The WaPo & Corporate Democrats Have Gone John Bircher – McCarthyite

February 23rd, 2020 No comments

Sanders’ “Socialism” Would Realize FDR’s “Economic Bill of Rights”

While some alternative media outlets are having some fun reporting on the corporate media’s Nevada win meltdown and repeated attacks on the Sanders campaign, I must have missed this one. Check it out.

First of all, consider the fact that this polling is coming from Democrats, not right wing Republicans.

I’d guess it was coming from the Buttigieg campaign, not Bloomberg.

Yes, Bloomberg did call Sanders a Communist on national TeeVee, but the Bloomer campaign seems too dim witted to pull this off.

In contrast, given the express red baiting, Cold War revival ideology, and harsh attack on socialism, the messaging fits very well within the Buttigieg camp’s ideological affinity and personal relationships with the National Security State (he’s former Navy Intelligence): (Source)

“The Post reported that a private poll “paid for by a rival presidential candidate,” likely Bloomberg, had tested the following negative message: “Bernie Sanders is a socialist who supports un-American, big government plans that will spend trillions of dollars, lead to higher taxes, and destroy our way of life.

Like all good propaganda, there’s some truth in there.

Yes, Sanders would try to “destroy” the corporate Billionaire dominance of  “our [anti-democratic]  way of life” and the power of climate deniers and corporate polluters to block real action on the climate emergency.

Yes, Sanders does propose “big government plans that will spend trillions of dollars” – I am particularly impressed by his Green New Deal plan. Medicare for all, free college tuition and massive jobs and public housing programs are hugely popular as well.

Yes, Sanders’ Medicare For All plan would “lead to higher taxes” – mostly on the wealthy and corporations – while eliminating insurance premiums, co-pays, deductibles and out of pocket expenses for working families (averaging over $12,000/year) and saving over 68,000 lives and $450 billion/year, according to a Yale study published in the Lancet.

But no, none of this is “un-American” – in fact, it is the fulfillment of FDR’s original New Deal promise of an “economic bill of rights”:

[FDR’s] remedy was to declare an “economic bill of rights” to guarantee these specific rights:

All that, my friends, is as American as Apple Pie.

And thank goodness young people overwhelmingly understand that.

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NJ Environmental Leaders Are Incoherent And Incompetent

February 21st, 2020 No comments

Rampant Media Bias – Sickening “Progressive Neoliberalism

By giving away billions of dollars to nonprofit groups …, Mr. Bloomberg has made allies out of people who might otherwise be vocally against him.  ~~~ NY Times Op-Ed by the author of “The Elite Charade”.

I call this the PSE&G Model to control and co-opt the Green Mafia, but it also applies to Foundation funding.

[Update: less than 24 hours after I mentioned “The PSE&G Model” of corruption, Frank Kummer of the Philadelphia Inquirer  wrote a story that perfectly illustrates the Model. ~~~ end update]

This is my 3,000th post since creating this site in 2009 and it will be short and sweet – my last for a very long while, at least with respect to writing about NJ environmental policy and politics.

I simply can no longer tolerate the incoherence, incompetence, sellouts, influence of Foundation and corporate funding, media bias, political corruption, (and worse) I see every day.

Today’s news brought the straws that broke this camel’s back.

I)  Climate Sellout

The first was a remarkable story – ironically reported by NJBIZ, the media outlet of the business community and NOT written by the self proclaimed premier energy and environmental policy issues outlet NJ Spotlight – about a “2030 Climate Pollutants Letter” from 90 “progressive groups” to Gov. Murphy.

Incredibly, this climate letter – signed by the some of the same individuals and groups that just days ago unconditionally praised and aggressively applauded the release of Gov. Murphy’s Energy Master Plan and Executive Order 100 in the Governor’s own press release – seeks a core climate objective that should have been a basic demand extracted as a political commitment (or deliverable) before supporting Gov. Murphy’s EMP & EO 100.

