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September 25 to October 4
Push to Electric Vehicles
New Jersey is taking comment on an administrative rule that will bar the sale of new fossil-fuel vehicles by 2035. This week the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) took testimony in a remote access meeting on a proposal called Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII). If enacted, the rule would require electric vehicles (EV) to account for a growing share of the state’s new light-duty vehicle sales each year until reaching 100% in 2035.
The New Jerseyans who participated in the DEP public comment meeting were split on ACCII.
Supporters argued that the rule would keep the state moving forward toward its ambitious clean energy, low emission goals. They pushed for enactment of the rule prior to the end of 2023 in order to have an impact on upcoming vehicle model years. Environmental groups also pushed the benefits of the proposed rule for lowering air pollutants as well as contributing to climate change resiliency.
Opponents argued that the state infrastructure was not ready for a shift to electric vehicles, citing that EVs comprised less than 2% of all registered vehicles. They also cited higher initial costs associated with EVs.
The Tax Foundation, looking at the issue nationally, raised questions concerning the current gasoline tax which funds road work on the nation’s interstates. Both state and federal taxes will be impacted by the proposed rule in New Jersey with no clear plan for how those funds for roadwork will be replaced. Add in purchase tax credits for all-electric vehicles, and critics of the rule say many questions remain unanswered.
The public can submit written comments on the proposed rule by October 20. Details are available on the DEP website.
New Census Counts
America Counts is a census bureau initiative aimed at providing stories behind the numbers that go beyond how we traditionally think about the census. This week the focus fell on 1500 different race and ethnic groups. The data is voluminous and available for the interested individual seeking insight into the country’s diversity.
In New Jersey there were some surprises and confirmation of some long-held beliefs.
Among those who identify as “white-alone” in the Garden State, the predominant ethnic groups are Italian (12%) first and Irish (7%) second. Justification is clear for the two big street festivals in the Wildwoods. Combined the two groups are a hair under one out of every five individuals in the white alone category.
The state’s “Asian-alone” population has 44% of its members self-identifying as Asian Indian. Chinese comes in second at nearly 16%.
The state’s “Black-alone” population shows 51% identify as African American with the next two spots on the list being Haitian (5%) and Jamaican (4%).
Twenty-five percent of Hispanic or Latino groups self-identify as Mexican (12%), Ecuadorian (7%) and Columbian (6%).
The “Asian Indian-alone” population increased by 55% between 2010 and 2020. That is an example not just of the state’s diversity but also of the ever-shifting nature of national diversity. “Asian Indian-alone” is now the most populous “Asian-alone” group in the nation as well.
A Change in College Rankings
For years colleges across the country have waited for the U. S News college rankings, ready to incorporate a strong ranking into their recruitment efforts. The 2024 ranks were released a week ago and caused a stir in some quarters. A few higher education institutions are reconsidering whether or not they will continue to participate in the rankings in the future.
A shift in methodology scrambled some of the rankings. To counter the accusation that the rankings focus too much on prestige institutions with highly selective admissions criteria, the 2024 list put a greater emphasis on a social mobility metric and on outcomes according to a press release from U. S. News.
There was no real shift among the power players at the top of the list, where New Jersey is annually represented by number one ranked Princeton University. The University of Pennsylvania also held up the honor of the region with sixth place.
Institutions that benefitted from the new methodology include: Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary which moved up 106 places, the University of Texas at San Antonia (up 92), and California State University, East Bay (up 88).
Not everyone was happy with American University dropping 33 spots, Pepperdine falling 21 levels and Wake Forest, once in the top 30 down by 18. The Chancellor of Vanderbilt posted a letter on the institution’s website critiquing “the new methodology’s many flaws.” Vanderbilt dropped from 13 to 18 in the category of national colleges.
Storm Ophelia crashed our weekend party plans causing delays and postponements across the county. Wildwood took no chances that there would be a repeat of last year’s pop-up car rally.
A BMW stolen in Avalon shows threats to high-end cars persist in the area. The state has moved to increase penalties and provide police with more leverage as the car theft problem persists.
Two emergency rescues in North Wildwood give evidence of the dangers of rip currents in this active Atlantic basin storm season.
September 21 was the annual Run for the Fallen, an event of remembrance of those military men and women killed in the line of duty.
Nick Pittman, known locally as Nor’easter Nick, turned a childhood fantasy into a life-long career. Asked about the upcoming winter season, Pittman said, “You are going to see more sloppy stuff this winter.”
While union employees continue to resist the privatization of the Crest Haven Nursing Home, the county is moving ahead with plans for layoffs at the home and an upcoming bid process for a private company to run the care facility.
Cape May continued to work on changes to its municipal code that will address what the city is now calling light trespass. The idea is to find ways for the resolution of lights trespassing onto neighboring properties causing a nuisance.
Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron resigned his office as the state continued its efforts to have him removed. The moves by the state followed Byron’s guilty plea on federal tax evasion changes.
Ocean City announced four EV changing stations. The effort is part of a slow build up of stations in the county on the heels of significant growth in electric car sales.
Stone Harbor makes progress on an individual permit from the DEP. The goal is to take actions on the beach that will help retain sand longer after major beach nourishments.
Graduating from Coast Guard boot camp is a big enough thrill, but for one of this year’s recruits it was only part of the day’s honors. An 18 year-old from Africa, via Irving, Texas, also became a U. S. citizen on the same day.
A Monmouth University poll showed that most New Jersians continue to support the ban on plastic shopping bags. The poll says most of the respondents have acquired 10 or more reusable bags since the law went into effect.
Spout Off of the Week
STONE HARBOR – Can we stop talking about the parking app in Stone Harbor. Over 300,000 people used the app properly and didn’t get a ticket. The others took a chance and because of the enforcement they received a ticket. It is not the apps problem its a people problem. Also, Stone Harbor has the lowest hourly rate in the County.
Read more spouts at spoutoff.capemaycountyherald.com.