Local

Fenimore Dump, Roxbury Township, Morris County

SEP planned to install a solar facility at Fenimore, and as part of its preparatory work began importing construction debris to level the site. That debris has been blamed for generating large amounts of hydrogen sulfide — a heavy gas that even in small amounts can be bothersome due to its powerful stench. Several Roxbury residents say the gas made them or their children sick, pointing to respiratory problems, headaches and other ill effects.

RHA’s position: Our stream monitoring is telling us something bad is seeping/leaking from the dump. We don’t know what it is and therefore don’t know how best to mitigate it. We want the DEP to perform a waste site characterization and then remediate the site properly.

UPDATE: For the last three years our stream monitoring data has shown that Ledgewood Brook, which borders the dump, is “moderately impaired.” This may sound mild, but it actually describes a significant degradation of water quality in a stream that should be pristine. There are no natural causes for a stream this far north in our watershed to be impaired.  We have presented this data to the Highlands Council and have made all of it available to the special committee they have tasked with looking into the issue. We will continue to be their expert of choice in the matter and support them as needed.

Kirby Farm/KDC Solar, Bedminster Township, Somerset County

KDC Solar of Bedminster, which first introduced the project in 2012, is seeking a use variance to proceed with the project at the historic 132-acre Kirby Farm. The 33,900 solar panels the company wants to install on 32 acres of the farm would serve the Sanofi-Aventis office complex located on the other side of Interstate Route 287, on Route 202-206 in Bridgewater Township. The matter still remains before the township’s Land Use Board, and faces stiff opposition from residents.

RHA’s position: We support Bedminster Township in defending their excellent Master Plan to deny this application.

Bellemead Development Corp., Tewksbury/Readington Townships, Hunterdon County

RHA, along with the Highlands Coalition and NJ Sierra Club, filed an appeal over the DEP’s permit authorizing Bellemead Development Corp. to discharge 100,000 gallons per day of treated sewage into the North Branch of the Rockaway Creek along the border of Tewksbury and Readington townships. In our opinion and those of our fellow appellants, the 1998 permit cannot be grandfathered under the current DEP and NJ Highlands land use regulations, or under Tewksbury’s current municipal zoning regulations.

RHA’s position: We support the Highlands Council legal appeal of this permit. No lapsed permit should be approved over this long a period of time without applying the current regulations.

Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, Somerset County

Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, Somerset County, sucks up 50 million gallons of public drinking water a year in a drought-prone and densely populated watershed. Yet the course pays only a fraction of the cost per gallon that homeowners pay.

Trump National is scheduled to host the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2022 PGA Championship. The USGA, which awarded the Women’s Open to Trump, is headquartered in Far Hills, N.J. Before entering the race, the GOP presidential candidate told Fortune magazine in February that golf should be for the rich elite. Trump wants a limited number of courses (his, of course) with exorbitant greens fees that would naturally drive up the cost — and price regular folk out of the game.

RHA’s Position: This club wastes millions of gallons of water every year. We supported Bedminster Township when they required the club to build retention ponds all over the site to reduce their depletion of the aquifer. The club has so far refused to use the ponds for “aesthetic reasons” and keeps applying for more and more water permits. We will continue to aggressively protest these applications as they come up.

UPDATE: We look forward to revisiting this issue when the permit comes up for renewal again. Trump National is slated to host the PGA Championship in August 2022. Their water withdrawal permit expires December 2020. The timing should work in our favor.