(see our initial analyses of the Murphy EMP & EO 100, in reverse chronology: here and here and here- it’s likely that this shamed some people into writing this new “letter”)

Equally incredible is the fact that most of the groups that signed on to this climate 2030 letter also are members of the Empower NJ Coalition. That coalition has waged a 2 year political campaign to demand basically one critical thing: that Gov. Murphy impose a moratorium on new fossil infrastructure.

Not only did Gov. Murphy’s EMP and EO 100 reject the moratorium, but the letter ignores the Empower NJ coalition’s moratorium demand! It has evaporated into thin air!

The Empower NJ coalition got screwed. [let me be clear and name names: the Coalition was sold out by Doug O’Malley, Amy Goldsmith, and Ed Potasnak]

Absurdly, some of their new “2030 climate letter” coalition colleagues joined and applauded the Gov. for screwing them, and now the whole mess is just swept under the rug.

This is intolerable political incompetence and betrayal.

[Update: Jeff Tittel forwarded me his recent Op-Ed. Jeff gets it right, echoing many of the criticisms I’ve made. Jeff is the lone exception, see:

II)  Cowardice on Corporate Subsidies for Sprawl

The second was a NJ Spotlight story on a legislative proposal sponsored by Senate President Sweeney [D] and Senator Oroho, [R], former NJ representative to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Incredibly, this legislation seeks to provide corporate subsidies to develop the protected Pinelands and Highlands regions of the state. see:

Let me repeat that: the legislation – “a proposal, unveiled at a press conference in Lafayette in Sussex County” – seeks not only more insane corporate subsidies, but subsidies for development in the protected Pinelands and Highlands, the last relatively undeveloped places in NJ (and no doubt with no consideration at all to the climate or regional implications).

So, how did the so called “leaders” of the two so called “conservation groups” whose exclusive mission is to protect and preserve these last remaining natural regions of NJ react to this insane legislation?

Let me give the full quotes, so you too can get the full stench:

Mixed reaction

The proposal received mostly mixed responses from conservationists who have pushed for greater protections for the Highlands and Pinelands.

“As long as this doesn’t affect the Highlands Act, I think it’s a good idea,’’ said Elliot Ruga, policy director of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, an organization dedicated to preservation in the region. “It was never intended for these towns to be ghost towns.’’

Carleton Montgomery, executive director of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, noted the proposal doesn’t appear to change any of the Pinelands Commission’s development rules.

Nevertheless, he questioned whether the region needs to promote economic growth. “There is no evidence at all the region falls behind other areas of the state in economic growth,’’ Montgomery said.

Both Montgomery and Ruga should resign.

They are rank cowards – or they are incompetent – and no longer have the credibility required to lead real preservation oriented organizations. (Ruga was always unqualified and incompetent and their organizations are both drunk on Penn and Dodge Foundation money).

(Adding to a long list, Sweeney worked with Gov. Christie to ram the SJG pipeline through the Pinelands, has blocked confirmation of Gov. Murphy’s Pinelands and Highlands appointments, and shilled for the nuclear, chemical and oil & gas polluters in his district. He sponsored the nuke bailout – including placing a cost cap on renewable power – and may even be behind the stealth LNG export plant on the Delaware River. If Montgomery & Ruga and NJ Spotlight can’t call out Sweeney on all that, they are totally pathetic and need to go.)

III)  Spotlight Ignores Progressive Budget Demands While Printing Neoliberal Austerity

Third, NJ Spotlight not only ignored  the progressive “2030 Climate Letter” press release and found the space to publish a horrible story on the Sweeney/Oroho insanity plan, they also ignored a letter from 48 progressive organizations calling on Gov. Murphy to fund various public health, climate, DEP and public health projects in his upcoming State Budget.

On top of that, instead of writing a story about progressive budget demands from NJ based public interest groups during the run-up to the Gov.’s budget address, NJ Spotlight chose to publish a story about a national technical Report by the allegedly “non-partisan” but clearly Neoliberal austerity finance oriented “Volker Alliance”. (yes, that’s former Fed Chair Paul Volker’s outfit. No bias and ideology operating here, no, none at all!).

The Volker Alliance Report  was Orwellianly titled (with a capital T): “Truth and Integrity In State Budgeting”.

