Archive for November, 2009

Checking the Foundations

November 21st, 2009 1 comment


My mother’s father was named Charles Peacox (seated on left above – location and date of this WWI photo are unknown). Growing up, my mom always told me that character skipped a generation, and that I was just like her father. I never knew what that meant, but as a kid, I was always vaguely mystified – terrified actually – of some dark past I was destined to repeat.

Although I never knew my grandfather Peacox, I got the sense that things were tough growing up in my mom’s household – she was born in 1929 at the start of the Great Depression. He died when I was 5, shortly after our family moved into his house (where my Mom grew up). My grandmother, Nanny Peacox never spoke of him to me. She had remarried my step grandfather, who I spent loads of time with as a kid fishing the Hudson River.

Anyway, all my mom told me about my grandfather Peacox was that he lived alone, he raised chickens, and was an intellectual. She said he was a bootlegger and ladies’ man during Prohibition. Other than that, the only clues she gave me (she died in 2003) was the above photo which I have on my wall, and three of his books: an 1865 and an 1876 edition of Emerson essays and Erasmus’ “In Praise of Folly”.

My grandfather’s book of Emerson essays always fascinated and dwelt on me – I never understood his writing as a child. Although I read – many times – the classic essay “Self Reliance“, I am just beginning to do so as an adult. I’ve tried to read and have virtually everything Emerson wrote in my home library.

With this in mind, a strange coincidence prompted me to write this little essay tonight.

About a month ago, I read a wonderful book “American Transcendentalism” by Philip F. Gura, which traced the social and intellectual history of the transcendental movement of the 1830’s – 1850’s. Emerson was a major influence in that movement, which occured, as now, during a period of economic collapse, depression, and massive economic displacement and social upheaval.

Shortly after that, while browsing a Princeton book store, I came across and picked up a copy of “The Utopian Alternative – Fourierism in Nineteenth Century America” by Carl J. Guarneri. That book examines the social and intellectual history of Fourier, and includes detailed discussions of Emerson and his influence on the movement. I haven’t finished that book yet, but was intrigued by a reference to an 1841 Emerson essay titled “Man the Reformer“.

So, also fashioning myself some kind of reformer, I pulled out a copy off my bookshelf and re-read it.

And like Bob Dylan said

“every one of them words rang true and rang like burnin’ coal;

Pourin’ off of every page like it was written in my soul from me to you

Things started getting spooky! Emerson’s thoughts were so on target, both for my life personally and the politics of the times:

Let it be granted that our life, as we lead it, is common and mean; that some of those offices and functions for which we were mainly created are grown rare in society, that the memory of them is only kept alive in old books and in dim traditions; that prophets and poets, that beautiful and perfect men, we are not now…that the community in which we live will hardly bear to be told that every man should be open to ecstasy or … his daily walk elevated by intercourse with the spiritual world”

I was more blown away by Emerson’s yearning for virtue, and his indictment and condemnation of corruption and call for reform:

In the history of the world, the doctrine of Reform has never had such scope as at the present hour. … all things hear the trumpet, and must rush to judgement…

It can not be wondered at, that this general inquest into the abuses should arise in the bosom of society, when one considers the practical impediments that stand in the way of virtuous young men. The young man, on entering life, finds the way to lucrative employment blocked with abuses. The ways of trade are grown selfish to the borders of theft, and supple to the borders (if not beyond the borders) of fraud. The employments of commerce are not intrinsically unfit for a man, ..but these are now in the general course so vitiated by derelictions and abuses at which all connive, that it requires more vigor and resources than can be expected of every young man, to right himself of them; he is lost in them… Has genius no virtue? He must sacrifice all the brilliant dreams of boyhood and youth; he must forget the prayers of his childhood; and he must take on him the harness of routine and obsequiousness.

…The trail of the serpent reaches into all the lucrative professions and practices of man. .. Each finds a tender and very intelligent conscience a disqualification for success. Each requires of the practitioner a certain shutting of the eyes, a certain dapperness and compliance, an acceptance of custom, a sequestration from the sentiments of generosity and love, a compromise of private opinion and lofty integrity.

Reading this all led me back to the original copy of my Grandfather’s copy of essays.

