What’s Wrong With Bloomsbury?
Tiny Boro Balks at RecyclingÂ - Are Republicans Ginning Up Faux Controversies?
Or After Denying Global Warming, is Recycling Next on the Hit List?
File this under “A” for Absurd.
First it was the “Rats in Raritan” -Â where Town officials refused to adopt a DEP requiredÂ ordinance to assure that garbage dumpsters have lids so that rats, vermin, andÂ leachate don’t become localÂ public health and water quality problems. They called it an unfunded state mandate.
Shortly after this controversy emerged, Governor Christie appeared for a Town Hall meetingÂ in Raritan, which prompted us to writeÂ about the larger political and policy context of theÂ RaritanÂ Revolt inÂ Â Gov. Christie Joins Rats in Raritan (No Joke)Â
Did the people of upscaleÂ suburban Raritan Township really oppose efforts to control rats? Or was this a political stunt?
Now, the tiny Borough of Bloomsbury,Â less than 1 square mile andÂ population of 881Â -Â which surely must make it a prime target for consolidation reform – Â won’t adopt a DEP recycling ordinance, also using the same bogus rhetoric of “state mandate“. (see Hunterdon County Democrat story:Â Â Bloomsbury mayor calls mandatory recycling rules ‘absurd’ and ‘unreasonable’ as officials criticize Hunterdon County, state)
BLOOMSBURY â€” Borough Council members postponed a vote on the state-mandated recycling ordinance at their Tuesday meeting after expressing objections to the garbage inspections and fines that the ordinance would authorize.
â€œObviously, this is not a popular ordinance. The state has come out with its recycling goals, and theyâ€™re hard goals,â€ said Mayor Mark Peck. â€œThe state is threatening us with $3,000 fines a day if we donâ€™t adopt an ordinance that meets their goals
Recycling has been mandatory at the municipal level in New Jersey for 23 years - the law was passed in 1987. Recycling enjoys widespread public support, which helpsÂ NJ lead the nation in recycling goals and rates achieved. Recycling is as close to political motherhood and apple pie as it gets.
The passage of New Jerseyâ€™s mandatory recycling legislation in April, 1987 was a major milestone in our stateâ€™s solid waste management history and helped establish New Jersey as a leader in this field. The â€œNew Jersey Statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Actâ€ (Recycling Act), N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.11 et seq., set forth an ambitious program that reshaped at least one aspect of the everyday lives of state residents, businesses and institutions. Among other things, the Recycling Act required New Jerseyâ€™s twenty-one counties to develop recycling plans that mandated the recycling of at least three designated recyclable materials, in addition to leaves. County recycling plans were also required to designate the strategy to be utilized for the collection, marketing and disposition of designated recyclable materials. Other provisions of the Recycling Act required municipalities to adopt an ordinance based upon their countyâ€™s recycling plan.
So,Â I smell a rat – this appears to be a manufactured controversy.
Is this a TSA “porno-scanner” like set up to generate astro-turf political supportÂ for further attacks on government, especially DEP and environmental programs?
Are Town officials looking out for the best interests of their residents or playing state level politics?Â (like Ocean County Republicans)
Is right wingÂ RepublicanÂ leadership ginning up these kind of bogus local disputes?Â
The press and residents of Bloomsbury should be asking local officials these hard questions.
(ps -Â yes, the title of this post is a riff on Thomas Frank’s wonderful bookÂ ”What’s the mattter with Kansas?”)Â