But, that so called “truth” is based on just “five building blocks of budgeting” (page vi).

Despite the fact that a Budget is a fundamental expression of public policy visions, values, priorities, and people, those so called “five building blocks of budgeting” do not include core budgeting objectives, such as:

  • fairness and justice – how the budget impacts the huge inequality of wealth & income
  • the distribution of benefits and burdens in the budget allocations & revenues
  • corporate subsidies, corporate taxes, and corporate profits
  • the relationship between public and private interests
  • the needs of the people and the natural environment they depend upon
  • the needs of the people, as expressed democratically
  • the need for investments
  • the climate emergency

The Volker Alliance report is a narrow technocratic exercise in what is basically financial accounting. It is based upon a sterile vision of austerity and neoliberal ideology. All that is very far from the “Truth” about a State Budget.

NJ Spotlight tells readers nothing about this broader context.

That Report must not be allowed to displace a public policy driven and normative budgeting process or evaluation criteria.

If all this is what now passes for public interest advocacy and issue driven journalism, I give up. I’m done.

[Full disclosure: I receive a small state pension which does not include health benefits.]

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Trump Border Wall Construction Blasting Sacred Sites – Native Ceremony & Protest Shames Trump Border Policy

February 15th, 2020 No comments

Native Lands And Organ Pipe National Monument Being Savaged

Solemn Protest At US Border Patrol In Why, Arizona


About 25 Native Americans and 50 supporters held a protest and traditional Native American spiritual ceremony today in response to the destruction of sacred lands of the Tohono O’odham Nation, whose ancestral homelands and sacred burial sites are being blasted and desecrated to build Trump’s border wall.


We’ve been camping in the Sonoran desert on the edge of Tohono O’odham lands near Ajo, Arizona, about 40 miles from the Border and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.


So, I was proud to join the protest and stand in solidarity with the indigenous peoples whose lands were stolen to make way for the current militarized US – Mexican border region.


After lining about 1/2 mile of Route 85 just south of the US Border Patrol’s station in Why, Arizona with signs and receiving support from passing motorists, the protesters split into two groups who stood in concentric circles.

The inner ring was comprised of native peoples who participated in a ceremony led by their Medicine Man.


Supporters stood in solidarity and witnessed the ceremony in the outer ring.

I have never witnessed such a ceremony before, and it was very moving.

After the ceremony, the groups recombined and walked up the road to the US Border Patrol station.


Ryan of The Intercept has been doing outstanding reporting here for awhile now. Read his most recent report: (read the whole thing!)

CONTRACTORS WORKING FOR the Trump administration are blowing apart a mountain on protected lands in southern Arizona to make way for the president’s border wall. The blasting is happening on the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a tract of Sonoran Desert wilderness long celebrated as one of the nation’s great ecological treasures, that holds profound spiritual significance to multiple Native American groups.







your author

your author – at “the Crossroads”, “All Along The Watchtower”


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Murphy DEP Narrowing The Scope of Climate Regulation – “Targeted” Reforms Designed To “Modernize” Regulations

February 13th, 2020 No comments

Murphy DEP “Listening to All Sides”, including polluters, developers, & deniers

DEP Adopts posture of  “Collaboration”, Not Leadership

[See End Note]

I recently wrote that the Murphy DEP was “running away from climate regulations“.

I based that initial assessment on over 35 years of DEP regulatory policy work, the Murphy administration’s climate record thus far, a cursory review of the Murphy Executive Order, and the framing of a NJ Spotlight story, particularly on how the DEP responded to very strong pushback from the business community.

Since then, DEP has formally announced their official climate regulatory rollout.

That regulatory process includes 3 discrete DEP defined topics and public “stakeholder meetings” as follows:

I) Monitoring and Reporting

At the outset, let me note that “monitoring and reporting” on greenhouse gas emissions was mandated 13 years ago by the 2007 global Warming Response Act.

Prior to passage of the GWRA, in 2005, DEP adopted regulations that defined greenhouse gases as regulated “air contaminants” (i.e. “pollutants”) under the NJ State Air Pollution Control Act and required monitoring and reporting of emissions.

