Archive for environmental friendly

Oil slips below $100 on dollar gains

NEW YORK – Oil futures extended their slide Tuesday, dipping below $100 at times as the dollar gained ground, making commodities such as energy futures less attractive to investors seeking a hedge against inflation.

Retail gas prices, meanwhile, slipped slightly from the record they set one day earlier.

Investors who previously bought commodities such as oil as a haven against inflation and a falling dollar were selling Tuesday as the greenback strengthened against the euro and other currencies. The stronger dollar also made oil more expensive to overseas investors.

Many analysts believe oil investors have taken most of their price cues in recent months from gyrations in the dollar.

“The dollar’s stronger, and (therefore) oil’s weaker,” said Brad Samples, an analyst with Summit Energy Services Inc., in Louisville, Ky.

Light, sweet crude for May delivery fell $1.73 to $99.85 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil futures fell $4.04 a barrel on Monday.

While the dollar was driving oil prices on Tuesday, Samples and other analysts believe the market is also beginning to focus more closely than it has in months on fundamentals such as rising supplies and falling demand. The second quarter of the year, which began Tuesday, is typically the weakest for petroleum demand. The country’s appetite for oil and gasoline have fallen sharply since January, and oil supplies have mostly risen in recent weeks.

“Weak demand in the U.S. is one of the primary reasons that the fundamentals may be on the verge of taking center stage as the primary driver of prices,” said Addison Armstrong, director of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Conn., in a research note.

Economic data also weighed on oil prices Tuesday. The Institute for Supply Management reported that manufacturing continued to weaken in February, and the Commerce Department said overall construction activity fell last month for the 24th straight month.

Many analysts have long argued that dollar-induced buying has driven oil prices far beyond levels that can be justified by supply and demand or economic conditions. However, few are willing to call an end to crude’s bull run, noting that prices have dipped below $100 several times in recent months, only to rebound and surge higher.

Soaring crude prices have sent fuel prices higher, despite falling demand. At the pump, the national average price of a gallon of gas slipped 0.1 cent Tuesday to $3.286 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. While that’s a slight retreat from Monday’s record, gas prices remain 60 cents higher than a year ago, and are expected to rise as high as $3.50 or $4 a gallon this spring as suppliers stock up in advance of peak summer driving season.

Other energy futures also fell Tuesday. In other Nymex trading, May heating oil futures fell 4.37 cents to $2.8624 a gallon while May gasoline futures fell 2.01 cents to $2.607 a gallon. May natural gas futures fell 20.9 cents to $9.892 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, May Brent crude rose $1.09 to $99.21 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

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NY, NJ Trees Treated for Killer Beetles

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Nearly 80,000 trees in New Jersey and New York are being treated to protect them from a deadly beetle infestation. The Asian longhorned beetle has destroyed more than 30,000 trees since it arrived in the country about a decade ago.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said treatments began last week around New York City. They’ll start April 21 on Staten Island and in New Jersey’s Middlesex and Union Counties, where the beetles were discovered in 2002.

If unchecked, the invasive species could threaten the nation’s lumber, maple syrup and tourism industries, according to the Agriculture Department.

The Asian longhorned beetle first appeared in New York City in 1996, after apparently hitching a ride from China in the wood of shipping crates. Subsequent infestations in New Jersey were discovered in 2002 and 2004.

Agriculture Department spokeswoman Suzanne Bond said the agency has been treating trees since 2001 to eradicate the beetle from the continent.

The beetles measure about one to one-and-a-half inches long and have a shiny black exterior with white spots. They attack hardwood trees like maple, willow, ash, poplar and elm, usually in the early summer when the female makes an indentation in the bark and plants eggs.

To kill off the beetles, workers inject tree trunks and soil during the spring with an insecticide called imidacloprid, which is also used to kill lawn grubs and pet fleas. The chemical makes its way into the leaves during the summer, which are eaten by newborn beetles emerging from the bark.

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Overview of the Federal UST Program

What’s an Underground Storage Tank?
An underground storage tank system (UST) is a tank and any underground piping connected to the tank that has at least 10 percent of its combined volume underground. The federal UST regulations apply only to underground tanks and piping storing either petroleum or certain hazardous substances.

When the UST program began, there were approximately 2.1 million regulated tanks in the U.S. Today there are far fewer since many substandard UST systems have been closed. For the most current statistics available, see the Corrective Action Measures archive. Nearly all USTs at these sites contain petroleum. These sites include marketers who sell gasoline to the public (such as service stations and convenience stores) and nonmarketers who use tanks solely for their own needs (such as fleet service operators and local governments). EPA estimates about 25,000 tanks hold hazardous substances covered by the UST regulations.

Why be concerned about USTs?
Until the mid-1980s, most USTs were made of bare steel, which is likely to corrode over time and allow UST contents to leak into the environment. Faulty installation or inadequate operating and maintenance procedures also can cause USTs to release their contents into the environment.

The greatest potential hazard from a leaking UST is that the petroleum or other hazardous substance can seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans. A leaking UST can present other health and environmental risks, including the potential for fire and explosion.

How have Congress and EPA responded to concerns about USTs?
In 1984, Congress responded to the increasing threat to groundwater posed by leaking USTs by adding Subtitle I to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Subtitle I required EPA to develop a comprehensive regulatory program for USTs storing petroleum or certain hazardous substances.

Congress directed EPA to publish regulations that would require owners and operators of new tanks and tanks already in the ground to prevent, detect, and clean up releases. At the same time, Congress banned the installation of unprotected steel tanks and piping beginning in 1985.

In 1986, Congress amended Subtitle I of RCRA and created the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund, which is to be used for two purposes:

To oversee cleanups by responsible parties.
To pay for cleanups at sites where the owner or operator is unknown, unwilling, or unable to respond, or which require emergency action.
The 1986 amendments also established financial responsibility requirements. Congress directed EPA to publish regulations that would require UST owners and operators to demonstrate they are financially capable of cleaning up releases and compensating third parties for resulting damages.

Do all tanks have to meet federal EPA regulations?
The following USTs do not need to meet federal requirements for USTs:

Farm and residential tanks of 1,100 gallons or less capacity holding motor fuel used for noncommercial purposes; 
Tanks storing heating oil used on the premises where it is stored; 
Tanks on or above the floor of underground areas, such as basements or tunnels; 
Septic tanks and systems for collecting storm water and wastewater; 
Flow-through process tanks; 
Tanks of 110 gallons or less capacity; and 
Emergency spill and overfill tanks. 
Some state/local regulatory authorities, however, may include these tank types–be sure you check with these authorities.

What are the federal requirements for USTs?
In 1988, EPA issued UST regulations divided into three sections: technical requirements, financial responsibility requirements, and state program approval objectives (as described below).

Technical requirements for USTs
EPA’s technical regulations for USTs are designed to reduce the chance of releases from USTs, detect leaks and spills when they do occur, and secure a prompt cleanup. UST owners and operators are responsible for reporting and cleaning up any releases. (See “Preventing Releases”, “Detecting Releases”, and “Cleaning Up Releases.”) OUST produced a 36-page booklet called “Musts For USTs” that clearly presents the UST regulatory requirements.

Financial responsibility regulations for USTs
The financial responsibility regulations designed to ensure that, in the event of a leak or spill, an owner or operator will have the resources to pay for costs associated with cleaning up releases and compensating third parties. (See “Financial Responsibility.”) OUST produced a 16-page booklet called “Dollars And Sense” that clearly presents these regulatory requirements.