I eerily noted that he had highlighted specific texts, both in the margins of the book itself and summarized in a list on inside cover pages. Let me share just one:

Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say ‘I think, I am” but quotes from saint or sage. He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God today. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose.; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.

Upon examination, the foundations are sound.

And yes, despite Darwin, Crick, Watson, and the geneticists, maybe things really do skip a generation.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Another Emergency Declaration Along the Shore

November 16th, 2009 2 comments

[11/17/09 update – photo’s below]

In light of another coastal storm damage state of emergency declared by Governor Corzine in the wake of the most recent nor’easter, we repost what we issued on September 25, 2006:

View of Cape May, NJ, from Lighthouse

View of Cape May, NJ, from Lighthouse

But first, here are warnings from DEP’s Coastal Assessment Report to the federal government – warnings that have been long ignored:

Many parts of New Jersey’s densely populated coastal area are highly susceptible to the effects of the following coastal hazards: flooding, storm surge, episodic erosion, chronic erosion, sea level rise, and extra-tropical storms. Reconstruction of residential development and the conversion of single family dwellings into multi-unit dwellings continues in hazardous areas… the value of property at risk is increasing significantly. With anticipated accelerating sea level rise and increasing storm frequency and intensity, vulnerability to the risks of coastal hazards will not abate; it will only become more costly.

Development in areas suited to the inland migration of coastal wetlands serves to preclude this adaptation and the wetlands will either diminish in extent or will be lost to inundation. …

All of the impediments to meeting this 309 programmatic objective that appeared in the last New Jersey Coastal Zone Section 309 Assessment and Strategy remain. These include lobbying efforts of special interest groups, legal challenges to DEP permit decisions, provision of flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, and public perception that large-scale beach nourishment projects eliminate vulnerability to coastal hazards.

Titus demonstrates (link) that in certain instances, structural engineering solutions will not be practical or economically feasible. In these cases future public and private development and redevelopment must be directed away from the hazardous areas. While some derogatorily refer to this option as “retreat,” from the perspective of sound planning based on the best available science, the concept actually involves “strategic adjustment.” Prudent planning requires that we expand upon the existing studies of the societal, economic, and environmental costs of possible mitigative actions while the greatest number of alternatives exist.

The state’s coastal area continues to experience substantial seasonal and residential population increases. Conversion of formerly seasonal homes to year-round residences continues unabated. In many instances, formerly modest houses are replaced with significantly more expensive homes while property values continue to escalate.

At the same time, risks associated with coastal hazards continue to increase. Factors such as escalating sea level rise and cyclical and possibly long-term increases in storm frequency and intensity threaten both the natural environment and built environment of New Jersey’s coast. Consequently, the ranking of the Coastal Hazards Section 309 enhancement area remains a high priority with the NJCMP. [end excerpt – link to complete DEP document below]


Environmentalists Urge Corzine Administration to Include Global Warming and Land Use Reforms in Pending Insurance Industry Bailout

TRENTON- As Corzine Administration officials met quietly behind closed doors with insurance and finance industry leaders to discuss a statewide insurance fund to finance catastrophic shore storm risks, environmentalists called on the Governor to incorporate much needed coastal development and global warming policy reforms in any industry bailout package.

Numerous scientific studies and NJDEP Reports show that the over-developed NJ shore is increasingly vulnerable to hurricane and storm related wind, storm surge, and flooding damage. Those risks are magnified by the effects of global warming induced sea level rise. NJ already is among the worst states in the nation for payouts on repeat claims under the federal flood insurance program. While risks are great and growing, DEP’s own studies show that public awareness is low, and local and state disaster planning and emergency response capabilities are woefully inadequate.

Despite these significant risks, continued over-development, particularly in known high hazard areas along the shore, puts more people and property in harms way, greatly increasing not only risks to life and property. The probability is increasing for a catastrophic coastal storm event that would cause huge economic dislocation.

The multi-billion dollar scope of the problem and potential insurance liability has led insurance industry leaders to withdrawn from insurance markets in the tri-state region, and to seek a public bailout of insured liability.