Additionally, in the 2007 RGGI law, a subset of major GHG polluters in the energy sector were required to monitor and report emissions.

And prior to all that, in the mid 1990’s, Whitman administration DEP Commissioner Shinn established the first DEP greenhouse gas emissions inventory.

So, DEP has been involved in GHG monitoring and reporting for almost 30 years. DEP should be managing a robust GHG emissions monitoring and reporting program. If that’s not the case, then we’re really in trouble. And if it is the case, then Gov. Murphy and DEP Commissioner McCabe, by creating the public appearance that this program is something new and important is totally misleading.

Instead, DEP should be reporting to the public about the strengths and weakness of the GHG monitoring and reporting program, including making specific recommendations to make it more comprehensive, transparent, accurate, and reliable – and be able to be integrated with and technically support a GHG emissions reduction regulatory program, which the structure of current monitoring and reporting can not do.  

II) Reducing Carbon Emissions

The DEP’s public announcement lacks any specifics about the numeric emissions reductions and timetables that must be met to reflect “best available science”, or even define what “best available science” is.

That is a failure of leadership and it makes it appear that the fundamental GHG emission reduction goals and timetables are negotiable.

At a minimum, DEP should advise the public that the “best available” science includes the 2018 IPCC Special Report, that warned we must reduce emissions by 45% or more over the next decade.

Instead, the public must scroll through DEP’s rollout website to find a vague and weak “fact sheet”.

III) “Adapting Land Use Regulations to climate change”

By framing the issue this way, DEP has made and masks a HUGE policy concession.

DEP effectively has limited the scope of the land use climate program to adaptation, and not emissions reductions.

Development subject to DEP land use permit requirements not only must adapt to climate change, but that DEP regulated infrastructure, development and redevelopment also emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases that must be reduced.

The DEP land use programs must integrate missions reduction requirements.

New DEP permit requirements could mandate that developments subject to DEP land use permit requirements are:

1) zero carbon or carbon neutral;

2) offset any new carbon emissions;

3) planned, designed and constructed with energy in mind, from passive solar development layouts, preservation and planting of trees on and of-site, energy efficient insulation, building materials, and appliances, rooftop solar, smart metering, connectivity to micro-grids, off-grid storage, and accommodate electric vehicles at al.

But the DEP has defined that all away be restricting the scope of land use regulations to “adaptation”.

IV) “Stakeholder meetings” versus formal public hearings or negotiated rule-making

The DEP has chosen to develop the climate regulatory program via informal “stakeholder meetings”. That means that these meetings are not subject to the NJ Administrative Procedures Act or Gov. Murphy’s own troubling Executive Order on regulatory policy.

That decision has procedural and substantive consequences.

Procedurally, these meetings are informal. That means that the public is not guaranteed the protections that would be provided by “formal” procedures, like formal public hearings, where DEP is required to widely publish and publicize the public notices of the hearings. At these hearings, no one can be excluded and all voices must be heard on an equal basis. DEP is required to maintain a transcript of all public comments, DEP is required to respond to public comment, and the contents of the hearing form the “official record” of the rule making are transparent to the public and are subject to judicial and legislative review.

In contrast, DEP is under no such obligations in informal “stakeholder meetings”. That means that DEP can erect barriers that limit public involvement, like mandatory registration, limits on the duration of meetings and limited public notice of the meetings.

In addition to the above troubling DEP presentation of the regulatory framework, here’s how Murphy DEP Commissioner McCabe described the DEP climate regulation program: (emphases mine)

“As we work to modernize our environmental regulations to reflect the best available science, DEP is committed to a thoughtful and collaborative approach that engages stakeholders from across all sectors of our economy, non-governmental organizations, academia and local government. We are all in this together.”

There are a number of rhetorical and procedural red flags that tend to confirm my initial assessment.

First of all, the DEP is stressing problematic policy concepts, specifically “modernization, “stakeholder meetings“,”collaboration“, and individual DEP defined topics (AKA regulatory “silos”).