State program approval objectives
EPA recognizes that, because of the large size and great diversity of the regulated community, state and local governments are in the best position to oversee USTs. Subtitle I of RCRA allows state UST programs approved by EPA to operate in lieu of the federal program, and EPA’s state program approval regulations set standards for state programs to meet. (See “State Program Approval (SPA)” for more information.) States may have more stringent regulations than the federal requirements. If you are interested in requirements for USTs, contact your state UST program for information on state requirements.

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Concrete Sidewalk & Walkway, Bergen County, New Jersey: Holes Solutions!

Tips: If you are not physically up to heavy labor or don’t feel comfortable with the concrete finishing process, it may be wise to call in professionals ( ) . 

How to lay Concrete Sidewalk / Walkway!

Easy, all-weather access to your home or service areas is easy to accomplish with nearly maintenance-free concrete walkways. They can also lend to the beauty of your home by framing and putting your home on display as the centerpiece of your yard.

Things You’ll Need:
Concrete Forms
Concrete Tools And Concrete
Garden Hoses And Attachments
T Squares
Carts Or Wheelbarrows
Tool Sets
shovels, spades, & scoops

Set sidewalk forms in place. The standard width is three to four feet for main walks and two feet for service walks.
Set forms running parallel and at a height that is level with existing walks or at a level very close to that of the ground surface level for easy yard maintenance. Place a movable bulkhead at the working end so that you can pour amounts of concrete that are comfortable for you to work with. This technique works great when ready-mix concrete is used because it usually results in very little wasted concrete.

Prep the walk area carefully by removing all sod and loose dirt to the depth of the walk plus approximately two inches for a sub-base of sand or crushed rock. Make sure that any loose or spring-y soil is carefully compacted to avoid sinking, tilting or excess cracking later on in the sidewalk’s lifespan. Get some extra help from friends if the planned pour is a large one. Concrete work is heavy and tiring. There can never be too much help. Use a cross slope of one-eighth of an inch per foot in width away from any nearby structures to help with drainage. Use asphalt-impregnated joint material at points where the walk comes in contact with a structure or another large body of concrete (a driveway edge, patio edge, etc.) Be sure to cut control joints every 4 to 5 feet along the length of the walk. These run across the surface and are made with a groover.

Services available in Atlantic, Bergen,
Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem,
Somerset , Sussex , Union, and Warren Counties, including lower New York and Westchester County for homeowners, municipalities, construction companies, real estate agencies, plumbing supply, insurance companies, etc.

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New Jersey – New York Oil Tank Removal Closure Abandonment Help Guidelines

If you are installing a new oil tank or just switching over, the old oil tank still needs to be removed. If you have an oil tank located in the basement as many home owners do here is what you can do to remove the tank yourself. First thing you want to remove the entire vent and fill pipes using a wrench. Disconnect the union fittings from the pipes. Locate the shut off valve on the tank. Make sure the valves are in the off position.

Then take an adjustable wrench and remove the flare fittings from the copper tubing to the tee. You may want to use a small container or something to catch the excess oil that is in the lines. When you remove the fittings the oil will spill out. Then you can remove the shut off valves with a wrench. If you want lift one the tank, they should not be very heavy, place the tank on some risers. Make sure the fill tubes are empty, try draining the tank as much as possible. The last thing you want is oil all over the place.

Go outside and disconnect the section of fill pipe and any fittings that may be connected to the pipe. If you want to get creative with the tank before removal you can attach a pipe to the fill holes on the tank and create a makeshift handle for easy lifting. If you don’t have any help then that trick may work great for you. If you do have help then the removal of the tank will be easy. Once everything is disconnected you can remove the tank from the basement.

If you are by yourself you can possibly drag the tank up the basement stairs yourself with a hand truck or if you decided to make the handle you can put an old blanket or sheet on the stairs and drag the tank slowly up the stairs. Or if you have plywood you could slide the tank over the plywood with the handles you made.

You want to be careful when removing the tank not to do any structural damage to the house. Some basements are accessed through the home and then there are others that you can access through the outside. Some of these stairways are very narrow so you have to be very careful when removing the tank.

You can try two ways of getting rid of the tank, call your local oil company and ask them how it is done in your town, every town may be different with their rules so as to not incur any headaches later on find out what can be done as far as the oil company is concerned.

You can also bring the tank, if you have the means to a recycle center. Contact them first and let them know you will be bringing in an old oil tank. Maybe there is something that has to be done before dropping it off.

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City tracks down owners of oil tank that spilled in January

January spill led to 4,200 gallons of fuel oil in Waller Creek; discovery could help with liability. The City of Austin announced Tuesday that it has cracked the case of the ownership of the downtown underground storage tank that burbled up oil in January, sullying Waller Creek.

After a lot of digging through archives, city employees found records from a Dec. 8, 1910, City Council meeting in which the city gave permission to George W. Littlefield to place a fuel-oil storage tank “under the ground in the alley at the rear of his building.”

The fingering of the Littlefield Building could have implications for payment and liability associated with the spill.

Oil in the 15,000-gallon tank, which is about 31 feet long, was used to power a small generator that created electricity for the Littlefield Building, said Stan Tindel, an environmental compliance specialist with the city.

The classical beaux-arts, nine-story office building actually opened in 1912, and a ledger belonging to Littlefield at the University of Texas showed that between 1915 and 1918, the building received an average of 8,000 gallons of fuel-oil on the 10th of every month, according to Tindel. The tank was rendered obsolete in 1957, when the building was hooked up to the city’s electric grid.

It had sat forgotten until Jan. 10, when a broken waterline forced water into the tank, which sits beneath an alley just north of Sixth Street between Congress Avenue and Brazos Street. The alley is between the Littlefield Building and the Driskill Hotel.

The subsequent containment and cleanup included the removal of 4,000 gallons of sludge from the fuel-oil tank and 4,200 gallons of fuel oil from Waller Creek. The oil had flowed into the creek through a city storm drain system.

The cost for the cleanup stands at about $220,000, according to Lynne Lightsey, a spokeswoman for the city’s watershed protection department.

“We have not decided how to give the bill to the Littlefield, but we know they’ll be responsible for some of it,” said Thomas Bashara, a senior environmental compliance specialist with the city.

The building’s owner, a partnership called HVP, Austin Littlefield LP issued the following statement:

“The Littlefield Building will continue to investigate the oil spill incident and how best to address the cleanup and remediation of the spill. We are in communication with both the City of Austin and the Driskill Hotel, and until a definitive conclusion can be reached regarding the source and ownership of the oil spill, we do not feel it is appropriate to comment further.”

The tank is covered, for now, with sand and plastic tarp, and the alleyway just north of Sixth Street is closed to vehicle traffic. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is figuring out what to do with the old tank, which remains underground, Bashara said.

A spokeswoman for the commission said it has not yet determined who is responsible for the tank.

Bashara said research has uncovered records of at least 500 tanks being placed underground, most of them much smaller, but the city is unsure how many remain underground.

“What’s in the ground may be a very small number,” he said.

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Shipley Fuels fined $76,000 for DEP violations

An agreement reached between the state Department of Environmental Protection and Shipley Fuels includes a $76,000 civil penalty for violations at seven of the company’s gas stations and bulk fuel facilities.