In response to this industry concern, Corzine Administration officials in the Departments of Insurance and Environmental Protection have been meeting to negotiate a policy initiative. There is rumored to be a meeting with industry leaders today.

In order to shape this initiative, environmentalists released a set of policy reforms that should be included in any coastal insurance related package.

There should be no insurance industry bailout on the backs of homeowners unless serious coastal land use and global warming reforms are included in the package to reduce the current magnitude of catastrophic risks.

1) Because global warming is known to increase storm intensity, storm surge, wind, and flooding risks, (and some argue storm frequency), enforceable global warming prevention policies must be part of the package.

“When it comes to global warming policy, the Governor’s priorities are skewed. Everyone is threatened by the effects of global warming, not just the insurance industry. The Governor’s priority should be developing a plan to solve global warming in the first place,” said Dena Mottola, Executive Director of Environment New Jersey, the new home of NJPIRG’s environmental work. “As a heavily populated state, New Jersey’s commitment to tackling global warming can have a big impact. By developing a global warming action plan for the state, Governor Corzine can show that New Jersey has the brainpower and technological know how to show other states and the nation that solving global warming is more than possible.”

2) The financing mechanism for the insurance risk must include dedicated funding to acquire at risk properties, storm damaged properties, and an increase in the current Statewide “blue acres” program acquisition funding;

“We can not allow the homeowners of New Jersey to subsidize multi-million dollar mansion built into sand dunes. Instead we must change our Coastal Programs and stop putting people in harms way” said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.

3) New development in coastal high hazard areas must be curtailed. It makes no sense to develop a catastrophic risk fund while continuing to put more people and property at risk along NJ’s already highly vulnerable and over-developed coastal zone. Loopholes in the CAFRA coastal land use law must be closed and existing restrictions on development in high hazard and environmentally sensitive areas strengthened;

4) The current “right to rebuild” storm damaged properties must be eliminated;

5) Additional resources must be provided to bolster local and state emergency prevention, preparedness, and response planning. Towns must be given additional legal planning tools to manage these risks;

“The Corzine Administration and insurance industry have the potential to be powerful allies against global warming. While the solution is complex, more focus should be on inclusive, public, and aggressive reforms of the state’s air, energy and land use policies than on some taxpayer or homeowner financed insurance fund” said David Pringle, Campaign Director, NJ Environmental Federation.

“The public’s business must be done openly and transparently in the disinfecting light of day. State government is not Wall Street and public policy development is not the art of negotiating the deal”, concluded Bill Wolfe, Director, NJ PEER.


Learn more about the threat of sprawl to New Jersey’s coast

Look at legislation to subsidize the insurance industry and more coastal sprawl

Compare the insurance industry press release and agenda for Connecticut

See the state’s coastal assessment

And the environmental community’s response

beach and dunes severely eroded behind homes in Normandy Beach

beach and dunes severely eroded behind homes in Normandy Beach

about 7 foot dropoff behind homes in Normandy Beach

about 7 foot dropoff behind homes in Normandy Beach

stairs washed out - workers dig out sand from basement - Normandy Beach

Dunes completely gone, ocean was in the basement - stairs washed out - workers dig out sand - Normandy Beach

5-6 feet of beach gone - Normandy Beach, NJ

5-6 feet of beach gone - Normandy Beach, NJ


Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Live Earth – A Retrospective

November 16th, 2009 No comments

Live Earth – On July 6, 2007, Andy Willner, New York/New Jersey Baykeeper (right), and Captain Bill Sheehan (left), Hackensack Riverkeeper, joined Governor Corzine in his box at Giants Stadium for the Live Earth concert. The Waterkeepers thanked the Governor for signing New Jersey’s new Global Warming legislation into law that morning – no comment on shirts or waistlines.

“Partnerships with organizations like members of Waterkeeper Alliance allow us to leverage the abilities of these public interest organizations with the abilities of government and individuals. I look forward to continuing our strong working relationship as we work together to protect New Jersey’s environment for future generations.” Jon Corzine Fall 2007 Waterkeeper Magazine

Readers of this blog know that I am critical of how the ENGO community and the main stream media engage many issues, and that my accountability focus targets those efforts with the same standards I apply to polluters and government.

