Eulogy for A Whitman

July 2nd, 2015 1 comment

Funeral For A Non-Friend

Christie Whitman testifies before the House Judiciary Committee to defend her post 9/11 EPA actions and remarks

Christie Whitman testifies before the House Judiciary Committee to defend her post 9/11 EPA actions and remarks

Since we are doing some truth telling today, thought I’d pass on the bad news that the Star Ledger reports that John Whitman, hubby of Christie Whitman, died today at 71. According to the story, he suffered a “catastrophic brain injury”.

What the hell is that?

Did he fall off a horse? Have a stroke? Get hit over the head with a hammer by Ms. Whitman?

Are the wealthy unaccountable in death too?

My classless response:

I wish I could summon the compassion to say I felt bad for Ms. Whitman. I really do – for Whom the Bell Tolls and all that.

But, because she caused so much pain and suffering – and yes death - to so many families (including my own), I’m sorry but I can’t.

And Mr. Whitman made a career in Wall Street finance – the parasitic greedy sector that has destroyed the US economy, plundered the planet, and imposed poverty and downward mobility on generations.

Again, sorry. But I can’t summon the compassion.

[Update: My comments keep getting deleted at the SL/, so I thought I’d raise the issues here.

The SL story portrays, in an unqualified way, the Whitman administration in a very favorable light.

Does the reporter, Matt Friedman, know anything about Ms Whitman’s record in NJ or the behind he scenes role of Mr. Whitman that he so favorably portrayed?

Did Matt Freidman report during the Whitman administration? How does he know what he wrote about?

Did he read the Bergen Record’s prize winning journalism “Open For Business” series (featuring now deceased former SL reporter Dusty McNichol?

The story is an insult to Dusty’s legacy – do journalists have any loyalty or integrity at all?

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“Small Effortless Changes” – The New Model Of Individual Environmental Entrepreneurism and Sustainable Stewardship

July 2nd, 2015 No comments

Keep On Shopping, Building Houses, Driving, Boating, & Planting Native Vegetation

No need for activism, advocacy of government regulation and political accountability

Ecotourism, entrepreneurs, corporations, and local businesses will save the world

A Shared Vision Photo Exclusive

(A Photo-Note From A Neoliberal Nightmare)


A Lot Has Gone Right So Far:


  • Governor Christie has signed the nation’s strongest lawn fertilizer law. (It originated in the office of SBB.)
  • Governor Christie has persuaded Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station to close in 2019 instead of 2029.

The next positive step is to declare Barnegat Bay “impaired” in order to use the tools of the Clean Water Act to insure accountability by public officials.

It is only by measuring that true accountability can be achieved and Barnegat Bay can be restored.

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Christie DEP Deputy Commissioner Actually Believes The Lies

July 2nd, 2015 No comments

Beyond Drinking the Kool-Aid

Man in green tie - no irony - is Dave Glass, Deputy Commissioner of the Christie DEP

Man in green tie – no irony – is Dave Glass, Deputy Commissioner of the Christie DEP

Unlike his boss DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, DEP Deputy Commissioner Dave Glass is a nice guy. Really.

glass7But just like his boss, Glass is unqualified – by training, knowledge, and experience – to hold that position.

I ran across Mr. Glass as he was standing in line, waiting to enter the Christie Presidential Campaign kickoff at Livingston High School.

Just after I photographed him, he stepped out of the line and came over to chat.

I assumed it would be small talk, perhaps just a classy gesture on his part to greet a vigorous opponent.

So as I shook his hand, I mumbled some small talk about the weather…

I was surprised that he immediately initiated and aggressively engaged a policy debate. He replied in an accusatory tone (close paraphrase):

“So you think we’re not doing enough on flooding?

We’re doing lots of  buyouts – in comparison, NY City is doing nothing.

I assumed he must have been reacting so strongly due to my recent testimony opposing the DEP Flood Hazard rule or to this recent post - maybe they hit a nerve.

I shot back with “but you’re doing all those buyouts inland, and nothing on the coast”.

In response, Glass shifted gears, and responded as if he were slamming the trump card on the table and wanting to yell Booyah!:

We adopted the 1 foot flood elevation standard in the emergency rule

Say what? I couldn’t believe my ears. Glass was taking credit for that?

Could Glass actually not know that the Lisa Jackson DEP issued that standard in a 2007 Flood Hazard rule?

That DEP did that as a conservative move in response to climate change driven sea level rise, something Gov. Christie has called an “esoteric issue” he had no time for?

Did Glass think that I didn’t know that? Did he think I wouldn’t challenge him? Or is he just used to talking to sycophants who take his word for it?

Are you kidding me.

I delicately told Glass that he was mistaken, that the 1 foot “free board” elevation standard was adopted by the Corzine DEP, but Glass insisted that his Christie DEP had done so.

Two or three times Glass insisted he was right, that the emergency rule enacted that standard.

I kept telling him he was flat out wrong – he finally conceded and put his tail between his legs. As he walked away, he mumbled something like “Yeah, I’m not going to argue with you – you know this stuff”, and got back on the Christie campaign line.

Poor guy, he’s in so far over his head that he’s come to actually believe the lies.

And I hope he took a personal day and asked the ethics officer to review his attendance at this political event.

Since it appears that Mr. Glass reads Wolfenotes, here’s the facts he must not be getting from his DEP staff regarding the history of the 1 foot elevation standard, in DEP’s own words:

The Department recognizes that sea level rise is a concern and will continue to evaluate necessary measures to address the effects of sea level rise. The Department promulgated new Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13, in November 2007. These rules require new structures, roadways, and parking areas to be elevated 1 foot above the regulatory flood elevation. Under the rules, the Department exerts jurisdiction over tidally flooded areas and therefore this standard applies in areas subject to tidal flooding. The elevation requirement provides a safeguard against the potential effects of sea level rise. (@ p. 57)

And here it is again, in a different DEP regulatory document:

RESPONSE: The Department acknowledges that sea levels may rise in the future. However, there is no agreement in the scientific community regarding how quickly or by how much sea  levels will rise. The requirements for new buildings to be set back from the top of bank and to have a lowest floor at least one foot above the flood hazard area design flood elevation will provide some protection against a sea level rise for these structures. In absence of conclusive data on which to base substantive standards, the Department believes that general permit 7 will adequately provide for the protection of the environment and the public safety, health and general welfare. If sea levels do indeed rise in the future, this will have the effect of raising the flood hazard area design flood elevation for future construction.  (@ p. 359)

Sometimes, little thing are quite revealing.

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Grab That Burger, Fries & Coke With Your Bare Hands – Bag The Plastic Fork & Straws!

July 2nd, 2015 No comments

*Save The Ocean!

Action Alert! You can help save the ocean!

I, like, just read this, like, totally awesome story:

Like wow! I can help save the ocean, like, by just like not using straws and plastic forks – Like I’m down with that!

I feel so good I think I’ll like grab a cheeseburger and go shopping at the Mall!  Then take  a cruise in my SUV down to the marina and jump in the yatch and go (over) fishing.

Gee, silly me, after I just read the Pope’s encyclical, I thought ocean ecosystems were crashing due to pollution, overfishing, climate change driven acidification and warming, and overdevelopment  along the shore,  old sewage treatment plants and pipes, and  industrial chemical discharges.

Never mind the ecological collapse of Barnegat Bay and those jellyfish, gotta focus on what’s important!

Governor Christie must be doing such a great job protecting the ocean – I saw this like really cool picture of the Gov. and Cindy on the beach! – and Cindy just joined with the Guv to file a lawsuit to stop those bad scientists from blowing loud horns that kill dolphins! Aren’t those two like awesome!


It’s just those silly plastic forks and straws that they can’t get us to stop using! It is all our fault!

The Pope warned me that fixing all that would take a radical change in our consumptive US lifestyle and radical changes in our economic system (capitalism), politics, and human values.

I feel so much better now! Thanks COA, for clearing that all up.

Where can I send you a check for such fine work?

(or is this another in those hard hitting grass roots campaigns generously funded by the Dodge Foundation?)

* In case you haven’t, like, figured it out, this is, like, snark).

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Has DEP Detected More Radioactive Leaks At Oyster Creek?

July 1st, 2015 No comments

DEP Quietly Proposes Radioactive Strontium Groundwater Cleanup Standard

[Intro Note: Keep in mind that this is posed as a question, because DEP documents are murky.]

Last week the Christie DEP – not known for strengthening regulatory protections for NJ’s water resources or aggressively cleaning up toxic sites – quietly proposed a new groundwater cleanup standard for the radioactive compound Strontium (not Strontium 90).

The DEP proposal, just released for public comment, states:

In response to a Site Remediation program request in March 2015 for an Interim Ground Water Quality Criterion for strontium (Sr), the Office of Science evaluated the relevant information available from the USEPA and the scientific literature. Based on this review, a draft Interim Specific Ground Water Quality Criterion of 1500 μg/L for strontium is recommended. Derivation of the criterion is described below.

An “Interim Specific Ground Water Quality Criterion” (ISGWQC) is typically developed by DEP to respond to the need to cleanup a specific site, when there is no statewide groundwater standard for a pollutant on the books.

Curiously, the DEP ISGWQC proposal does not state where strontium was detected in groundwater, what facility might be the source of the groundwater contamination, and why the DEP toxic site cleanup program made the request.

Last October, EPA made a determination to develop a drinking water standard for strontium. See EPA fact sheet that explains the various isotopes of strontium.

Japanese officials recently announced the highest levels of strontium 90 ever recorded from the Fukushima plant.

Earlier this year, environmental regulators in Vermont found huge leaks of strontium 90 from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

On February 9, 2015, the Vermont Department of Health issued a press release:

BURLINGTON – Strontium-90 has been detected in samples of ground water collected in August 2014 from monitoring wells within the boundaries of Entergy Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon. These detections were made as part of the Vermont Department of Health’s routine environmental radiological surveillance program.

This is the first time Sr-90 has been found in ground water at Vermont Yankee. The water is not available for consumption, the levels detected are well below the EPA’s safe drinking water threshold, and there is no immediate risk to health.

Sr-90 is a product of nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons, and does not occur naturally in the environment. It is found in low levels all around the world. Sr-90 gives off radiation and persists in the environment for a long time. It has a half-life of 29 years, which means this is the time it takes to decay to one-half of its original concentration. Ingesting Sr-90 at high enough levels is linked to bone cancer, cancer of soft tissue near the bone, and leukemia.

As a part of the state’s routine environmental analysis, 21 samples from different ground water monitoring wells were collected during the first week of August. The Health Department sent these samples to its contract laboratory, which had recently entered into an agreement with the State to complete analysis for hard-to-detect radionuclides such as Sr-90. The new contract laboratory employs a well-established testing methodology that detects Sr-90 at a lower level of detection. On November 25, the laboratory reported to the Health Department that four of the samples had levels of Sr-90 above the lower limit of detection. In consultation with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to ensure that these new findings were accurate and not anomalous, the Health Department had portions of the same samples sent to Oak Ridge National Laboratory for independent analysis.

Is NJ DEP monitoring groundwater at Oyster Creek with the new lower detection method used by Vermont to discover the “hard to detect” Strontium 90 problem? If so, what are the results? If not, why not?

The Vermont Yankee plant is a very similar design and just as old as the Oyster Creek NJ nuclear plant, a generation of what I have called Zombie Nukes.

DEP has a history of suppression of whistelblower disclosures about Oyster Creek risks, so it wouldn’t be the first time that they hushed up problems at the site.

Over 5 years ago, DEP discovered that the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant was leaking radioactive tritium to groundwater:

So, has DEP discovered strontium in the groundwater, a far more serious form of radioactive groundwater pollution from Oyster Creek?

If not, what is the source of the strontium and why is DEP issuing a new groundwater standard for it?

Intrepid reporters should call the DEP press office and file OPRA requests and find out!

DEP doesn’t respond to my inquiries.

[End Note: I would’t be surprised if the source of the strontium is naturally occurring – Republicans have a long history of wanting to blame nature for environmental problems, from Reagan’s “trees cause air pollution” toWhitman DEP’s ‘Sunlight causes eutrophication” to “wetlands are a source of water pollution” “Radon is a hazard, but not chemical vapor intrusion” to “sunspots cause climate change”,  to ticks, and bears, and coyotes are dangerous, to Bob Martin’s and his DEP Office of Local Government’s claims “sycamore’s are dangerous” and “an invasive species”.

Every one of these claims have been made by Republicans. They hate nature and view it as a risk. They love industry and profits and deregulate them. It’s just how they role.~ ~~ end]

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