The violations — which range from a failure to perform tank and piping release detection to a failure to maintain containment sumps — were discovered between October 2006 and January 2008.

Shipley owns and operates 41 underground gas storage tanks and bulk fuel facilities in south central Pennsylvania.

Two of the incidents included environmental violations, one at the Mechanicsburg Bulk Plant in Hampden Township and one at McCullough Oil Service in Springfield Township, York County. Shipley had releases of 135 gallons of off-road diesel fuel and 1,500 gallons of heating oil, respectively, due to delivery driver error.

The company is currently investigating both sites to determine whether there are any environmental problems.

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Cost to remove backyard oil tank soars to $11K

Homeowner seeks help disputing contractor’s charge

Q: I had a contractor give me a quote of $2,850 to remove an old oil tank. When they were done, they had ruined my backyard, and their bill was more than $11,000. I feel victimized, but don’t know where to turn. Thanks. –Roger A.

A: Without knowing the specifics of your agreement with the contractor, it’s difficult to imagine how they got from $2,800 to $11,000. However, generically here are my suggestions:

If you are disputing your bill, you should pay only those parts of it that you’re certain are legitimate, and ask the contractor for a full accounting of all charges. Do not pay for anything you are not certain that you owe.

If the charges are incorrect and the contractor cannot or will not provide you with a breakdown, contact your state or local contractor’s board and file a complaint. They will assist you with arbitration and negotiating some type of resolution. The same holds true if you feel the charges are valid but the contractor damaged your property and won’t reimburse you. The Department of Environmental Quality typically licenses tank removal companies, so you can also contact them for assistance with your complaints against this contractor.

Assuming you had a written contract with this contractor — you certainly should have, and you’re in a much tougher position if you didn’t — and the contractor is in clear and fraudulent violation of it, you probably have valid grounds for a lawsuit. That is never my first suggestion for dispute resolution, but if the above attempts at reaching an agreement don’t work, contact your attorney as soon as possible.

Q: I read that proper attic ventilation should be 1 square foot of ventilation area for every 300 square feet of ceiling area, and that it should be along the eaves and along the ridge. Does that mean a total of both high and low vents, or 1 square foot at the eaves and 1 square foot at the ridge? –Ruud G.

A: The ratio of 1 square foot of ventilation for every 300 square feet of attic is for the combination of both high and low vents. For example, if you have an attic that is 1,200 square feet, you would need approximately 4 square feet of total vent area, split so that approximately 2 square feet is at the eaves and 2 square feet is at the ridge or in the gable ends.

This ratio is a general rule of thumb. In very wet climates, you may need to increase your ventilation to handle the higher moisture levels. Your best bet is to check with your local building department to see what the building codes in your area require.

Q: I want to break four electrical circuits into six or seven so that they don’t overload. How do I add new breakers? –Vinny L., via e-mail

A: The task you’ve chosen is a pretty difficult one, and unfortunately it involves much more than simply adding new breakers.

An electrical circuit originates at the electrical panel, and from there it can travel to a single location or it can loop through several outlets, switches, light fixtures or other electrical devices. To separate one circuit into two basically requires that the wiring for the entire run be located, and that a new wire be extended from a new circuit breaker to intercept the original circuit somewhere along its run. The circuit would then have to be cut and spliced in an approved junction box so that the original circuit breaker feeds part of the circuit, and the new circuit breaker feeds the remainder of it.

If this is even feasible depends on the size of the original wiring used, the method in which the circuit was looped from box to box, the size of the electrical panel, the accessibility of the wiring inside the walls and several other factors. So, while I’m generally in favor of do-it-yourself work on your own home, this is definitely one time where you need to call in the pros.

I would strongly suggest that you locate a licensed electrician who is experienced in remodeling and repair work. Have the electrician make a site visit to your home, do a thorough inspection of your electrical panel and circuits, and then make some specific recommendations as to why your circuits are overloading and what can be done about it.

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Oil Tank? More Like a Subterranean Monster

HOUSES, like people, tend to live double lives. They, too, have a visible existence and an invisible existence, a seen life and an unseen life. In the latter are those hidden systems, the pipes in the walls, the wiring, all that lies concealed between the sheathing and the Sheetrock. At our house, the most ominous of these unseen features is the oil tank buried just out past the porch.

The 500-gallon tank came with the house when we bought it years ago — years, that is, before we knew anything about the toxic hazards of buried tanks, years before the folly of burying fuel was even considered. Today, though, it is common knowledge that such tanks can break down after 20 to 25 years, and if oil leaches out from them and seeps into the groundwater, it will poison the water in your well, contaminate any adjacent wetlands and otherwise degrade the soil around it. Understandably, the fines are heavy. Not to mention the cleanup costs of tearing out the tank and removing all the contaminated dirt around it.

The Web sites that address this catastrophe-in-waiting are going to chill your bones. They did mine. In New York State, if a leak is discovered, you have exactly two hours to report it to the Department of Environmental Conservation. And if the leak is pervasive, and the dirt and groundwater are found to have traces of petroleum, the excavation and cleanup costs can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. I have heard of dire cases in which those costs equaled and even surpassed the value of the property itself. And forget your homeowners’ insurance; most policies have a “pollution exclusion” or something similar.

There are ways to tell if your tank is leaking. A leak toward the top of the tank would allow water seeping in to mix with the fuel oil, wreaking havoc with the furnace. And a leak toward the bottom of the tank would drain out the fuel oil, and you’d be refilling the tank at a steady clip. Neither of these has happened to us. Nonetheless, the tank has become a subversive presence in our domestic life. Sooner or later, any number of things, from condensation inside the tank to the acid in the soil around it, will cause it to rust.

So I think of the tank lying there as my own little Richard Serra nightmare of corroding steel, streaked, stained, its pattern of industrial decay creating picturesque graffiti across the monster arc of metal. Mr. Serra’s monumental steel sculptures explore how a hollow steel form can play with our perceptions; Lynne Cooke, curator of the Dia Art Foundation, wrote of one sculpture’s capacity for “tempering routine assumptions regarding the built environment and the spectator’s relationship to it.”

I no longer need to go to a museum to have such assumptions questioned. I am fully acquainted with the vertigo the hollow steel form can induce. And as far as my relationship to the built environment goes, I have come to understand fully that as our fuel tank gradually self-destructs, it will morph into a subterranean monster capable of destroying the value of our house, the land around it, our life in it.

When exactly this will happen is unclear. I am told that the old tank may have some sticker or label on it that states its gauge of steel — whether it is heavy-duty or double-walled and how long it is likely to last. But you would have to dig the thing up, of course, just to read it, and I realize that little sticker falls into the vast category of information that is vital, but impossible to find; much as you know that the facts have been researched, gathered and explicitly stated, but that you just can’t get to them.

While it is certainly possible to rip the thing out of the ground, have it sliced up and carted off for scrap metal, a less invasive procedure calls for abandonment. But unlike other forms of abandonment that involve nothing more than careless neglect, abandoning an oil tank requires a system, a plan and a partnership with the government, not to mention potentially thousands of dollars.

The desertion process begins with the installation of a new fuel tank or two above ground or in the basement, into which the oil from the old tank is siphoned. Whatever sludge remains is emptied into barrels and disposed of in a manner compliant with environmental regulations. Finally, a patch of ground above the old tank is removed, a two- or three-foot section carved out of its top, and the whole thing is hosed, scrubbed, scraped and degreased — not necessarily in that order — then filled with sand or peat gravel. The soil around it is tested for contaminants, and assuming it’s clean, you’re awarded a certificate.