I believe that ENGO’s poorly serve their members and the public by not honestly telling them what is going on, due to a number of things: 1) a desire to avoid despair and to appear relevant and influential often results in setting a low performance bar. This allows groups to declare “victory”; 2) endorsing and praising politicians without securing real environmental commitments; 3) refusing to monitor and hold officials publicly accountable for performance; 4)  continuing to give officials and government agencies like DEP a pass, even when they fail to deliver on commitments; and 5) playing insider “access” games and not involving the public or grassroots activists. All these tactics seriously set back the cause of environmental and public health protection.

These dynamics are referred to by some as co-optation: greenwash, or greenscam. I read Philip Selznick’s classic “TVA and the Grassroots” in college, and find his definition of co-optation to aptly describe a lot of what is going on:

“A tactic of neutralizing or winning over a minority by assimilating them into the established group or culture. A political process as a way of managing opposition and so preserving stability and the organization. … Outsiders are “co-opted” by being given formal or informal power on the grounds of their elite status, specialist knowledge, or potential ability to threaten essential commitments or goals”

So, today – hopefully to illustrate mistakes of the past to avoid repeating in the Christie transition – we take a retrospective look and do some accountability on “Live Earth“.

In addition to that Meadowlands concert (and press releases), Corzine took a page out of the Bush PR playbook and “bypassed the media filter”. To do so, Corzine used the Waterkeeper’s own advocacy magazine to make a series of exaggerated, inaccurate, and/or highly self serving and misleading statements touting his environmental achievements. As far as I know, he was never held accountable for those claims or for his performance by NJ Riverkeepers. Thus, in an effort to do so, here are the verbatim Corzine claims from that magazine, followed by the facts:

Corzine on Water Quality:

Earth Day 2007 Photo Op - more green scam

Earth Day 2007 Photo Op – classic co-optation tactic

Over the past few years, we have launched a number of major Clean Water Initiatives to protect New Jersey’s water resources. This past Earth Day, Commissioner Jackson proposed special protections for more than 900 miles of waterways and 1,300 acres of reservoirs that supply drinking water to millions of New Jerseyans. Additionally, the commissioner advanced a regulatory proposal that would vastly improve wastewater management statewide. Eventual adoption of this protection will mean safer drinking water for New Jersey’s families and cleaner habitats for rare species of wildlife. The proposal offers New Jersey the highest level of water quality protection, limiting development impacts and discharges of pollutants to streams, rivers and lakes, and ensuring no further degradation to waters that support critical wildlife or feed drinking water sources.

New Water Quality Management Planning Rules were also proposed on Earth Day. These proposed changes will strengthen our ability to shield environmentally fragile areas from the threats that invariably accompany inappropriate development. For the first time, these proposed rules address the impacts of septic systems on groundwater and establish new standards  for wastewater management planning, removing environmentally sensitive lands from sewer service areas.

The recently proposed Flood Hazard Area Control Rules seek to clarify and reorganize New Jersey’s regulations to limit new development in flood plains. Current buffer zones of 25 to 50 feet would increase to 50, 150 or 300 feet depending on the category of the waterway. …

The Department of Environment Protection is in the process of updating the State’s Water Supply Master Plan, which is a critical tool for smart growth. We expect the revision to be completed next year. The final plan will provide a blueprint for managing the state’s water resources over the next 50 years and will ensure sufficient water supply in all parts of the state. It will also recognize that proper management is not just having an adequate potable supply, but ensuring a healthy ecosystem as well.

Our current Stormwater Management Rules emphasize low impact building techniques that will prevent and minimize impact on new development sites using both structural and  non-structural techniques such as minimizing land disturbance, minimizing impervious cover, infiltration basins and vegetative filters. The design and performance standards for new development include groundwater recharge, runoff quantity controls, and stream buffers.

