Archive for April, 2013

Infrastructure – Jobs – Environment

April 15th, 2013 No comments

In case our politicians forgot what they look like

Scenes from Bordentown River Line Station & Park

Blacks Creek, just south of Station

bridge over Blacks Creek (Rt. 662 - Burlington Street)

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DEP Budget Up In Senate Tomorrow – Will Dems Give Gov. Christie And DEP Commissioner Martin A Pass?

April 14th, 2013 No comments

Despite promise, 3 Years Later, DEP Still Has No Drinking Water Standard For Toxic Chemical Perchlorate

Will DEP Commissioner Martin Be Held Accountable For Unprecedented & False Attack on Senator Buono?

“Best case is that if the EPA decides later this year to regulate perchlorate, it will be another two years before they come out with the rule,” said Bill Wolfe, New Jersey director of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. “In the meantime New Jersey homeowners could be drinking contaminated water and not know it. Three years is the key development life of a child.” ~~~ Bergen Record – April 25, 2010

Gov. Christie’s proposed FY’14 DEP budget is up before the Senate Budget Committee tomorrow (Monday 4/15/13) at 1 pm.

As we’ve documented for over 3 years now, the Christie environmental record is rich with low hanging targets for critical legislative oversight – which we will not go into here.

Rather, I thought it might be a good opportunity to re-post a huge controversy the emerged during the Senate’s April 27, 2010 hearing on the first Christie DEP budget – see:

Senate Dems Blast Christie Global Warming Cuts and DEP’s Abandonment of Perchlorate Drinking Water Standard

A major dispute erupted over the Christie DEP’s withdrawal of a Corzine DEP proposed drinking water standard for the chemical perchlorate.

Here was the set up news coverage prior to the hearing: (Bergen Record, 4/25/10)

The Christie administration has backed off plans to require testing and treatment of drinking water for a chemical ingredient of fertilizer and rocket fuel that has been found in some private and public wells in North Jersey and which poses health risks for pregnant women and infants even with short-term exposure.

Senator Barbara Buono (4/27/10)

Two days later, during the April 27, 2010 Senate hearing, DEP Commissioner Martin had a sharp exchange with then Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono regarding DEP’s failure to adopt a proposed drinking water standard for the chemical perchlorate.

In extraordinary testimony, Martin mislead legislators –  at times he flat out lied – and even attacked  the work of DEP’s scientists – and all on false grounds.

Martin attacked DEP scientists by claiming that when he  reviewed the scientific basis for the proposed standard, he found that DEP science was “shoddy, poor, not organized, and anecdotal” and that “there was little data and science to back it up”. (those are verbatim quotes. Martin has no scientific  training).

Three days later, Martin did a U-turn and said he would enact a perchlorate standard.  On April 30, the Bergen Record wrote: Perchlorate limits to be set for water:

Just weeks after refusing to sign a proposed rule to regulate perchlorate levels in drinking water, state environmental commissioner Bob Martin indicated Thursday that he will implement restrictions for the chemical, which is harmful to pregnant women and fetuses.

“The commissioner does plan to institute a perchlorate regulation as quickly as possible,” Larry Ragonese, a spokesman for Martin, said Thursday.

The Buono dispute and Martin U-Turn led to a critical May 2, 2010 Bergen Record editorial “Cleaner Water“, that validated our views and chastised and humiliated Martin personally:

Martin’s new opinion came about after he was embarrassed publicly. The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility released e-mails sent to Martin from the EPA that made clear that even if the agency imposed a limit, 6 1/2 years could elapse before the rule was in place, Staff Writer James O’Neill reported. Martin would have been playing Russian roulette with the public’s health.

Then AFTER the embarrassing May 2 Record editorial, remarkably, in an unprecedented move, on May 7, Martin issue a press release that did another U-Turn and personally named and attacked Buono, then the Senate Majority Leader:


(10/P35) TRENTON – Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin today refuted a statement by Senator Barbara Buono, who contended he has done an “about face’’ on setting drinking water standards for the chemical perchlorate in New Jersey.

I don’t ever recall a Cabinet Official issuing a press release attacking a legislator, never mind the Senate Majority Leader

So here we are, 3 years later. Will Dems forget all that?

The facts have shown Martin to have made misleading and false statements.

Martin failed to act to propose the drinking water standard for perchlorate and his EPA excuse was false, see:

RATIONALE FOR NEW JERSEY WATER QUALITY DELAY IS BOGUS – Commissioner Claim of Imminent EPA Perchlorate Action Contradicted by E-Mails

So, aside from the numerous issues in need of oversight, will the Dems let this lie and give Martin a pass?