And here’s another troubling one:

Due to space limitations, the DEP is requesting attendees to RSVP. …To attend, you MUST RSVP to the event using the RSVP For This EVENT link on below right.

Let’s discuss these problems one by one.

I) “Modernization”

Modernization is a policy neutral concept. Modern is in the eye of the beholder: does it mean “efficient”? Does it mean “least cost”? Does it mean least regulatory burden? Does it mean deepest and fastest greenhouse gas emissions”?

For an example of the dangers of modernization”, consider that President Bill Clinton “modernized” financial regulation via the “Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000.

Those “modernization” laws deregulated Wall Street and led to the 2008 financial collapse.

Gov. Murphy was making his fortune on Wall Street and benefited hugely from this “modernization”.

So, beware whenever a Wall Street Neoliberal Democrat pursues a policy of “modernization”.

II) Stakeholder meetings

(see above)

III) Collaboration

This is going to be a fight with powerful economic interests and their friends in the legislature and media. The Murphy DEP needs tremendous public support, which can only be generated by a bold proposal.

But the concept of collaboration is troubling and it undermines the concept of leadership.

With DEP setting out seeking “collaboration”, that is a very soft stance and invites all kinds of compromise, even capitulation.

IV) DEP’s definition of the issues and structure of the regulatory framework

See the above discussion of how DEP narrowed the scope of the land use regulatory program.

DEP also has done this by breaking the public sessions into discrete topics, thereby perpetuating a “silo” based approach and undermining effective public involvement.

By doing this, DEP is avoiding and undermining a more compressive and synthetic approach that could integrate both emission reductions and climate adaption in a unified regulatory framework.

V) Discouraging public involvement

(see above).

There’s no reason why the public should be required to register to participate.

DEP has stated that there are “space limitations” (capacity). That is unacceptable.

I assume DEP also will impose time limits on the meetings and the length of people’s testimony.

All of the above are more troubling signs. Often, the process dictates the outcome.

If so, there are many signs that we’re headed for the rocks.

[End Note: the comment function doesn’t work, so an informed reader sent me an email criticizing this post, as follows:

The standards for all that are already predetermined by the EMP . RGGI  etc. Clean energy is incinerators , bio gas , bio mass subsidies nukes , CHP, and sequestration and off sets – the reduction electrical sector 30% 2030 by RGGI – 80% net reductions 2050 with offsets, carbon sequestration and bio gas.

I replied thusly:

I understand that – the post about all that substance is being written in my head. It’s coming. This is a series.

The point I’m trying to make in this post is that at the outset, DEP and the Gov. won’t talk about all that precisely BECAUSE the standards suck. They don’t mention lots of other stuff – like STATUTORY RGGI allowance caps, solar caps, et al that create barriers to even the Gov.’s weak emission reduction goals and timetables.

Failure to even MENTION all this substance in the Gov. Ex. Order 100 and at the outset of a DEP public process for regulatory development can only result in them getting even WEAKER in response to strong pushback by the business community and legislature – and with no fingerprints or even ability for the public to know what the hell went on.

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Another NJ Spotlight Corporate Roundtable Scam

February 11th, 2020 No comments

Panel on Delaware River Includes Corporate & Anti-Regulatory Advocates

Dupont, PSE&G, & Corporate Consultants Advance Agenda Behind The Scenes

Source: NJ Spotlight (emphasis arrow mine)

Source: NJ Spotlight (emphasis arrow mine)

My email in-basket was loaded with another invitation to a NJ Spotlight Roundtable, this one on the Delaware River, innocuously titled:

  • Health of the Delaware River: Where Are We Headed?

Having worked on water resources in NJ for decades – including drafting NJ’s Watershed Management Act, the Highlands Act, and DEP regulations regarding Category One waterbody designations and buffer protections – it was not difficult to immediately detect the scam, based on a cursory analysis of the topic, the usual suspects (i.e panelists), and the usual dishonest stealth tactics (e.g. masking anti-regulatory initiatives behind “green” sounding projects, advancing corporate interests via representation on Boards and funding of non-profits, and elite Foundation funding).

Let me explain all that, beginning with the topic.