The Facts:

1. Category One program – yes DEP did propose more than 900 miles of C1 upgrades. However, DEP adopted less than 600, eliminating over 300 miles due to opposition from powerful corporate developers. Worse, DEP revised the C1 methodology, which makes it far more difficult to protect endangered species, water supply, and to list any additional C1’s in the future. This change in methodology was needless, because NJ’s highest court upheld a challenge to the C1 rules by the NJ Builders Association. The needless DEP change resulted in the elimination of over 1,600 backlogged qualified “candidate C1 waters” pending upgrade that were listed in the March 2003 NJ Register. Bottom line: the net effect was a huge setback, which was covered up by greenscam.

This rollback in the C1 program occurred, despite a January 2007 warning letter signed by numerous groups, strongly urging DEP Commissioner NOT to make the regulatory change. That leter read:

Dear Commissioner Jackson:

In a late December meeting attended by many of our groups, the Department outlined its plan for a new process to guide the designation of Category One waterways. The meeting afforded only a cursory overview of what would represent a very fundamental change to clean water protections in New Jersey, but did provide an outline of the narrow set of water quality indicators that might serve as the basis for deciding future C1 upgrades. We have serious objections to the proposed designation process and fear that its implementation would strip New Jersey of the ability to adequately protect and maintain its high quality waterways. If enacted, this method would reverse tremendous advances in clean water protection in the state, contradict the commitments made by Governor Corzine, and leave New Jersey without the ability to adequately protect and maintain many of its most deserving waterways.

Signed: Jeff Tittel, Sierra Club, NJEF, ANJEC, Environment NJ, et al

2. Flood Hazard/stream encroachment – yes DEP did adopt new stream encroachment regulations. However, the technical standards in those rules were based on the status quo level of protection. DEP developed the standards based on an internal file review of hundreds of prior SE permits issued by DEP (personal communication, Vince Mazei, P.E., NJDEP).  No additional flood protections, limits on development, or stream buffers were required by these new rules (with the exception of a limited new no net fill rule in the Passaic basin). In fact, the new SE rules created two major new loopholes, the first known as a “hardship waiver” to allow developers to avoid the C1 300 foot stream buffer bans on disturbance of soil and vegetation; and the second was the repeal of Lisa Jackson’s Administrative Order on an “equivalence demonstration”, thus making it far easier to reduce C1 300 foot wide buffers to just 150 feet. Bottom line: the net effect of the new rules was negative. Again, this was done in the fine print and masked by greenscam.

3. Water Supply Master Plan (WSMP)  – It is now over 2 and 1/2 years later, and DEP has not yet proposed the WSMP Corzine took credit for back in July 2007.  As a result, countless DEP approved development projects have escaped water supply restrictions, threatening the long run water supply availability and the sensitive ecosystems that depend on adequate water.

4. Stormwater Management rules – those rules were developed and adopted by the McGreeevey administration in 2004, so Corzine can take no credit for them. Worse, in fact, Corzine has reduced funding, staffing, and enforcement of those rules.

5. Water Quality Management Planning rules – yes DEP did adopt new WQMP rules. However, they were NOT the first time septics were ever addressed under those rules. Christie Whitman issued an Executive Order # 109 that involved septic reviews years ago. DEP weakened the proposed rule on adoption Water Quality Management Planning rules, N.J.A.C. 7:15 (pdf), and has imposed what amounts to a moratorium on actually implementing or enforcing the key provisions that Corzine takes credit for developing.

Specifically, in a July 14, 2009 letter, DEP Acting Assistant Commissioner Scott Brubaker explained why he was setting aside water anti-pollution rules because legislators had introduce a bill to bully DEP to bend over for favored projects:

The Department is also under pressure from the development community, which fears that the Department will unilaterally remove sewer service areas. Recently, legislation has been introduced that would extend the submission deadline. Together these added burdens would preclude the Department from adopting any new or updated wastewater management plan for the foreseeable future. Any Department effort to withdraw sewer service areas would encourage this legislation. View this DEP letter admitting political bullying

Corzine on Global Warming and Water Resources

Over the summer, global warming was in the forefront of the news with the release of the Union of Concerned Scientists Report on Climate Change in the Northeast and the Live Earth Concerts for a Climate in Crisis. In light of the lack of federal action, I signed into law the Global Warming Response Act, strengthening our commitment to this priority issue for the state. New Jersey is now the third state in the nation to mandate Greenhouse Gas reductions by law and the first to codify long-term reductions. The goals set forth are the most ambitious in the country, requiring a reduction of Green House Gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 (20 percent reduction) and further reductions of emissions to 80 percent below 2006 levels by the year 2050 (80 percent reduction).

