February 17, 2015

Christie signs law greenlighting fast track sale of N.J. public water systems | NJ.com A controversial bill signed into law this afternoon by Gov. Chris Christie would allow for fast-tracking the privatization of many public water systems in New Jersey. The Water Infrastructure Protection Act removes the public vote requirement to sell water systems throughout the state under emergency conditions that many systems currently meet. The sponsors of the bill tout it as a way to get desperately-needed investment into water systems that have been neglected to the breaking point by government owners. The emergent conditions that would allow for a fast-track sale include the location of the system within a critical water area, and it being deficient in drinkability or pressure, among others. Opponents warn that it is an attempt to turn private profits off public infrastructure at the expense of taxpayers -- who themselves will end up paying for the purchase prices with increased rates. "We recognize that there are times when private entities might be most capable of operating, maintaining and upgrading drinking water and sanitary wastewater systems," said state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth). "This legislation strikes the right balance of allowing for quicker transfers when water systems are at risk, while maintaining the public's ability to be part of the process in a direct and meaningful way." The Legislature passed the bill in December. Originally introduced in September, the bill drew opposition from a wide variety of industry and environmental groups, including the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, environmental groups like the...
New York City Could See Up To Six Feet Of Sea Level Rise This Century: Report Climate change is already impacting New York City with rising temperatures and sea levels, which will only worsen as the century continues, according to a report released Tuesday from a panel of scientific experts. In its 2015 report, the New York City Panel on Climate Change found that the most populous city in the United States is expected to see more frequent heat waves and extreme precipitation events. This is in line with the national and international trends other leading scientific bodies have observed. The city's average annual temperatures, measured from Central Park, have risen about 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900. From 1971 to 2000, the average annual temperature in the city was 54 degrees, and models predict a a 4.1- to 5.7-degree increase by the middle of the century. Temperatures are projected to rise 5.3 to 8.8 degrees Fahrenheit by the 2080s. Sea level rise, however, may pose an even greater challenge for coastal New York. Average sea levels have risen about 1.2 inches per decade in the city since 1900, or about 1.1 feet overall, according to the new report. This is almost twice the average global rate of 0.5 to 0.7 inches per decade. This trend is expected to accelerate in the coming decades as greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity continue to trap more of the sun's heat, warming and expanding the oceans and melting land-based glaciers and ice caps, among other contributions. “The task at hand is daunting -- and that is why we’re...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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