Sens. bring biofuels to post-Sandy N.J., address climate change

By Erin Voegele | November 09, 2012

Climate change may gain more attention during the next legislative session. During a press conference to discuss post-election results broadcast by C-SPAN on Nov. 7, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., stressed how important the issue of climate change is for him. “I hope we can address it reasonably,” he said, noting that severe storms are overwhelming our country, and “we need to do something about it.”

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., has spoken out in support of Reid’s statement. “As we work with New Jersey families, business and communities to rebuild, after yet another devastating extreme weather event, it’s clearer than ever that climate change poses a direct and dangerous threat to our nation,” said Lautenberg, a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.  “America’s scientists have been sounding the alarm for years on climate change and the costs of inaction continue to pile up.  We will keep fighting for real climate change solutions, such as investments in clean energy, public transportation, and resilient infrastructure that protects communities from extreme weather.”

Earlier in the week Lautenberg, along with Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., asked the U.S. EPA to help expedite delivery of biofuel New Jersey. The two noted that due to damage to fuel terminals within the state, millions of gallons of biofuels were unable to enter the New Jersey market.

The New Jersey senators issued a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, asking the agency to temporarily ease some of the biofuel delivery rules at East Coast shipping facilities in order to relieve the fuel shortages caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Specially, the senators asked that alternative terminals, including those in Baltimore, Md., be allowed to receive train shipments and transfer the fuel to barges for transport to New Jersey. In the letter, Lautenberg and Menendez said that some of these alternative facilities do not have a marine vapor mitigation system, required by EPA regulation. Therefore they asked that Jackson issue a No Action Assurance letter to the affected parties. The EPA granted the request.