ITL Volume 13 Issue 16 - Thursday, November 3, 2022

NJDEP Flood Rule Exempts Road & Rail Projects, BPU Approves $1B in Onshore Upgrades for Offshore Wind, Danielle Alpert Joins the NJ Public Charter Schools Association & more 

NJDEP Flood Rule Exempts Road and Rail Projects

The Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed flood rule is designed to protect communities by requiring builders to better prepare for extreme weather, like the flooding brought by the remnants of Hurricane Ida last year.

That the rule includes a carve-out for public road and railway projects suggests a balancing act within Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration between regulatory aspirations about climate change and construction demands. The exemption appears to acknowledge that new building standards could interfere with the state’s ability to spend billions of dollars coming here from last year’s infrastructure law.

Construction industry officials support this proposed carve-out while environmental advocates are lining up to criticize it.

The DEP rule, which is not final and won’t take effect until sometime next year, is meant to ensure safer and more cautious development along flood-prone rivers. It would require new building projects near those rivers to be two feet higher than they are now and update the amount of rainfall engineers need to account for when planning stormwater controls.

BPU Approves $1B in Onshore Upgrades for Offshore Wind 

Last week, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved $1 billion in infrastructure projects intended to help bring offshore wind energy to millions of homes throughout the state.

The decision is among the most significant and expensive in the BPU’s history. Wind energy is necessary for Gov. Phil Murphy and President Joe Biden to meet their climate change and clean energy goals, but past projects have stalled in part because local communities have tried to block the power lines that bring the energy ashore.

The BPU is trying to solve that problem by creating a single landing spot for power lines in a way that reduces local opposition and saves money.

More than a dozen companies submitted proposals for 80 different projects, which the board spent more than a year evaluating. Some of the winners include FirstEnergy, EDF Renewables North America and Shell New Energies US. Board members also ended up combining several ideas from more than a half dozen different developers.

The largest of the projects to get the BPU’s backing is a $500 million landing spot to be built near Sea Girt through a partnership of Shell, EDF and FirstEnergy's Jersey Central Power & Light. The companies will create what amounts to a giant onshore plug for offshore power lines to connect to.

RCSG’s Danielle Alpert Joins the NJ Public Charter Schools Association

It is with mixed emotions that we share the news that our own Danielle Alpert is moving on to a new career opportunity with the New Jersey Public Charter Schools Association (NJPCSA), serving as a Senior Vice President of Communications and Advocacy.

“Over the last 10 years, our clients and friends have been fortunate to get to know Danielle can attest to what an amazing person she is, and to the high-level of client service she provides,” said Eric Shuffler, founder and managing partner of the River Crossing Strategy Group.  

“Danielle is a consummate professional and a tireless advocate for New Jersey’s public school students.  She will be sorely missed here at the firm – but we are also excited to support Danielle in her next challenge of ensuring quality educational experiences are available for all children, regardless of zip code,” added Shuffler.

Danielle brings a wealth of experience to NJPCSA, including previously leading RCSG’s extensive education practice where she focused the last ten years of her career on improving educational outcomes for all students in New Jersey. Danielle serves on the New Jersey Council for Young Children and has been named several times to Former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg’s New Jersey Women’s Power List and was recently recognized as a ROI-NJ Influencer in the Top Women in Business category.

“While I can’t wait to get to work for NJPCSA, this moment is bittersweet,” added Danielle. “RCSG is a family and I have been blessed to work with some of the most respected political and policy minds in the country while at the firm, including the brilliant late Jamie Fox.”

New Legislator Profile: Assemblyman Christian E. Barranco (R-26)

Assemblyman Christian Barranco was sworn in as assemblyman in January 2022.

Barranco is a journeyman in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 102, joining the local in 2003. He has worked as project manager on many industrial and energy infrastructure projects for McPhee Electric in South Plainfield since 2015 and for Beach Electric Company in Paterson from 2014 to 2015.

Previously, he was a Pompton Lakes Borough councilman from 2017 to 2019.

Assemblyman Barranco serves on the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology, Transportation and Independent Authorities and the Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.