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The Wrap: NJ Emissions Standards, Dying Broke, Green Wave

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By Herald Staff

Get ‘The Wrap,’ our take on the news of the week, in your inbox every Tuesday. Sign up at https://bit.ly/HeraldNewsletters.

Nov. 20-26

NJ Emissions Standards

The Murphy administration is pushing ahead with its clean energy initiative. One of the more controversial of the recent moves was the new state Department of Environmental Protection rule on electric vehicles.

By rule, and not by legislative action, the state will prohibit the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. Annual targets toward that goal will begin in the new car model year 2027, with cars hitting showrooms in 2026.

The New Jersey Business and Industry Association says the new rule does not take “costs or feasibility” into account. Critics raise numerous concerns, arguing that the transition is being rushed when the infrastructure is not yet prepared and fossil-fuel-free generation of the electricity required is looking problematic.

The Cape May County Chamber of Commerce is one of many business groups urging the Legislature to step in and stop the rule. Meanwhile Murphy says, “The steps we take today to lower emissions will improve air quality and mitigate climate impacts.”

The New Jersey Sierra Club calls the rule a “huge win.” The New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers calls it “an extreme government mandate.”

Dying Broke

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) teamed with the New York Times to examine the ways in which the costs of long-term care are impacting millions of families across the nation. What their report calls the crisis of long-term care has led to “many in the boomer generation facing the prospect of exhausting their financial resources as the price tag for care explodes.”

The report discusses the “no-win” solutions facing families because of the “high costs of assisted living facilities, nursing homes and aides at home.” As the county transitions its only publicly supported facility to private sector management this may take on special meaning for some families in Cape May County. How will new management cut into the annual deficits that led the county to withdraw from management of Crest Haven?

According to Forbes, the United States spent $475 billion on long-term care in 2020, up from $366 billion in 2016. With an aging population and a significant portion of that long-term care expense “out of pocket” for those needing the care, Forbes estimates that those who need the care are twice as likely to die broke as those who do not.

Green Wave

Gallup reports that America’s support for legal marijuana has hit a high of 70%. Majority support for legal cannabis is present across all major demographic and party groups. Support has increased in parallel with self-reported use of the drug.

The polling results also showed declining concern with the effect of regular marijuana use on adults. There was some concern about the effect on young adults and teen users.

Specifically Democrats support legal marijuana at an 87% level, while Republicans are at 55%. College graduates are at 66%, with those who have no college at 70%. Geographically the greatest support comes from the Midwest at 75%, compared to the East at 66%.

The nation has reached what Gallup calls a “broad consensus” on legalizing marijuana. The federal government still maintains the drug on its list of controlled dangerous substances.

In Cape May County, one cannabis retailer has opened shop in West Cape May, while both Middle and Lower townships are supporting applications for retail licenses.

Over half of all Americans will live in states where marijuana will be legal following the move by Ohio voters to approve recreational marijuana use in the 2023 elections. Ohio will become the 24th state to allow recreational use of cannabis. Medical use is legal in 38 states.

Happenings

Wildwood Crest continues to deal with bulkhead leaks. The governing body adopted an ordinance requiring all back-bay bulkheads to come up to a level of 8 feet. The borough also wants bulkheads watertight.

A wind farm developer who hopes to secure a state wind farm project has established $10.6 million in two clean energy investments.

Stone Harbor council backed away for now from a controversial proposal to combine its planning and zoning boards.

Gov. Phil Murphy is trying to lock his targets for 100% clean energy generation into law.

Middle Township has established new business registration rules so that it can enforce state requirements regarding insurance coverage.

Middle says no to two retail cannabis applications even as it looks to new revenue from eventually taxing cannabis businesses in the township.

A federal electricity watchdog warns of outages if the winter of 2023-2024 experiences significant cold snaps. Meanwhile an unrelated power outage was resolved in North Cape May.

A Stone Harbor councilwoman continues to urge peer review of a recent beach feasibility study for which the borough paid over $175,000.

Four school boards in the county will have new members who won seats through write-in campaigns. All were districts where there were not enough candidates on the ballot for the number of seats available.

A single-masted sailboat was beached in Lower Township with catastrophic damage. It will have to be removed over land.

Lower Township’s Madie Gibson was part of the Athlone Town AFC team that won the Sports Direct Women’s FAI Cup.

Santa was seen visiting Rio Grande fire district neighborhoods, checking his list of who has been naughty and nice.

Ernie Troiano Jr., who was recently elected to the Wildwood Board of Commissioners, has asked the court to toss his second state indictment for health benefits fraud.

A plea deal is expected in the case of a man accused of killing two due to his actions behind the wheel at an unauthorized car rally in Wildwood.

Dennis Township Committee passed an ordinance that would extend a prohibition on loitering to “quasi-public” places and ban sleeping in cars and changing clothes in such places.

A developer has proposed a sports complex for the Cape May County Airport area. Supporters say such a project could increase offseason visits to the county.

Spout Off of the Week

Erma – I don’t think we need a sports complex in Erma. How about keeping the open space for everyone to enjoy. Why do people move here to escape and then want to make it like the place they ran away from? Isn’t the population of kids on the decline, anyway?

Read more spouts at spoutoff.capemaycountyherald.com. 

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Spout Off

Upper Township – I wish that the Caldwell Park wooden playground was replaced with a similar playground in size and structure! I understand the reasons for demolishing, but every time I drive by, it is so empty!

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Cape May County – The problem at the County Park & Zoo isn't too little asphalt, it's too many cars. Bulldozing acres of forest could have been avoided. When demand is high, raise the price. Instead of…

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Avalon/NYC – I have an LLC registered in New York city and Albany. This morning I called my lawyer to dissolve all my assets in New York state. Liberals, you can have New York, California, Connecticut, New…

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