We have already made significant progress in evaluating policies and measures to achieve these goals and build on the reductions we anticipate from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a ten state cooperative effort to implement a regional mandatory cap and trade program in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic addressing CO2 emissions from power plants. New Jersey plays a leadership role in this initiative, the first mandatory market-based program to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. It will cap regional power plant CO2 emissions at current levels from 2009 through 2014 and mandates emissions reductions by 10 percent in 2019.

The facts:

1. Global Warming Response Act (GWRA) – The GWRA is seriously flawed and praise for it is exagerated (see: Star Ledger Op-Ed: No teeth in “tough” pollution law). Now, two and 1/2 years after Corzine signed that law, the GWRA goals have not been implemented. DEP failed to meet deadlines for submitting an implementation plan to the Legislature and as shown absolutely no signs of any intent to adopt regulations to implement the law. Corzine has cut funding for science and staff required to develop and implement the program, while he has supported only voluntary, market based, and low cost emission control measures. .

2. Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)RGGI is a failure and fatally flawed. Green house gas Emissions are increasing sharply. RGGI’s so called emission caps will allow those emissions to increase 18% more before a 10% reduction planned for the out years 2015-2019. RGGI caps only apply to in state emissions by some powr plants, which emit just 15% of total emissions. And energy imports from dirty Midwestern coal plants are not regulated. The law caps emission fees at just $2 per ton, when economists recommend $60 – $100 per ton. And the law provides millions of dollars in subsidies (with money collected from consumers) to some of the worst polluters.

more Live Earth green scam

Riverkeeper wasn’t the only ENGO with Corzine at Live Earth

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Christie Transition Team Seeks “Horror Stories” To Push Environmental Rollbacks

November 14th, 2009 1 comment

[Update: 11/15/09 – the drumbeat continues, unanswered by environmentalists. Does this steamroller have enough momentum yet?

“Several Morris County Republicans talked about an opportunity to be part of making changes in the state, such as streamlining environmental regulations to spur development and working on government efficiency issues.”

See: Daily Record story]

Here we go again. The Republican-business community Orwellian Wurlitzer big lie machine is being ginned up.

To use the Christie transition process, Republican leadership has put out the word in the NJ business community to drum up “horror stories” on the impacts of regulations. This is an orchestrated effort to mislead policy makers and the public in order to rollback all sorts of public protections from business excess, especially for the environment and public health.

According to NJBIZ,

Assembly Republican Executive Director Rick Wright said the transition team is interested in hearing from businesses about how regulations affect them. He encouraged the audience at a New Jersey Chamber of Commerce breakfast Friday morning to show the transition team “the horrors that they need to hear about regarding regulations” effect on businesses.

So, the Christie Transition Team will be inundated with all sorts of anecdotes and alleged horror stories explicitly designed to mislead. Given the composition and bias of that group, they will lack expertise and experience to evaluate the merits of this sort of propaganda.

Worse, there is no public process during the transition, which tends to be secretive. Therefore, there will be no independent check on the process, to provide countervailing information, to correct errors, to create a context for misinformation, and to reject flat out falsehoods and bad information likely to be submitted.

This is a very poor policy-making process and – given Christie’s regulatory animus a prescription for disaster.

This regulatory rollback process – to be headed up by Lieutenant Governor Guadagno – now even comes with an appropriately Orwellian name: “The Red Tape Review Group”.

As I’ve been warning my colleagues and the press corps, now is the time to circle the wagons and begin to defend against this onslaught.