There are innumerable reasons for the way we arrange and rearrange the places we live, among them a need for order, a desire for beauty, a hope for comfort. But replacing the old oil tank comes from another impulse, which is pure, blind fear — the fear of poisoning our little patch of green, of contaminating groundwater, of devastating wildlife and otherwise visiting ruin on something pristine and good and then depleting all our resources to clean the mess up. But most of all, I suspect the buried oil tank is a reservoir for that primal terror we all have about the things that lie buried.

To call it a fear of the unknown would be putting it lightly. It encompasses all the ambiguity, that deep apprehension of all things that reside underground. It is only as children that we imagine them to be treasures, because most sentient adults have some passing familiarity with the iconic malevolence of those things we try to bury.

And what represents it better than the corroding tank with its toxic load? As I make arrangements to have the thing properly abandoned, I realize it is one of those things you just get rid of without examining too closely. It lies in that catalog of things you do away with without ever knowing exactly how bad they really are. As the agent of a catastrophe that can only be imagined, it makes for one of the occasions in which you have to change what you cannot see, excise what you do not yet know

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Quality & Licenced Vacuum Excavation Services in New Jersey-New York!

Holes Solutions is a trenchless construction company that specializes in Subsurface Utility Engineering, Horizontal Auger Boring, Directional Drilling, Vacuum Potholing, Pipe Ramming, Pipe Bursting, Skidding, Large Diameter Tunneling, and Hand Tunneling.

Visit Website: or! Our Phone number: 1-877-7-DEPEND or 973-458-1188

Based in New Jersey, has been a leading company on New Jersey. Past clients range from engineering firms to municipalities to privately owned entities. Each benefiting from our unique ability to help redesign their structures, improve customer satisfaction, and increase their operational effectiveness. Just recently we were called upon by one of the largest oil refineries in the world, Hovensa, to assist in much critical pipline upgrades.

Over the years the business has adapted to specialize soley in trenchless technology and is currently recognized as the leading company in New Jersey. uses vacuum to safely uncover underground utilities and verify paint marks without damaging property or personnel. It is common to use high-pressure water or air to first dislodge the soil for easy removal by the vacuum system.

Many municipalities and government agencies no longer rely on paint marks, but now require all contractors to either hand dig or vacuum excavate utilities. Many no longer allow a backhoe to perform this task, because a backhoe will damage the utility a large percentage of the time.

We are ready to help in below towns:
Allendale, Alpine, Belle ville, Bergenfield, Bloomfield, Bloomingdale, Bogota, Boonton, Butler, Caldwell, Carlstadt, Cedar grove, Cliffside park, Clifton, Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, East newark, East orange, East rutherford, Edge water, Elmwood park, Emerson lake, Englewood, Englewood cliffs, Essex falls, Fairfield, Fairview, Fair lawn, Fort lee, Franklin lakes, Garfield, Glen ridge, Glen rock, Hackensack, Haledon, Harrington park, Harrison, Hasbrouck heights, Haskell, Hawthorne, Hewitt, Highland lakes, Hillsdale, Hoboken, Hohokus, Jersey city, Kearny, Kinnelon, Lake hiawatha, Leonia, Lincoln park, Little falls, Little ferry, Lodi, Mahwah, Maywood, Midland park, Montclair, Montvale, Montville, Moonachie, Mountain lakes, newfoundland, New milford, North arlington, North bergen, North caldwell, North haledon, Nortrvale, Norwood, Nutley, Oakland, Oak ridge, Old tappan, Oradell, Packanack lake, Palisades park, Paramus, Park ridge, Parsippany, Passaic, Paterson, Pequannock, Pine brook, Pompton lakes, Pompton plains, Prospect park, Ramsey, Ridgefield, Ridgefield park, Ridgewood, Ringwood, Riverdale, River edge, Rivervale, Rochelle park, Rockleigh, Rutherford, Saddle brook, Saddle river, Secaucus, South hackensack, Teaneck, Tenafly, Teterboro, Totowa, Towaco, Union city, Upper montclair, Upper saddle river, Verona, Waldwick, Washington, Wanaque, Washington township, Wayne, Weehawken, West caldwell, West milford, West new york, West orange, West paterson, Westwood, Wood cliff lake, Wood ridge, Wyckoff, , Aberdeen, Allamuchy, Allendale, Asbury Park, Atlantic City, Atlantic Highlands, Audobon, Avon-by-the-Sea, Barnegat, Barnegat Light, Bayhead, Bayonne NJ, Beachwood, Bedminster, Belleville, Belmar, Bellmawr, Berkeley, Berkeley Heights, Berlin NJ, Bernards, Bernardsville, Bethlehem, Bloomfield, Bloomingdale, Bogota, Bordentown, Boonton, Bound Brook, Branchburg, Brick, Bridgewater, Brigantine Beach, Burlington City, Burlington, Borough of Butler, Caldwell, Camden, Camden, Cape May, Carteret, Chatham Borough, Township of Chatham, Cherry Hill, Cherry Hill Connection, Borough of Chester, Chester Twp., Clark, Cliffside Park Online, Clifton, Closter, Collingswood, Colts Neck, Columbus, Cranbury, Cranford, Cresskill, Deal, Dennisville, Denville, Delanco, Delran, Dover, Dumont, Dunellen, East Greenwich, East Hanover, East Windsor, Eatontown, Edgewater, Edison, Egg Harbor, Egg Harbor City, Elizabeth, Elk, Englewood, Emerson, Englishtown, Evesham, Ewing, Fairfield, Borough of Fair Haven, Fair Lawn, Fanwood, Florence, Florham Park, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, FREEHOLD, Frenchtown, Frenchtowner, Galloway, Garwood, Gibbsboro, Glassboro, Glen Ridge, Glen Rock, Gloucester, Greenwich (Gibbstown), Hackensack, Hackettstown, Haddonfield, Hainesport, Hamilton, Hampton Borough, Harding / New Vernon, Hardyston, Harrison (Gloucester County), Harrison, Harvey Cedars, Hasbrouck Heights, Borough of Haworth, Borough of Hawthorne, High Bridge, Highland Park, Highlands, Hightstown, Hillsborough, Hillsdale, Hillside, City of Hoboken Interactive, Hoboken, Holland, Holmdel, Hopatcong, Hopewell, Howell, Irvington, Jackson, Jamesburg, Jefferson, Jersey City, Kearney, Kenilworth, Keyport, Knowlton, Lacey, Lakehurst, Lakewood, Landing, Lawrence, Lebanon, Leonia, Liberty, Lincoln Park, Little Egg Harbor, Little Ferry, Livingston, Lodi, Logan, Long Beach, Long Branch, Long Hill, Long Valley, Lopatcong, Lumberton, Madison, Magnolia, Mahwah, Manalapan, Manchester, Mantua, Maple Shade, Marlboro, Medford, Medford, Medford Lakes, Merchantville, Metuchen, Middlesex Borough, MIDDLETOWN, Millburn, Millstone, Milltown, Millville, Montague, Montclair NJ, Montgomery, Montvale New Jersey, Montville, Moorestown, Morris, Morristown, Mountainside, Mount Arlington, Mount Holly, Mount Olive, Neptune City, Borough of Netcong, New Brunswick, New Egypt, Newark, North Brunswick, North Plainfield, Nutley Oakland, Ocean City, Ocean Grove, Ocean, Old Bridge, Old Tappan, Paramus, Park Ridge, Parsippany Troy-Hills, Passaic, Pemberton, Pennington, Pennsville, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Pittman Borough, Plainfield, Plainsboro, Pleasantville, Plumstead, Point Pleasant Beach, Point Pleasant Borough, Pompton Lakes, Princeton Online, Princeton, Rahway, Ramsey, Randolph, Reading, Ridgefield Park, Ringwood, Rockaway, Roseland, Roselle Park, Roxbury, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, Sayreville, Secaucus, Sewaren, Sea Isle City, Seaside Park, Scotch Plains, Shamong, Ship Bottom, Smithville, Southampton, South Belmar, South Brunswick, South Harrison, South Orange Village, South Plainfield, South River, Sparta, Spotswood Borough, Spring Lake, Springfield, Stafford, Stone Harbor, Stratford, Summit NJ, Surf City, Teaneck, Tenafly NJ, Tewksbury, Toms River, Trenton, Upper Deerfield, Upper Freehold, Ventnor City, Vernon, Verona, Vincentown, Vineland, Voorhees, Waldwick NJ, Wall, Warren, Washington Borough, Washington, Waterford, Wayne New Jersey, West Amwell NJ, West Caldwell, NJ, West Orange NJ, Westampton NJ, Westfield, New Jersey, Winslow NJ, Woodbridge, NJ, Wood-Ridge, New Jersey, Wyckoff, New Jersey