Not only was Martin’s attack on his own scientists and Senator President Buono false and unprecedented, Buono is now running for Governor.

I for sure would shove Martin’s words down his throat, and very publicly.


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Take a Good Hard Look at Your Guns Nuts

April 13th, 2013 No comments

 A Tiny Faction of Pathetic Old Fat White Men Block Reforms on Gun Safety

About 15 pro-gun advocates rallied at an abandoned gas station on Route 35 in Woodbridge today. Their two-hour demonstration was one of eight being held across New Jersey this weekend to protest gun-control legislation. Seth Augenstein/The Star-Ledger


Where the veterans dream of the fight
Fast asleep at the traffic light  ~~~~  The Pretender (Jackson Brown (1976 –  listen)

Take a good hard look at those scary NRA gun nuts, who allegedly wield so much political power.

A pathetic drooling handful of fat old white men.

Then read the Star Ledger coverage of their pathetic “protest” (hit this link).

These are the folks who block reforms on gun safety? You must be kidding, right?

And they picked an apt location – an old closed gas station in Woodbridge off Rt. 35.

Why does the Ledger even cover this garbage?  They miss tons of real news every day, and they cover this crap?

The only reason I posted this is to show how marginal and pathetic this gun nut crowd is.

Compare this crew to the thousands upon thousands of moms, dads, teachers, cops and everyday people demanding gun safety!

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Obama Has Worst Week In Presidential History

April 13th, 2013 3 comments

[Update – just read this and it must be included in this list – the Obama budget sets in motion a plan to PRIVATIZE TVA, see:  Obama Honors Thatcher with TVA “Privitization” Plan, Kicks Ordinary People in the Stomach Again – end update]

I will be very brief here, because I’m really just too disgusted to write in detail about any of this:

1. Social Security Cuts

Obama’s budget proposed to cut Social Security cost of living adjustment – all while raising taxes on the poor and middle class.

Obama becomes the first Democratic President ever to propose Social Security cuts. No revenue increases for the wealthy or raise in the $110,000 income cap accompanied or “balanced” these proposed cuts. Social Security plays NO ROLE in the deficit, and therefore can not be justified on “fiscal” auserity or budget deficit grounds.


2. Climate Collapse – Concession to Big Coal 

Obama just caved to Big Coal and killed EPA’s proposed rule on NEW power plants – read the NY Times story.

The move is being spun as merely a delay due to litigation risk, and not a concession. While EPA did make a legal error, make no mistake, it is a total political cave.

We will never see this rule reproposed in a way that would BAN NEW COAL. 

[Note: After listening to the Obama Energy and EPA confirmation hearings – both candidates praised coal and supported the “all of the above” Obama energy strategy, while EPA signaled retreat from even recommending that GHG emissions be considered in coal export policy or NEPA review –  my sense is that EPA will propose a new rule that establishes new coal power plant BACT as CCS – wasting billions more R&D on fossil subsidies and keeping coal alive another generation. “Cost effective” CCS “retrofit” might also be the approach to existing plants, allowing them to remain operating while CCS R&D tries to develop a cost effective or feasible technology –

And lets not forget this groveling: Obama campaign adds ‘clean coal’ to website after GOP complaints. At least Jeff Biggers sure as hell didn’t]

This is a devastating blow for any regulatory strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

And the collapse is not just political – it illustrates a monumental strategic and legal error by Lisa Jackson and her supporters in the ENGO community.

EPA’s proposed rule for new power plants reversed the previous 40 years of EPA’s “best available control technology” (BACT) approach under the Clean Air Act, which was base on fuel and facility type. This resulted in different BACTs for coal, gas, and oil fueled power plants.

Instead, EPA set BACT for a single category on power plants (based on the carbon emissions from natural gas – 1,000 lbs per MMBTU).

This is not legally defensible under the Clean Air Act. What was Jackson and her ENGO cheerleaders thinking?

Ironically, EPA would have been better off doing nothing, because no one is building NEW coal power plants due to the glut and cheap price of natural gas.

Worse, as we warned, this Obama collapse for NEW coal means there is no way he has the balls to get significant emissions reductions from EXISTING coal plants.

We are truly fucked.

3.  Clean Water Cuts

At a time when the best evidence from the ASCE Report card concludes that we need to invest $298 billion over the next 20 years for water infrastructure, Obama’s budget proposes to  cut $474 million from the State Revolving Fund (SRF) that pays for those investments (this is in addition to prior cuts due to sequestration)

Much more investment is required if adaptation to climate change is considered and infrastructure asset management is changed from a voluntary to a mandatory program.

