Home > Uncategorized > As Facts Emerge, Keep It Green Keeps On Lying On Open Space Diversion

As Facts Emerge, Keep It Green Keeps On Lying On Open Space Diversion

DEP Commissioner Martin Was Right To Restore Cuts

Voters Did Not OK Gutting State Parks, Water Resources, and Toxic Site Cleanup

After a $1 million fueled PR campaign that duped NJ voters on the November Open Space ballot question, as the reality of their lies is setting in, to avoid accountability for what they’ve done, the Keep It Green Coalition is now lying to legislators and media.

The debate finally has been engaged as a result of the Legislative DEP budget review, and the KIG spinners are squirming as reality sets in.

One example, a recent Senate debate on deficiencies in NJ’s Shellfish Sanitation Programhas exposed the impacts of the Open Space diversion of $10 million from water resource monitoring programs. As NJ Spotlgiht reported:

Bill Wolfe, a former DEP employee, blamed part of the problem on a ballot question approved by voters last fall that diverted millions of dollars from the DEP’s budget for programs to monitor water quality and other resources.

“We’re running a threadbare approach threatening a $1 billion industry in the state,’’ he said.

As we’ve written the open space ballot diverted $10 million per year from core water resource programs:(source: Jon Miller)

  • Barnegat Bay monitoring would be hit and other water quality monitoring for the ocean (coastal counties), all surface and groundwater statewide, shellfish monitoring needed by FDA to verify safety of the shellfish industry on the coast
  • Flood projections and warnings would be compromised in floodprone watersheds such as the Passaic and Raritan Watersheds; we can’t be without these systems from a public safety standpoint
  • Drought monitoring and projections would be hampered for underground aquifers; this is where most of South Jersey gets its water for drinking

Now the State Parks and coastal marine monitoring cuts are getting media and legislative attention.

This week, Mike Symons at the Asbury Park Press reported on the debate, but under a deeply misleading headline:  Voters OK’d more $ for parks; instead cash feeds salaries

Symons reports on critical Barnegat Bay and coastal programs that were defunded by the open space ballot initiative:

For example, money dedicated for watershed management and monitoring, such as testing water quality in Barnegat Bay and monitoring shellfish waters, streams and aquifers, drops from $16 million under the old formula to $5.6 million in the coming year. The dedication for staffing cleanup of polluted sites overseen by the DEP drops from $9.6 million to zero.

But again, we see the effects of the KIG lies and failure to tell the truth that the KIG stole these funds:

“Park staffing is very important, but it should be funded through the general fund as it has been in the past, leaving the $20 million for preservation projects as the voters intended,” said Amy Hansen, policy analyst for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation.

No mention that KIG stole those staff funds. The arrogance and hypocrisy continue to amaze.

At the same time that KIG members slash State Parks and DEP progressional staff funding and oppose restoration of those cuts, they seek INCREASES in public funding for primarily sham “stewardship” projects conducted by their own organizations and funding their own staff!

Let me break it down and repeat that because it is so amazing:

1.KIG spent $1 million to mislead NJ voters about what they were voting for, by not mentioning – and even denying – that deep cuts would result to Parks and environmental programs from approval of the open space ballot and by attacking critics who exposed the fact that the cuts would occur;

2. KIG defunded State Parks and core water resource and toxic site cleanup programs and celebrated that act;

3. When the deep cuts were understood by Legislative leaders during the debate over implementation legislation, KIG opposed restoration of those cuts and instead demanded MORE TAXPAYER FUNDS be allocated to their own organizations and staff;

4. When the cuts were documented by OLS and fully understood during theDEP budget process, to prevent this being understood by the public, KIG is now lying to reporters and editorial boards;

This is a disgraceful pattern of conduct and it is coming from well endowed, elite organizations who are showing their true colors.

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  1. scott_olson
    May 10th, 2015 at 10:29 | #1

    These clowns at Keep It Green just don’t stop.

    KIG spent nearly a MILLION dollars to mislead the public into believing that a YES vote on Ballot Question 2 was a good thing.

    Fact is, the CBT money that formerly went to NJ Parks capital improvements, maintenance, etc., as well as DEP water quality monitoring, underground storage tank remediation, and a large number of important environmental health programs was ROBBED by the KIG elitists to fund their idea of ‘open space.’

    I found an interesting quote in a blog post from Blue Jersey’s Rosi Efthim (http://www.bluejersey.com/diary/15253/earth-day-before-you-were-born), who calls it, “…money – paid for by all the taxpayers…used too often to build green moats around rich neighborhoods so the rest of you don’t feel right intruding…”

    While the elites scramble, lie, cheat and try to make back room deals over ‘their share’ of the much smaller environmental funding pot, the rest of the real people suffer a degraded quality of environmental protection, and our parks and historic site continue to fall further into disrepair.

    Thanks for relentlessly hammering this point home, Wolfe!

  2. May 11th, 2015 at 08:25 | #2


    Thanks Scott – the worm squirms!

    It is astonishing that I would SUPPORT the Christie DEP over the NJ Conservation Community – that’s how bad what they have done and how they’ve done it is.

    Should be interesting to see them all support SCR 163, the Consitutioan dedication of pollution Settlement money today, after they opposed it in the introduced version of the open space initiative, SCR84 and had it deleted.

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