There are two basic and conflicting policy approaches to protecting water resources:

A) The Clean Water Act based planning and regulatory model. This science and law based model is enforced by a host of programs implemented by federal, state, regional, and local government agencies, under formal transparency, accountability and public participation processes subject to judicial review and legislative oversight, and democratic public accountability.

B) The non-governmental watershed or estuary approach. This model is a private, voluntary, “partnership”, market driven, and local model, stressing individual consumer and lifestyle choices. It is a non-regulatory initiative overseen by corporate influenced and private elite Foundation and corporate funded non-profits, a program developed in the absence of democratic principles, and with no transparency, accountability, or judicial, legislative, or public oversight mechanisms. (If you think I exaggerate, just try filing a public comment, request for public hearing, or OPRA request for public documents with the WM. Penn Foundation about their $100 million Delaware River program!)

Obviously, corporations, developers, and polluters prefer Alternative B.

Historically, environmental groups preferred Alternative A.

But that preference has been undermined recently as certain corporate influenced and Foundation funded conservation oriented groups have sold out or co-opted the more aggressive regulatory oriented groups. At the same time, those formerly regulatory oriented groups have sold out for the Foundation grants, access to politicians, and Spotlight roundtable invitations (I’m talking about you, Doug O’Malley and “strategic science” communicator Dana Patterson, who surely knows better after battling Dupont in Pompton Lakes).

These are some bold claims, so let me be specific, to illustrate how NJ Spotlight is masking these fundamental policy issues and conflicts and thereby duping readers, violating journalistic norms, and betraying the public interest.

I)  Corporate Interests Advanced By Stealth and Co-Optation

The NJ Spotlight panel, on first impression, appears to be balanced, if not dominated by advocates of clean water.

But, the panel needs to be considered in context.

The panel includes Kathy Klein, Executive Director, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE).

PDE sounds like a public interest oriented group, and if you read their mission and vision statement, you could think that:

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, host of the Delaware Estuary Program, leads science-based and collaborative efforts to improve the tidal Delaware River and Bay,

But the word “collaborative” gives it away. That term opens the door to all kinds of “collaboration” and “partnerships”, including with major corporate polluters, like Dupont, in corporate efforts to dodge costly regulatory enforcement, like NJPDES permit and TMDL cleanup requirements.

PDE has killed the Dupont link on their “science” webpage – here’s why I get when I hit the link to the Delaware River Watershed Initiative (which I assume is the Penn Foundation $100 million project):

Screen Shot 2020-02-12 at 5.27.38 PM

This can only be understood as an effort to hide that as well as Dupont collaborations, which include:

Clear Into the Future: A DuPont Delaware Estuary Initiative – (DE / NJ / PA)

PDE has huge undisclosed conflicts of interest, including taking money from Dupont:

The DuPont Clear into the Future® (CITF) program has awarded grants and sponsorships totaling $123,000 to 15 organizations from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia in support of their work to improve and enhance the Delaware Estuary and other ecosystems where DuPont employees live and work. This is the first year that the program has considered applications in support of conservation work in communities beyond the Delaware Estuary.

Protecting and enhancing ecosystems like the Delaware Estuary through research, conservation education and environmental stewardship are central to our core values at DuPont,” said Linda J. Fisher, vice president, DuPont Safety, Health & Environment and Chief Sustainability Officer. “We are extremely pleased to play a role in supporting the important efforts of this year’s grantees and we thank them for their contributions to environmental conservation.”

Eight non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) and three universities received grants, including: Delaware Greenways, Inc., Delaware Nature Society/DuPont Environmental Education Center, James River Association, Nature Conservancy-Delaware Chapter, New Jersey Audubon Society, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Pennsylvania Sea Grant, Stroud Water Research Center, Rutgers-Haskins Shellfish Lab, Delaware State University and Drexel University.

Note that Dupont also has taken down the links to their cynical Clear Into The Future program (and they even Registered it! (R)). I blasted that Dupont scam, most recently in a May 10, 2018 post, when the Dupont link was working.

Also note that Drexel, where NJ Spotlight Panelist Carol R. Collier works and gets paid, also receives Dupont funding.