4. Endless War – Endless lies

The Obama lies about his “kill list”, drone program, and expanding war on whistleblowers continue to be exposed – see this.

Really, how much worse can it get? Read Chris Floyd on rethinking.

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Gov. Christie Now Knows The Tapes Exist – Will He Watch the Dupont Pompton Lakes Video Tapes?

April 12th, 2013 8 comments

A Town Hall Exchange with a Real Activist

Gov. Is Now Personally Aware of Toxic Nightmare In Pompton Lakes – Will He Act?

Cheryl Rubino gets in Gov. Christie’s face on Dupont Pompton Lakes toxic nightmare (source: Aristide Economopoulos/The Star-Ledger)


Thank you Governor so much….my name is Cheryl Rubino from Middlesex Boro, I grew up in Pompton Lakes. There is a petition out there with over 11,000 signature requesting your endorsement to put the Dupont PL Works site on the Superfund list and we need your support and request it be listed. The cleanup has been going for over 30 years and we need just ONE agency to overlook and run this clean up once and for all. That agency should be the EPA. In fact due to us not being a Superfund we have a Lake remediation that has stalled.

I’ve been involved and writing about the toxic nightmare created by Dupont in Pompton Lakes NJ for several years now.

Today, there’s been a major new development, thanks to Cheryl Rubino, a superb activist with Citizens for a Clean Pompton Lakes (CCPL), the group fighting to get the Dupont site cleaned up and designated by EPA a national priority under the Superfund program. That’s Cheryl above, asking Gov. Christie to support Superfund designation.

Although not legally mandatory, EPA Superfund listing policy prefers the concurrence of State government and Regional Administrator Enck has said that if Gov. Christie supports the designation, she will have the site listed under Superfund. We have urged EPA to list the site based on an extraordinarily high HRS score of 70, which greatly exceeds the eligibility threshold score of 28.5, even without consideration of vapor intrusion risks into 450 homes.

Our research has revealed that at least 27 additional NJ sites qualify for Superfund listing, with HRS score in excess of 28.5.

So, let me tell the story today within the narrative structure of the still unfolding Rutgers scandal, because that has gotten much play and people clearly understand the implications for management accountability.

When a public official is made fully aware of a problem under their control, he/she becomes morally, legally, and politically responsible and accountable for responding to that problem.

That’s why Rutgers President Barchi refused to watch the abuse tapes of Basketball coach Rice when he was told about them.

He simply did not want to know what was on those tapes so he could have a degree of separation and plausible deniability for how the problem was addressed.

That’s why he delegated and dumped this hot steaming turd in the lap of Athletic Director Pernetti and washed his hands of it.

Barchi knew that if things subsequently blew up – which they ultimately did – then he could always say he didn’t know and thereby dodge accountability for how the problem was addressed – AKA “plausible deniability”.

Well, Governor Christie now is in that same situation right now with respect to the problems at the Dupont Pompton Lakes site.

Just like when Athletic Director Pernetti first told President Barchi about the tapes, Gov. Christie has been told that a serious problem exists – see above photo for proof of that.

Christie now owns that problem and must respond.

Residents of Pompton Lakes have been writing the Governor for months and receiving lame constituent reply form letters, or no response at all.

In my experience, letters and phone calls from residents are referred to the Governor’s Office of constituent relations, and typically are responded to at a very low level. In the event of a large volume of calls/letters, or when an issue get media play, the issue might get bumped up to a management or policy level where someone in the Gov.s Office calls or emails a liaison in DEP,  who might even contact the DEP Commissioner for a response.

Very rarely does the Governor get personally involved in the details of a citizen’s concerns.

A Town Hall exchange can change all that – and in this case, it did. Gov. Christie personally promised a response to Ms. Rubino. [Source: Personal communication w/Ms. Rubino]

So, the Governor has two basic options at this point:

1) Like Barchi, he can call DEP Commissioner Martin, rely on his judgement, and delegate; or

2) Like Barchi should have done, the Gov. can do the equivalent of looking at the video tapes.

What’s it gonna be Gov.?

We hope he chooses option #2

The Gov. needs to know that DEP Commissioner Martin has already opposed designating the Dupont site as an EPA lead Superfund site.

That would further embarrass DEP for the mismanagement of the site for 25 years and is opposed by Martin’s friend, the chemical giant Dupont.

If the Gov. chooses option #2, here are some “video tapes” he can delve into:

standing room only at Pompton Lakes High School auditorium to hear about cancer cluster Report (12/15/09)

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