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New Jersey Real Estate: Timely Information, Trusted Analysis and Valuable Resources Online: Verizon NJ Sells HQ Building

Verizon New Jersey is under contract to sell its downtown headquarters building here to Accordia Realty Ventures. The landmark 20-story, 450,000-sf art deco building at 540 Broad St., which dates to the late 1920s, was officially put on the market late this past summer as part of a three-building portfolio. The offering was tied to Verizon NJ’s need to restructure its real estate holdings in the Garden State.
Both sides declined to reveal the sale price, but industry sources put the number around $35 million. If correct, that number would factor out to about $78 per sf. In terms of financing, “we’re going to be looking for institutional debt, and we’ve got private equity for the deal,” Accordia partner Joseph Romano tells

“The deal is not complete,” Romano says, noting that it still needs approval by the state Board of Public Utilities, and there are other contingencies. “But we’re excited about it. It’s a phenomenal landmark building.”

The deal also calls for Verizon NJ to stay in the building under the terms of an 18-month lease as it seeks another location within New Jersey. Company officials have also said that they plan to maintain an executive presence at the site, and in Newark, indefinitely.

And the new owners plan major upgrades on the building, which will be largely vacant once Verizon NJ departs with all but its long-term executive presence. “We’re going to be marketing it–we’re looking for tenants,” Romano says. “It’s great in spite of its age. The logistics of the building, the size of the floorplates will accommodate modern uses. The 20,000-sf floorplates are unusual for a building of that age.”

Accordia Realty is a Fairfield-based group headed by partners Romano and Jason Bogart. Since the company’s founding in 2005, it has picked up several other assets, including the 201,000-sf Greenbrook Executive Center in Fairfield, the 84,000-sf River Drive Center II in Elmwood Park and the 57,000-sf GM Building at 9 Sylvan Way in Parsippany.

The two other assets put up for sale by Verizon NJ in September remain on the market. They include 175 Park Ave. in Madison, a 210,000-sf building currently in use as a switching center and for general offices. The other is the 30,000-sf 1000 Cellar St. in Scotch Plains. The operations from the various sites will presumably be consolidated at Verizon NJ’s eventual new location.

The 540 Broad St. sale was brokered for Verizon NJ by Matthew Schnurr and John Hoffman of Grubb & Ellis, who continue to market the other two assets. Accordia represented itself.

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NASCAR finds infraction in Edwards’ winning car

LAS VEGAS — For now, Carl Edwards’ victory in Sunday’s UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway remains intact.

But during postrace inspection, NASCAR officials discovered the lid, or cover, was missing from the oil reservoir encasement, an infraction that falls under the general classification of unauthorized aerodynamic modifications — the intent being to allow air to pass from the inside to the outside of the car.

Edwards’ No. 99 Ford will be taken to NASCAR’s research and development center in Concord, N.C., for further examination. If penalties are warranted, they will be announced later, but as of now the victory stands, according to NASCAR spokesperson Ramsey Poston.

Five Nationwide Series teams were penalized for having improperly secured oil tank lids two weeks ago at Daytona. Drivers Kertus Davis, Johnny Sauter, David Gilliland, David Stremme and Cale Gale each lost 25 championship points for the violations.

The owners of the cars also were penalized 25 points, and the five crew chiefs were hit with $15,000 fines and six-race suspensions.

With two straight wins, Edwards currently leads the Sprint Cup standings by 21 points over Kyle Busch.

The oil tank reservoir is mounted in the rear firewall behind the driver’s seat. NASCAR’s rules require the encasement cover to be made of 22-gauge magnetic steel. Quick-release fasteners may not be used to secure the lid.

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Global warming threatens more than just coral

WELLINGTON, March 3 (Xinhua) — Rising sea levels from global warming will threaten the livelihoods and homes of more than 200,000 people who live on coral atolls in coming generations, the PACNEWS reported on Monday.    The warning came from Australia’s University of Queensland archaeologist and expert on the prehistoric use of coral atolls, Marshall Weisler.

    Weisler said the Central Pacific islands of Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands as well as the Maldives in the Indian Ocean are most at risk.

    Weisler said the situation was more serious than people realized with agricultural and already being lost to rising seas in the Marshall Islands, the PACNEWS, a Suva-based regional news agency reported on Monday.

    “People have shown me where there used to be gardens, are now lagoons. There are coconut trees that are 20 meters off shore, half falling over,” Weisler said.

    “In Kiribati, there are high tides that inundate portions of villages, so people are on dry land in the morning and on stilt house villages with water under their house during high lunar tides.

    “There are very serious problems for the next generation which may not even be able to live on the island that they are living on now,” he added.

    The International Panel on Climate Change has predicted sea levels could rise between nine and 88 centimeters this century.

    Atolls are at risk because they are small, coral islands barely meters above current sea levels.

    Weisler said predicting sea level rises was complex as waters could rise by different levels and have different effects, depending on the atoll location.

    He said island nations would face tough decisions in the future about land ownership, economic futures and relocating entire countries within other nations.

    “The people on these islands have a small voice because they are not Western industrialized countries with high populations. People aren’t paying attention to them,” Weisler said.

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Global Warming: Is It Really a Crisis?

John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton all promise massive new regulations that will cost trillions of dollars to combat global warming. McCain says that it will be his first task if he wins the presidency. After consulting with Al Gore, Obama feels the problem is so imminent that it is not even really possible to wait until he becomes president.

Ironically, this political unanimity is occurring as global temperatures have been cooling dramatically over the last decade.

Global temperatures have now largely eliminated most of the one degree Celsius warming that had previously occurred over the last 100 years. Hundreds of climate scientists have warned that there is not significant man-made global warming.

