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Documents Show That NJ Audubon Wrote DEP Commissioner Martin’s Remarks to Corporate Council

Corporate Event Arranged By Commissioner’s Office – DEP Experts Had No Role

US Fish and Wildlife Service Was Invited But Did Not Show

William Penn Foundation Involved In Poorly Attended Event

DEP Commissioner Bob Martin - Gov. Christie's attack dog is shown to be a puppet of NJ Audubon!

DEP Commissioner Bob Martin – Gov. Christie’s attack dog is shown to be a puppet of NJ Audubon!

I recently filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request for documents related to the NJ Audubon’s Corporate Stewardship Council meeting at DEP headquarters (see this post for background on that meeting).

DEP requested an extension of the 7 day OPRA response deadline. When I asked for the justification for the extension request, as I suspected, DEP basically confirmed the pure political nature of the meeting.

Check this out, DEP experts had no role and the event was arranged by DEP Commissioner Martin’s office (source: 11/16/17 email from Matt Coefer, DEP Chief Records Custodian):


The request was originally assigned to the NJDEP’s Natural & Historic Resources (NHR) Program as the interests seem in line with their activities. However, they investigated and responded that they had no involvement with the meeting.  It was later identified that the meeting was coordinated by the Commissioner’s Office. 

But even worse, the documents DEP provided today show that not only were DEP experts cut out of the Commissioner’s political meeting with corporate cronies, but that DEP Commissioner Martin’s remarks at the meeting were written by John Parke of NJ Audubon.

Take a look at this September 27, 2016 email from Jim Schissias of PSEG to Parke, asking him to draft Commissioner Martin’s remarks:
Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 11.16.42 AMGet that?

First, DEP Commissioner Martin ignores his own staff; Second, he meets with corporate cronies behind closed doors; Third his DEP professional staff do not attend the event; and Fourth, his remarks are written by NJ Audubon.

That is pathetic – the DEP Commissioner a puppet of NJ Audubon, speaking to a group of corporate cronies.

But it is even worse than that.

NJ Audubon – basically working for Jim Shissias of PSEG and corporate cronies – was sure to invite a deep pocketed Foundation to the event – Andrew W. Johnson of the William Penn Foundation.

Presumably, this was part of a funding pitch, a manipulative set up of Wm Penn’s Johnson, as he listens as NJ Audubon basks in DEP Commissioner Martin’s praise – which they wrote – of the wonders of their sham corporate greenwash program.

Totally corrupt. Totally.

Significantly, the US Fish and Wildlife Service was invited to attend the meeting but did not show up.

NJ Audubon has stressed the involvement of US FWS, in a transparent attempt to: 1) mislead the public that this is a bona fide conservation program and 2) to deflect their role in forming a partnership with Donald Trump and the other so called “corporate stewards”.

US FWS had the good sense to stay away and did not attend the event.

Actually, the event was a bust, as the 11 NJ Audubon staff in attendance outnumbered the corporate “stewards” who showed up.

OPRA documents show that 34 corporate representatives were invited to the meeting and “expected” to attend.

But the meeting sign in sheets show that just a small fraction of that showed up – just 11:

PSEG sent 3 people; Waste Management 1; Suez 1; Mannington Mills 1; JCP&L 1; J&J 1; Verizon 1; Chemours (Dupont) 1; South Jersey Gas 1; Crystal Springs 1.

As I previously wrote, all those corporations had regulatory matters pending before DEP and had significant economic interests in maintaining a good relationship with DEP Commissioner Martin.

But the OPRA documents show what really went down: A self serving and poorly attended political stunt with little conservation value or scientific basis – but lavishly funded by government and private foundations.

Meet your NJ Audubon, Christie DEP Commissioner, and “corporate stewards!

(all DEP documents will be provided on request to validate the above).

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