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First They Ignored Them – Then They Defunded Them

Planning & Regulatory Tools For Open Space & Water Resource Protections Ignored 

Elite Interests, Privatization, & Deregulation Advanced By Conservation Groups

“The Public was duped on this ~~~ Bill Wolfe NJ.com (12/9/14)

This was my argument last year, BEFORE the Keep It Green Coalition decided to steal $100 million/year from existing State Parks and DEP environmental programs – as reported by NJ Spotlight

“Open-space preservation is just one part of land-use planning and conservation,’’ said Bill Wolfe, the head of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility in New Jersey. He added that open-space funding is just one part of the overall tool kit to protect natural resources, citing land-use regulations and other planning directives.

Not only are those tools being neglected, Wolfe said, but also they are being rolled back by the Christie administration with scarcely a word from legislators or those in the NJ Keep It Green Coalition.

“The regulatory stick has withered on the vine,’’ he told the committee. “It’s dead.’’ Without tough regulatory rules governing land use, Wolfe said, it would be throwing away taxpayer funds to purchase properties that might again be in harm’s way from future extreme storms.

So, we’ve gone from Keep It Green simply ignoring critical planning and regulatory tools, to a situation where KIG stole funds from those regulatory programs and the funding source for 266 professionals who administer those programs.

Yesterday’s debate on the open space implementation approach was nasty – I will write about it in the near future.

Those interested can listen to all the testimony here (hit this link and go to “listen to prior proceedings” and then to the Senate Environment Committee).

Here is good news coverage from the only reporter who understood what’s really going on and had the balls to write that story, see quotes from :

“In the urban communities, we need help right now,” Gaddy said. “We can’t continue to cut the funding and not support our communities. It’s not fair.”

But critics of the ballot measure say that the nonprofits that comprise Keep It Green are seeking to benefit from “stewardship” money that’s being diverted from state programs under the new funding system.

Bill Wolfe, the head of the New Jersey chapter of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said voters were “actively misinformed” about the “unprecedented, deep cuts” brought about by the ballot initiative, blaming the Keep It Green coalition for overemphasizing the benefits to open space and downplaying the cuts.

“The public was duped on this,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe recommended restoring funding for state parks and the DEP, which could see significant staff cuts from the shortfall, before appropriating money elsewhere. (He outlined those recommendations on his blog here.)

Shame on NJ Spotlight who also knows what is going on, but decided to frame and write a different story about farmland versus open space.

We think that’s another example of Spotlight pulling a punch as a result of Foundation major funders Dodge & William Penn.

Those same foundations fund the Keep It Green member groups who lied to the public in a $1 million campaign of misinformation.


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