Feather in its LCAPP
BPU is expected to finally unveil its long-awaited and long-delayed energy master plan this month. While the board has been mum about the reasons for the delay, one source suggests to Grapevine that the delay may be due in part to the legal and regulatory issues surrounding the BPU’s controversial Long-Term Capacity Agreement pilot program.
LCAPP would subsidize a trio of natural-gas fueled power plants, but the program is in jeopardy following a ruling last month by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Chris Christie administration is believed to be favoring natural gas in its energy planning, and the source, an LCAPP critic, said the governor may have wanted to keep the master plan secret until it becomes clear whether the subsidy, and the new natural gas plants, will be viable.
Ongoing LCAPPital campaign
Speaking of LCAPP, the parties involved continue to send confusing messages about the program’s status. BPU has suggested it would need to seek other avenues, outside of FERC jurisdiction, to make the subsidy work. Meanwhile, two of the three companies awarded the subsidy say they’re moving forward as planned.
If those companies are undeterred despite what appears to be a damning ruling for LCAPP, does that mean the program wasn’t necessary in the first place? A legislator involved with the program dismissed that notion when contacted by Grapevine. New Jersey needs new generation capacity, the legislator said, and LCAPP “provides the incentive to make sure it gets done.”
Snow of support
Six partners in the Mountain Creek ski and snowboard resort, in Vernon, have shown major support for the New Jersey Republican State Committee. In the first quarter, more than one-quarter of the party committee’s fundraising came from the resort partners.
Robert Bauer, Rosalind Davidowitz, Burton Koffman, David Koffman, Jeffrey Koffman and Gail Mulvihill each gave maximum $25,000 contributions to the committee, according to a state Election Law Enforcement Commission report. They are partners in resort owner Mountain Creek Acquisition LLC.
Under lock and key
The first meeting of the Christie-appointed UMDNJ advisory committee was held April 25 at the Statehouse. It might as well have been held at Fort Knox, as far as Grapevine is concerned — no details have yet leaked.
New Jersey’s higher education community went to Trenton to announce its plan to seek a 2012 election bond referendum for construction and facilities renovations, but don’t expect to hear more any time soon.
The colleges are quietly gauging support from Trenton. One key issue: are lawmakers willing to budget money to service higher education facilities bonds, which would run to tens of millions of dollars a year? An insider said the referendum likely would benefit private colleges and universities and community colleges, as well as public four-year colleges. A survey by the state college association found 60 percent of New Jerseyans would support the investment.
“Isn’t that a done deal?” That was the response when Grapevine recently asked a Bergen County observer about the possible reopening of Pascack Valley Hospital, which Hackensack University Medical Center is now operating as an emergency facility.
It’s not good for the main opponents — Valley Hospital and Englewood Hospital and Medical Center — if the general view on the street is that the hospital will reopen. But don’t count them out. A member of the state’s legal community said Valley’s Robin Goldfischer is one of the toughest lawyers in New Jersey.
Joansing for Verplanck
Forget “Where’s Waldo?” Everyone seems to want to know where Joan Verplanck is. Grapevine was alerted that the former state chamber president was spotted having lunch at Settimo Cielo with Barbara Buono. This is apparently significant because there was talk — later debunked — that Verplanck had chatted with Buono about working for the Senate Democrats. Verplanck, now at Cushman & Wakefield, also has touted Buono as a future governor.
Since it launched in December, Grapevine has been home to a few recurring items: PSE&G, Xanadu and of course, LCAPP, LCAPP and more LCAPP. And now, Verplanck. Some of these tips have come from Republicans. So we have to wonder: why the GOP paparazzi treatment for Verplanck?
Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at email@example.com.