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Worst Place in Jersey – What Meets Your “Dark Satanic Mill” Standard?


Newton-WilliamBlakeBlake_ancient_of_daysAnd did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills
?

Bring me my bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire.

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land

~~~ “Jerusalem”  William Blake, 1757-1827

Worst Place in Jersey – Toxic Torture Tour

We are seeking nominations from readers for “The Worst Place in Jersey”.

While I was with NJ DEP, I ran a program where we sought nominations from citizens to increase protections for their local streams – we were very successful (if you’re interested in this initiative, I suggest you read this DEP webpage now, before the Ministry of Truth over there finds out that it still exists. Even they will figure out that it legitimizes their worst critic and exposes serious program weaknesses – when they do, they will take that page Down Orwell’s Memory Hole):

PUBLICLY IDENTIFIED WATERS FOR CATEGORY ONE

To date, DEP has received over 47 public nominations from individuals, groups and public entities for Category One designations. These public nominations include approximately 337 named rivers and streams equaling 7,655 linear waterbody miles and 23 reservoirs, lakes and ponds representing 6,593 surface acres. A map of the public nominations is available at www.nj.gov/dep/antisprawl/c1map.html.

DEP has not had the opportunity to fully evaluate all the public nominations for Category One but will seriously consider all public nominations over the upcoming months. DEP is continuing to accept public recommendations for Category One water designations. Public recommendations for Category One water designations should be sent at this time to Bill Wolfe.

View Map of PUBLICLY Identified Waters

Anyway, I thought I’d take that same approach – sort of start a Wiki of NJ’s Worst Places.

Comment here or shoot me an email nominating your NJ nightmares – if possible, include a photo and a brief explanation. I will visit the place, take photo’s and post them here. Depending on responses, at some point I’ll put together a list and we can vote on the worst of the worst – democracy in action.

Who knows, if this thing takes off, we just might shame the responsible corporate and government officials to improve the conditions we expose.

Just think of the progress made by visual expose’s by Jacob Riis (“How the Other Half Lives); Dorothea Lange (Great Depression labor and landscapes) , and Michael Harrington (“The Other America“) (and if you were alive then, I’m sure you remember the images of the self immolation by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk and the napalmed Vietnamese little girl). When Americans got sick of seeing body bags from Vietnam in their living rooms on the evening news, the Vietnam War ended (which is why we see no photo’s of Iraq and Afghanistan killing). Some of the shots of forest clearcuts and mountaintop removal have had deep and lasting impacts. And then that photo of the Earth from the moon changed everything.

Possible nominating categories include (feel free to suggest others, whatever pushes your button):

1) Worst traffic; 2) Worst sprawl; 3) Ugliest, most garish McMansion; 4) Toxic Nightmare; 5) Littered or poorly maintained Park; 6) Polluted Waterbody; 7) Destroyed Natural Landscape; 8) Industrialism and/or rationalism Run Amok; 9) Beastly beach; 10) worst flood zone; 11) deepest injustice or disproportionate burden’ or 12) most flagrant unenforced violation .

Let me submit the first nomination – with an explanation and photos.

Today, I will nominate the area around Doremus Avenue in Newark surrounding Essex County Jail as “The Worst Place in Jersey”. Take a look at all these toxic emission sources – and this is not counting the Port, which creates regional impacts. All that toxic pollution isn’t just blowing over to Staten Island! Inmates and staff of Essex County jail are being “air boarded” every day! (We’ve heard about episodes of waterboarding at Guantanamo and torture at Abu Ghraib, but not about daily “toxic air boarding” at Essex County Prison.)

right next door to Essex County jail

IMG_1984

the VOC emissions in this area were so strong they literally made me sick

Kuehne chemicals - one of NJ's "Fatal Fifteeen" where an accidental release could KILL over 100,000 people nearby

the end of Doremus Ave.

toxic pollution from cars, trucks, and refineries poisons the area - DEP does not consider cumulative impacts of all these sources

IMG_1977

diesel crosses Doremus Ave. - diesel emissions are a major source of toxic air pollution but are generally not regulated

 

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