But, let’s also look at the PDE Board of Directors, where we find more corporate interests, conflicts, and stealth influence.

The entire Board of Directors of PDE is either corporate or has corporate funding or conflicts of interest.

These corporations have huge economic interests in the Delaware Watershed and huge incentives to divert public attention away from costly regulatory enforcement.

II)  The NJ Spotlight Topic Summary Biases Issues

NJ Spotlight, at best, naively and narrowly frames the issue with a focus on the Trump EPA:

But now the gains are threatened by the Trump administration’s final rollback of the Waters of the U.S. Rule that protects smaller wetlands and seasonal streams from pollution or development. Since those sources feed larger waterways like the Delaware River – whose watershed supplies drinking water to some 13 million people – the measure could set back years of progress, advocates say.

It is easy to bash the Trump EPA on what amounts to an exaggerated controversy over the WOTUS rule – that’a a convenient target and diversion from all the other real issues at play.

One would think NJ Spotlight reporter Jon Hurdle, who has written a lot about toxic chemical and regulatory issues, would understand that.

III)  Elite Foundation Funding Not Disclosed to The Public

The Wm. Penn Foundation has distributed $100 million to non-profits for work in the Delaware Watershed.

As I’ve written before, the Wm. Penn Foundation and the groups they fund are classic examples of advocates of Alternative B above.

Penn funded groups are on the NJ Spotlight panel and NJ Spotlight itself receives Wm. Penn Foundation funding.

At a minimum, these groups and NJ Spotlight have conflicts of interests, given that funding, the Wm. Penn policy agenda, and funding to NJ Spotlight who is sponsoring the Panel.

IV)  Delaware Estuary & Watershed Model Versus The Clean Water Act Regulatory Model

I don’t want to get too far into the weeds, but here is an EPA description of the National Estuary Program:

The NEPs are located in a variety of institutional settings, including state and local agencies, universities and individual nonprofits. In overseeing and managing the national program, EPA provides annual funding, national guidance and technical assistance to the local NEPs…. [Note: this does NOT include EPA or State regulation and enforcement]

The NEP challenges and priorities are defined by local, city, state, federal, private and non-profit stakeholders. [Note: Priorities are not based on science and law.]

Each NEP has a Management Conference (MC) that consists of diverse stakeholders and uses a collaborative, consensus-building approach to implement the CCMP. Moreover, each MC ensures that the CCMP is uniquely tailored to the local environmental conditions and is based on local input, thereby supporting local priorities.

A “collaborative, consensus building approach” may sound just great, but it abdicates government responsibility, outsources policy to private groups, and effectively provides control of the agenda and a veto power to corporate polluters and developers. Polluters and developers will never allow “consensus” to form around any science or regulatory mandate that will cost them money. Period.

The national estuary program was created and designed as an alternative to federal and state government enforcement of the Clean Water Act regulatory model.

Polluters, developers, and other “local” economic interests love it, including the elite Foundations and the well fed elite non-profits that are funded by EPA, States, Foundations and corporate polluters.

The NJ Spotlight panel, the panel’s topic, and the panelists themselves all are advocates of the national estuary model, or what I call Alternative B above.

Thus, readers and the public are being sold a corporate bill of goods that has little to do with clean water.

V)  The Corruption of Journalistic Standards And Duping Of The Public

NJ Spotlight is funded by the Wm. Penn Foundation. The Wm. Penn Foundation has an anti-regulatory and corporate friendly agenda. The Wm. Penn Foundation funds groups that are named by Spotlight to the Panel. Other Panelists are recipients of corporate money or governed by corporate interests on their Boards.

NJ Spotlight reports none of the above.

That failure to report – or even disclose the corporate interests and policy conflicts embedded in their Panel – violates journalistic standards of disclosure, transparency, ethics, and conflicts of interest.

In fact, the corruption goes beyond non disclosure. As I highlight above, there are efforts to mask the role, influence, and funding by corporate interests, including Dupont, and even mention the existence of a controversial policy debate between fundamental policy alternatives A and B.

Did I make the case?


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