If folks think this is some kind of abstract, theoretical public policy threat, consider the reckless action last night in Independence Township. The Town is defiantly violating the NJ Highlands Act and looking to Christie for regulatory relief:

Independence Township Rejects State Highlands Law Mandate (click for full article)

By Warren Reporter

November 14, 2009, 8:59AM

INDEPENDENCE TWP.  – With “nothing to lose,” the Township Committee has decided to tread the waters of municipal civil disobedience by voting unanimously Nov. 11 to not conform with the state-mandated Highlands Regional Master Plan’s preservation area requirements. The township, to date, is the only Highlands preservation area municipality to officially reject plan conformance. …

Giordano said he is hoping Independence’s action will inspire other municipalities with similar concerns to do the same. The mayor said he is also hopeful Governor-elect Chris Christie will be able to intervene to “curtail” Highlands regulations.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Green House gas emissions continue to rise – NJ’s control efforts a sham

November 13th, 2009 No comments
coal power must be phased out

coal power must be phased out

A new national report by Environment America  Too-Much-Pollution-Report-11.12.09.pdf shows that US emissions of green house gas continue to rise. The study analyzed only carbon dioxide emissions, a key global warming pollutant, for the periods 1990-2004 and 2004-2007.

This Report calls into question whether current efforts to reduce emissions are serious – because they clearly are not effective. The Report also calls into question whether the “cap and trade” approach in legislation pending before Congress is workable.

I want to make just two quick key points on what the NJ data mean (more extensive analysis can be found here and here and here and here and  here and here and here)

#1 – Cap and trade is a fatally flawed approach and will not produce emissions reductions (watch the YouTube video) – we made many of the same points 2 years ago about offsets and false caps in this post);

#2 – Multi-sector across the board mandatory regulatory emission controls are required to reduce emissions. (see: Star Ledger Op-Ed: No teeth in “tough” pollution law

So let’s take a look at NJ’s efforts that were highly touted as solutions to the problem:

Sunoco refinery received subsidies from NJ RGGI law

Sunoco refinery received subsidies from NJ RGGI law

The 10 northeastern state’s Regional Green House Gas Initiative (RGGI) – a so called “cap and trade” program – was sold by government officials and environmental groups as a way to CAP and REDUCE power plant emissions.

Instead those emissions INCREASEDjust like we predicted they would. US Energy Department data shows that NJ in state emissions from the electric sector increased by a staggering 58% from 1990 – 2007, and still continued to increase by 2% from 2004 – 2007.

According to the US Department of Energy data, NJ electric sector emissions in 2007 were 19.4 million tons. The RGGI “cap” for NJ is 22.9 million tons. Therefore RGGI will allow emissions to INCREASE another 18%, before any emissions reduction requirements kick in during the years 2015 – 2019.  Those missions reductions are approximately 10%, so the net effect of RGGI is to lock in the current status quo emissions for over a 20 year period – with a slight net INCREASE in emissions!

So why aren’t environmental groups demanding a renegotiation of the RGGI caps they they agreed to?

This same kind of fatal flaw of a generous cap is likely to be replicated in the national cap and trade bill now pending before Congress because there is no accurate national emissions inventory and it is easy to game the system like was done in RGGI.

NJ Turnpike - carbon emitting oil refineries, power plants, and cars

NJ Turnpike – carbon emitting oil refineries, power plants, and cars. Wind and solar powered electric cars are the only workable solution.

The NJ Global Warming Response Act mandated a 20% REDUCTION in total emissions from all sources by the year 2020 (the in state electric sector  accounts for about 15% of NJ total emissions).

Instead total emissions INCREASED by 16% from 1990-2004 and continued to increase by 3% from 2004-2007. That large increase means that reductions in NJ must be even steeper to meet GWRA goals – yet there is no progress in emission reductions because emissions are increasing and no measurable and enforceable controls have been put in place by DEP.

This data shows that both NJ laws are a SHAM – this is critically important as Congress debates legislation on a national cap and trade program similar to RGGI.

Why aren’t the NJ environmentalists and NJ media criticizing this performance, demanding real action, and holding NJ officials and polluters accountable for their poor performance?

See Bergen Record: N.J. spews key pollutant at record rate

See Star Ledger: Study finds Jersey’s pollution on the rise

NJ Turnpike - Oil industry lobbyists got millions of dollars of subsidsies in NJ RGGI law

NJ Turnpike – Oil industry lobbyists got millions of dollars of subsidies in NJ RGGI law – instead of pollution caps, RGGI provides caps on the amount of emissions fees – just $2 – $3 per ton.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: