups by implementing strong new coal ash disposal requirements and repealing oil and gas production exemptions from landmark environmental laws.

The CLEAN Future Act also features a suite of complementary policies, including proposals to remove barriers to clean energy, reduce super pollutants like methane, and investments in grid modernization and energy efficiency programs.

The Energy and Commerce Committee is requesting feedback and recommendations from all stakeholders as it continues to expand and refine the CLEAN Future Act. To that end, hearings and stakeholder meetings will continue throughout the coming year. Potential 2020 hearing topics include adaptation and climate resilience, workforce and community transition, recycling and waste management, and international cooperation. Feedback can be submitted to

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Trump ImpeachMints Mints

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5 Funny Cartoons About Trump and The New Year

NJ Replaces Funds Planned Parenthood Lost over Federal Abortion Edict

From NJSpotlight

Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday signed a law that, for now at least, inoculates women’s health clinics run by Planned Parenthood and other agencies against the loss of nearly $10 million under an anti-abortion edict issued by the Trump administration.

Last August, Planned Parenthood, which runs 22 clinics in New Jersey, opted to forgo millions in federal funding over the administration’s so-called gag rule, which forbids agencies that take money under the Title X program from advising clients about abortion.

The bill — approved by the Democratic majorities in both houses in late 2019, over the objection of anti-abortion advocates — allocates state money to restore the $9.5 million that had been forfeited.

Continue Reading

$11 An Hour

New Jersey's minimum wage is on the rise!  The minimum wage increased from $10.00 an hour to $11.00, benefiting approximately 460,000 workers and their families on January 1. Of those who received an increase in take home pay, a majority are adults, women, and workers of color. According to an analysis by NJPP Research Director Nicole Rodriguez, the wage increase will add $480 million to the state's economy as minimum wage workers have more money to spend in their communities.

Read more about it at New Jersey Policy Perspective

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Pallone’s Anti-Robocalls Bill Signed into Law

December 31, 2019

Long Branch, NJ – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.’s (NJ-06) bipartisan legislation to stop bad robocalls was signed into law by President Trump. The Pallone-Thune TRACED ACT was announced as part of a bipartisan, bicameral agreement by the House and Senate last month. This month, the House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 417-3. It later passed the Senate by voice vote.

This year, New Jerseyans have received an estimated 200 million robocalls in the 732 area code alone and over a billion statewide. In November, a whopping 5.6 billion robocalls were made nationwide, according to Robokiller.

“I’m delighted the President signed this overwhelmingly bipartisan bill into law. It will bring much-needed relief to New Jerseyans who have put up with these relentless and illegal calls for far too long,” Congressman Pallone said. “This legislation will put Americans back in control of their phones. These calls are not just annoying – they also are scams targeted at consumers. I thank my colleagues in Congress who helped get this important legislation signed into law.”

The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act:

  • Requires carriers to offer call-authentication technology to everyone at no additional charge;
  • Requires opt-in or opt-out robocall blocking be offered at no additional charge to consumers;
  • Gives the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the ability to step up enforcement actions against unlawful robocalls with a longer statute of limitations and increased fines in certain cases;
  • Pushes the Department of Justice to bring more criminal prosecutions against criminal robocallers;
  • Requires the FCC to work to stop one-ring scams;
  • Helps the FCC and responsible carriers traceback and cutoff suspect phone companies that are responsible for sending vast numbers of unlawful robocalls; and
  • Protects patients, doctors and hospitals from unlawful robocalls.

Pallone spoke on the House Floor this month in favor of the legislation. Video of his remarks are available below.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Santa Reads, "T'was the Night Before Christmas"

T'was the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Ho Ho Ho ... Santa's On His way!

He'll be here before you know it. You can follow his movements all around the world with two great Santa Trackers from NORAD and Google.

They're both sites are interactive and fun to follow along with. The Google Santa Tracker is extremely kid friendly.

Friday, December 20, 2019

December 16, 2019 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

This past Monday night's meeting of the Middletown Township Committee was short filled with a bit of fluff. After closing out Township business for the year, members of the Committee that were present highlighted the activities they attended in the past month.

As always you can download a copy of the Meeting Agenda that contains the discussion items and the proposed resolutions and ordinances that were voted on or presented during the meeting. A box around an item is a link, bringing you further into the document to that resolution or ordinance. At the end of the resolution there will be a link bringing you back to the agenda. Attached to this agenda is also the monthly bill list, so that everyone can see how the Township is spending our tax dollars.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Pallone Opposes New Trade Deal that Hurts American Workers

December 19, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) issued the following statement on the NAFTA 2.0 trade deal:

“I voted against the original NAFTA because it was a bad deal for American workers. There has been a steep decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs over the past 25 years as a result of NAFTA’s lax enforcement rules that encouraged corporations to outsource jobs to Mexico. Unfortunately, NAFTA 2.0 does little to improve upon this corporate giveaway that fails to prioritize workers.

“While my House Democratic colleagues worked hard to fix the fatally flawed trade deal the Trump Administration sent to the House in 2018, the final version does not adequately strengthen Mexican labor standards or help repatriate American jobs lost as a result of the original deal. The agreement does not create a binding enforcement system that curbs environmental violations or remove a liability shield for tech companies similar to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. I cannot support another bad deal for American workers, and I will continue to stand with many of my labor, environmental, and consumer protection partners in opposing NAFTA 2.0.”

Pallone Statement on Rep. Van Drew

Below is a statement attributable to Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr:

"Congressman Van Drew is joining a Republican Party led by President Trump that kowtows to special interests, gives the wealthy big tax breaks, and denies climate change. It’s unfortunate he has chosen to climb a career ladder that’s doomed to collapse instead of working with Democrats to pass legislation to lower health care costs, combat the climate crisis, and stand up for all Americans. In 2020, we will be working hard to elect a Democrat in NJ-2."

Additional background:

Van Drew staffers who quit to protest his switch to GOP have new jobs with N.J. Democrat

"Pauline said Monday that he would be requesting a refund from Van Drew’s campaign..."

Pallone Statement on Impeachment of Donald Trump

December 18, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) issued the following statement on the impeachment of President Donald Trump in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“My colleagues on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees presented a clear case to the American people that was supported by evidence and facts. It’s clear that the President used his immense power for personal gain and then obstructed a lawful Congressional investigation into his wrongdoings. The President’s actions put our democracy and national security at risk. Congress is endowed with the responsibility to act when the President has committed high crimes and misdemeanors. I support these articles of impeachment because I took a solemn oath to defend the Constitution. No one – not even the President of the United States - is above the law. I call on Leader McConnell to take every possible step to ensure an impartial, non-partisan hearing in the Senate.”

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas Tunes From The Killers

Over the years The Killers have released a number of surreal and at times bizarre Christmas themed songs, here are several for your enjoyment. Hopefully they don't turn your holiday cheer into holiday jeer.