A conference in New York on Monday and Tuesday this week will bring 100 scientists together to warn that the there is no man-made global warming crisis.

Yet, we just keep on piling on more and more regulations without asking hard questions about whether they are justified.

New mileage per gallon regulations were signed into law last year that will mandate cars get 35 MPG. The rules will make us poorer, forcing people to buy products that aren’t otherwise the best suited for them. More people will die because lighter cars are less safe, but we are told this is all worth it largely because of global warming.

To see if all this makes any sense there are really four questions that all have to be answered “yes.”

1) Are global temperatures rising? Surely, they were rising from the late 1970s to 1998, but “there has been no net global warming since 1998.” Indeed, the more recent numbers show that there is now evidence of significant cooling.

2) But supposing that the answer to the first question is “yes,” is mankind responsible for a significant and noticeable portion of an increase in temperatures? Mankind is responsible for just a fraction of one percent of the effect from greenhouse gases, and greenhouse gases are not responsible for most of what causes warming (e.g., the Sun).

Over 100 leading climate scientists from around the world signed a letter in December stating: “significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming.”

In December a list was also released of another 400 scientists who questioned the general notion of significant manmade global warming.

3) If the answer to both preceding questions is “yes,” is an increase temperature changes “bad”? That answer is hardly obvious.

Even the UN’s original draft stated that an increase in temperature of up to two degrees Celsius would be good for many regions of the globe. Higher temperatures could increase ocean levels by between seven inches and two feet over the next 100 years.

Although some blame global warming for seemingly everything, according to others higher temperatures will increase the amount of land that we can use to grow food, it will improve people’s health, and increase biological diversity.

4) Finally, let’s assume that the answer to all three previous questions is “yes.” Does that mean we need more regulations and taxes? No, that is still not clear.

If we believe that man-made global warming is “bad,” we still don’t want to eliminate all carbon emissions. Having no cars, no air conditioning, or no electricity would presumably be much worse than anything people are claiming from global warming.

You want to pick a tax that just discourages carbon emissions to the point where the cost of global warming is greater than that of cutting emissions.

Too little of a tax can be “bad” because we would produce greenhouse gases when their costs were greater than the benefits. But too much of a tax also makes us poorer because we won’t be getting the benefits from cars or electricity even when the benefits exceed the costs that they would produce from global warming.

What is often ignored in the debate over global warming is that we already have very substantial taxes on gasoline, averaging 46 cents per gallon in the US. Even if one believes that gasoline use should be restricted to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the question is whether our taxes are already restricting use “too much” or “not enough.” But simply saying that carbon dioxide emissions are bad isn’t enough.

In fact, William Nordhaus, an economics professor at Yale and former member of President Carter’s Council of Economic Advisors, puts the “right” level of gasoline taxes at around 10 cents a gallon today, reaching 16 cents per gallon in 2015. Nordhaus’ analysis assumes that the answers to the first three questions are “yes.” If anything, while gasoline taxes are partially used for such things as building roads, it seems quite plausible that, even accepting Nordhaus’ assumptions, current gasoline taxes are much too high to deal with the harm from global warming.

However good the intentions, the debate over global warming is much more complicated than simply saying that the world is getting warmer. It is too bad that these questions won’t be getting a real debate this election. The irony is that those who sell themselves as being so caring aren’t careful enough to investigate the impact of their regulations.

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Reliable Fresh and Ready Mix Concrete Services in NJ-NY!

Holes Solutions is being a reliable name for New Jersey and New York residents for all commercial construction related services like A D A Concrete Ramps, Acid Staining, Barrier Curbs, Cement Sidewalks, Concrete Curbs, Concrete Flatness Testing, Concrete Floors, Concrete Paving, Concrete Ramps, Concrete Resurfacing, Concrete Sidewalks, Concrete Slabs, Curbing, Exposed Aggregate Sidewalks & Flatwork, Floors – Cement, Floors – Concrete, Laser Screed Contractors & Service, Ramps – Concrete, Sidewalk & Curb Construction, Sidewalks – Cement, Sidewalks – Exposed Aggregate, Sitework – Concrete, Slabs – Concrete, Slip Form Construction, Street Prints, Superflat Floors, Whitetopping, etc.

Holes Solutions is starting their operations in more areas of New Jersey and New York.

New Jersey areas covered in this expansion are:
Belle ville
Cedar grove
Cliffside park
East newark
East orange
East rutherford
Edge water
Elmwood park
Emerson lake
Englewood cliffs
Essex falls
Fair lawn
Fort lee
Franklin lakes
Glen ridge
Glen rock
Harrington park
Hasbrouck heights
Highland lakes
Jersey city
Lake hiawatha
Lincoln park
Little falls
Little ferry
Midland park
Mountain lakes
New milford
North arlington
North bergen
North caldwell
North haledon
Oak ridge
Old tappan
Packanack lake
Palisades park
Park ridge
Pine brook
Pompton lakes
Pompton plains
Prospect park
Ridgefield park
River edge
Rochelle park
Saddle brook
Saddle river
South hackensack
Union city
Upper montclair
Upper saddle river
Washington township
West caldwell
West milford
West new york
West orange
West paterson
Wood cliff lake
Wood ridge

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World’s Environment Ministers Meet to Mobilize Global Green Economy

A green economy is emerging worldwide as growing numbers of companies embrace environmental policies and investors pump hundreds of billions into clean technology and renewable energies, finds the 2008 United Nations Environment Programme Year Book.

The Year Book was presented here today at the opening of the largest gathering of environment ministers since the UN climate conference in Bali, Indonesia last December.

The ministers, joined by representatives of business, organized labor, science and civil society, are attending UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum with the theme “Mobilizing Finance for the Climate Challenge.”

“Hundreds of billions of dollars are now flowing into renewable and clean energy technologies and trillions more dollars are waiting in the wings looking to governments for a new and decisive climate regime post 2012 alongside the creative market mechanisms necessary to achieve this,” said Achim Steiner, UN under-secretary general and UNEP executive director.

Climate change, as documented in the Year Book, is increasingly changing the global environment, from the melting of permafrost and glaciers to extreme weather events.

But it is also beginning to change the mind-sets, policies and actions of corporate heads, financiers and entrepreneurs as well as leaders of organized labor, governments and the United Nations itself.

Combating climate change increasingly is being viewed as an opportunity rather than a burden and a path to a new kind of prosperity instead of a brake on profits and employment, the UNEP Year Book shows. The emerging green economy is driving invention, innovation and the imagination of engineers on a scale not witnessed since the industrial revolution of more than two centuries ago.

The report points to the growing interest in novel geo-engineering projects such as giant carbon dioxide, C02, collectors that absorb the greenhouse gas from the air as trees do.

“Based on technology used in fish tank filters and developed by scientists from Columbia University’s Earth Institute, this method called “air capture” can collect the CO2 at the location of the ideal geological deposits for storage,” says the report.

Meanwhile, scientists in Iceland and elsewhere are looking at injecting C02 into that country’s abundant basalt rocks where it is claimed the gas reacts to form inert limestone.

Similar “sequestration rocks” exist in geological formations across much of the world and may provide a safe and long term disposal option for the main greenhouse gas emissions, says the UNEP Year Book.

Some elements of a green economy are already taking shape.

Corporate social responsibility reporting, including environmental concerns, is now found among corporations in over 90 countries – with the number of such statements mushrooming from virtually zero in the early 1990s to well over 2,000 now, the Year Book states.

The Investor Network on Climate Change, launched in November 2003, now has some 50 institutional investors with assets of over $3 trillion.

And the Principles for Responsible Investment, jointly facilitated by UNEP’s Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact in 2006, now has 275 institutions with $13 trillion of assets.

In 2007, financial transactions in the sustainable energy sector reached $160 billion – up from just over $100 billion in 2006, according to another UNEP report drafted to inform the deliberations of ministers in Monaco.

“An initiative to provide seed money for clean energy entrepreneurs has spawned close to 50 new enterprises in Africa, China and India. The Principles for Responsible Investment, facilitated by the UNEP Finance Initiative and the UN’s Global Compact, has secured the support of over 275 institutions handling assets of over $13 trillion dollars,” said Steiner.

“Among the challenges facing ministers in Monaco is how to accelerate this transformation to ensure that it is far reaching, widespread and above all speedy,” he said.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, composed of more than 2,000 scientists established by UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization to advise governments, estimates that to avoid dangerous climate change emissions need to be stabilized at between 535 to 590 parts per million, ppm, in 2050.

In order to meet the stabilization target, global emissions of greenhouse gases will need to decrease in 2050 by 18 to 29 giggatonnes of carbon dioxide with emissions peaking even earlier – somewhere between 2010 and 2030.

A variety of recent assessments such as the Stern Review; ones by the IPCC and others by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change put the costs of stabilization at between 0.3 percent and four per cent of global Gross Domestic Product, GDP.

Stern estimates it at one percent of global GDP, costing around $134 billion in 2015 rising to $930 billion in 2050.

Industrialized countries, except the United States, are abiding by the Kyoto Protocol, which requires a reduction in six greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2 percent of 1990 levels by the end of 2012.

After 2012, the Kyoto Protocol will be replaced by an global agreement now under negotiation that are expected to be completed by the climate convention meeting in Copenhagen in 2009.

Some developing countries are already committed to a green economy.

UNEP Governing Council President Roberto Dobles of Costa Rica told reporters today that his country wants to become a carbon neutral, zero impact economy by 2021.

“To change the economy, we have to become more resource efficient, the culture of consumption will have to change,” Dobles said.

Although the country enjoys a 62 percent forest cover, last year Costa Ricans planted six million trees and aim to plant seven million trees this year, he said.

Costa Rica will be reducing emissions and increasing its capacity to mitigate climate change, Dobles said. “We will be increasing our well-being through a low carbon economy.”

In a video message played at the Governing Council today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to the environment ministers to usher in a “new generation” of solutions to climate change.

“You can help us meet the crucial challenge of mobilizing finance to meet the climate challenge,” he said. “We must sustain the momentum, including through practical actions now.”

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Nigeria: Operators Demand Stable Fiscal Environment for Oil Sector

Nigeria’s traditional partners in the exploration and production of hydrocarbon resources are calling on the government to install fiscal regimes and congenial environment to ensure the continued survival of the joint ventures that sustain revenue inflow from the sector.

Chairman and managing director of ExxonMobil in Nigeria who spoke for the industry at a strategic conference in Abuja weekend said that only stable fiscal environment, sanctity of contracts, guaranteed returns on investment and securitization of payment would continue to incent investments from international oil companies.

He made it clear that the role of the private sector in the partnership to realize Nigeria’s economic goals through optimum valorization of her petroleum resources would anchor on commercial viability of investments in the local environment.

Business Champion reports that government activated a string of reforms in the industry that threaten to alter deepwater contracts signed on producing fields and commit operators to delivery of gas for the domestic market where prices are regulated.

Government and oil firms in the country have recently taken different positions on the new measures introduced by the state to earn maximum returns from exploitation of the nation’s petroleum resources.

Apart from the directive on oil firms to end routine flaring of associated gas by the end of the year, the industry is also under directives to ensure adequate supply of produced gas to the domestic market to ease out scarcity and enhance economic development of the country.

Also, there is an existing directive on the companies to refine 50 percent of their production locally and export white products from the country to reverse the current trend of massive export of crude oil and massive high cost importation of white products to fuel the domestic economy.

In his opening address at the just concluded Nigerian Oil and Gas conference in Abuja last week, President Umaru Yar’Adua said the industry reforms with associated changes in operating modalities would be enacted into law to give it permanent teeth.

He expressed dissatisfaction with the level of progress made by the industry in driving economic development of the nation in the last 50 years, pointing out that a lot of basic challenges still faced the nation despite hosting a robust oil and gas industry.

“Ours is a story of a nation with abundant oil and gas resources but has stunted growth,” he said, adding that Nigerian content of the industry has remained low while the country still depended on imported petroleum products when the country should meet its fuel needs and export to contiguous nations.

He made it clear that “this situation should not be allowed to continue.”

Similarly, while presenting the details of the reform programme to the conference, the honorary strategic adviser to the President on energy matters, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, informed the oil companies that their commercial interests should be realigned to drive national aspirations in the industry.

On his own, the Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Mr. Tony Chukwueke, made it clear that government would review a set of Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) signed with the oil companies in the past to reflect the current market value of crude oil.

He said the review of the agreements would be urgent in order to avoid further revenue losses to government as production and export go on daily at offtake sites operated by the oil majors.

Earlier in a chat with newsmen in Lagos, the new managing director of Shell, Mr. Mutiu Sumonu, said most of the requirements on the operators were issue of investment decision rather than mandatory requirement.

In responding to issues on the radical reforms in the industry, Mr. Chaplin noted the reforms have posed an exciting and challenging time for the energy industry in the country, adding that what makes the transformation so important is the opportunity for economic growth for Nigeria that can be achieved by ‘getting this transformation right.’

He emphasised the need for government to recognise its roles in providing stable fiscal and regulatory frameworks, access to resources and allowing markets to operate freely.

“Countries that want to expand or develop their energy industry and compete globally for investment capital must have these elements in place to allow them to compete,” he maintained.

He added other congenial requirements to include non-discriminatory administration of laws and regulations; impartial dispute resolution; minimising obstacles to building or operating facilities; minimal import or export restrictions; freedom to negotiate commercial arrangements; and sanctity of contracts.

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Recent editorials from New Jersey newspapers

Ralph Nader, who turns 74 tomorrow, remains as obstinate, prickly and egotistical as ever, hewing to the idea that he must run for president because “dissent is the mother of ascent.”

Using political protest to leverage social change is a sound principle. Nader’s execution of it is not. His presidential run in 2000 wounded Al Gore enough to help George W. Bush sneak into the White House.

Events since have proven Nader was delusional when he insisted there was no difference between the major political parties. The deficit-spawning Bush tax cuts, the administration’s assault on crucial environmental laws and, most tragically, the unnecessary war in Iraq _ Nader bears partial responsibility for all of it.

Nader’s 2000 candidacy garnered almost 3 million votes. Nearly 100,000 of them were in Florida, where Bush defeated Gore by slightly more than 500 votes.

Despite eight years of some of the worst political and social backsliding in the history of the republic, Nader still confuses his narcissism with progress for the nation.

Fortunately, this is not 2000. Nader shouldn’t rise to even the level of a distraction. Gore was a solid candidate, but he was not exciting and he didn’t represent change. Nader won’t take votes from Barack Obama or from Hillary Clinton. Both candidates are sufficiently appealing as agents of change that Nader can’t steal their thunder.

Nader, the stinging wasp, has become the irritating gnat. He says he’s not a spoiler. While it’s true he no longer has the power to be, his intentions are suspect. It’s time for him to go away and stop pretending that what’s good for him is good for the country.


On the Net:

Tuesday’s (Feb. 26) Record of Bergen County on “Freeheld’s” Oscar victory:

On Sunday, a New Jersey story won the Academy Award for short subject documentary. It was a bittersweet moment. In what may go down as the ultimate Oscar irony, a film about gay and lesbian discrimination in Ocean County was announced as the winner by members of the U.S. military serving in Iraq.

Probably no one planning this year’s show thought about the hypocrisy of having the military, which bans openly gay and lesbian soldiers from service, announce a category that included a film about a law enforcement officer’s dying struggle to transfer pension benefits to her legal domestic partner.

“Freeheld” shows how Ocean County freeholders continued to deny Lt. Laurel Hester’s requests to have her pension transferred to her partner, Stacie Andre. The freeholders relented only after Governor Corzine applied personal pressure.

Hester’s publicized battle spurred numerous counties across New Jersey to grant pension rights to their employees in legal domestic partnerships. Since then, New Jersey has expanded rights to same-sex couples with a civil union law. But a recently released report on the one-year-old law shows that benefits discrimination continues despite the state Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing equal rights to same-sex couples.

And while Corzine says he will sign legislation recognizing same-sex marriage if it ever reaches his desk, he also has said that he does not support introducing such legislation in a presidential election year. There is little appetite inside the State House to take on this issue in 2008.

The Oscar win will give “Freeheld” more public exposure. It is a sad, compelling film. Watching Hester slowly succumb to cancer is heartbreaking. Watching her repeatedly being denied equal rights despite her decades of public service is galling. And watching the emotional bond between Hester and Andre as they face the inevitable is proof there is nothing gender-specific about spousal commitment.

“Freeheld” ends in death: Hester died in 2006. It also ends in personal victory. But the struggle for equal rights has never been one individual’s story. Equality for gays and lesbians in New Jersey is a sometime thing. In the U.S. military, it does not exist at all.

It will take more than an Academy Award to change that.

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Corzine Seeks to Cut N.J. Budget and Work Force

TRENTON — Declaring that New Jersey had reached an irrevocable “turning point” because of years of bad fiscal habits, Gov. Jon S. Corzine proposed a budget on Tuesday that would reduce the state’s work force by 3,000 people, close three departments and prune expenses for services including colleges and hospitals.

Corzine’s Proposed Budget Cuts If enacted as proposed, the overall state budget would shrink by $500 million to $33 billion, marking only the fifth time in the last 50 years that New Jersey would spend less money than it did the previous year. Assuming inflation this year at around 3 percent, as it has been since 2004, the cut would be equivalent to roughly $1.5 billion, or 4.4 percent of last year’s budget, in real terms.

“Frankly, New Jersey has a government its people cannot afford,” a somber Governor Corzine told a stone-silent group of legislators, lobbyists and local officials in his annual budget address.

“We must turn away from the era of spending and borrowing beyond our means, once and for all,” he said. “In practical terms, failing to take on the tough choices will only force New Jersey into a deeper fiscal swamp.”

Mr. Corzine delivered the harsh prognosis against a grim national backdrop, given that more than 20 states, New York included, are now grappling with budget shortfalls because of a downturn in the national economy, according to an analysis released Monday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

But New Jersey’s troubles are especially deep, fiscal analysts say, because of rising costs for pension and health care benefits, a ballooning increase in spending under both Republicans and Democrats over the last decade or so and the longtime practice of paving over deficits with one-shot revenues that dried up the following year.

So while the slumping housing market has led to shrinking tax receipts across the country, only a few states face a greater shortfall than the nearly 10 percent gap New Jersey has to fill, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said. Arizona’s deficit is the largest, 16 percent, followed by California, at 15 percent.

Here in Trenton, Mr. Corzine warned that the new math was full of difficult numbers, big and small.

He proposed cutting state aid to colleges and universities by $76 million, or 4 percent. Grants to towns? Down $190 million (about 10 percent). Hospitals? Less $144 million (14 percent). His plan would shut down the Departments of Personnel, Agriculture and Commerce, and trim jobs across the board, largely through buyouts. Residents would face longer lines and shorter hours at motor vehicle registries, and limited hours at public parks.

Beyond the numbers, Mr. Corzine said he wanted to change the culture of the way the state government operated. He said, at several junctures, that he had been humbled by the anger of the public, much of which has been trained on him and his proposed toll increases in a series of town-hall meetings in recent weeks.

In a 25-minute speech, the governor used some variation of the word “cut” at least 28 times and elicited applause just twice: when he entered the Assembly chamber, and when he left.

“I have heard firsthand the public’s frustration and anger generated by too many years of overspending, borrowing and false rhetoric,” he said. “And they’re right.”

He later referred to his plan as “cold-turkey therapy for our troubled spending addiction.”

After the speech, the state’s top two legislators, both Democrats like the governor, offered a guarded assessment.

Senate President Richard J. Codey said that “anything that affects the middle class or the poor is going to get a thorough look at and see whether we can restore some of the cuts that have been proposed.” In a sign of the challenging economy, he added: “But if we do that, we have to also propose a cut of our own.”

Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. said he believed that the budget reflected the consensus that the public was demanding spending cuts. “I think they’ve said with a very clear and loud voice, ‘We’re not prepared to consider tolls or taxes or revenue anywhere until you can convince us and demonstrate to us that you’ve cut everywhere that’s possible.’”

Republicans, meanwhile, said that they felt vindicated, at least in part, because they had been calling for spending cuts for years.

“It’s a good beginning for us,” said Assemblyman Alex DeCroce, the minority leader. “I would like to see them cut a little deeper.”

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How will you cope with record high oil and record low dollar?

The Fed’s relentless policy of interest rate cuts is working like a charm. The dollar hit a record low against the Euro ($1.5057) and oil hit a record $102 in response — up 325% since January 2001’s $24. The record oil price has not yet found its way to the gasoline pumps — but it will. If oil prices remain above $100, by this summer gasoline prices will top $4 a gallon — or $80 for a 20-gallon tank. Back in January 2001, you would have paid about $1.59 a gallon — so you’ve got a 152% price increase there.

What is going on here? According to the New York Times, producer inflation is up 7.4% — the worst since 1981. The U.S. has pursued a weak dollar policy — relative to the Euro, the dollar has lost 63.7% of its value since January 2001 when it traded at 92 cents to the Euro. And since oil is denominated in dollars, a weaker dollar translates into a higher oil price. That excludes the effects of political instability in oil producing regions — Iraq and environs — and rising oil demand in China and India.

How are you coping with this? The Times reports that one person, Phyllis Berry, a 31-year-old factory worker who drives a beat-up Dodge Caravan, said, “I used to fill it up pretty regularly, but now I drive it until the tank is almost empty, looking for the cheapest place to buy gas.” She said that she used to take her four children to the movies four or five times a month. But with the cost of gas, tickets, popcorn and soda adding up to $70, they now go only once a month.

When the Fed’s Chair Ben Bernanke testifies today, he’ll likely dismiss inflation as a lesser concern than the credit crunch. Is he making the right choice? I don’t think so. How about you?

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