Home > Uncategorized > It’s The Pinelands PROTECTION Act, Not The Corporate Stewardship and Mitigation Act

It’s The Pinelands PROTECTION Act, Not The Corporate Stewardship and Mitigation Act

Gov. Murphy’s Pinelands Nomination Opens Fundamental Policy Debate

Most environmentalists have relationships with power companies and other utilities. It is how we try to influence their goals, their land stewardship, and push for stronger clean power goals at the state level. ~~~ Jennifer M. Coffey, Executive Director,  ANJEC (1/23/19 email – available on request)

This post is a followup to my recent criticism of Gov. Murphy’s nomination to the Pinelands Commission of NJ Audubon’s lobbyist, Kelly Mooij.

I am disgusted but not surprised by the quote above, which was part of a series of push back emails to local Pinelands activists who had raised concerns about Ms. Mooij’s relationships with energy companies, including the same companies that are proposing and building gas pipelines across the Pinelands to serve a fossil power plant on the shore, named BL England.

It is blatantly not true that “most environmentalists” have relationships with power companies.

That false statement reveals just how corrupt the mainstream “conservation” community in NJ has become.

Those “relationships” between certain conservation groups and power companies, like PSEG, have resulted in all sorts of corrupt deals – deals that are directly related to Ms. Mooij’s suitability to serve on the Pinelands Commission.

Let me explain, as I offered no details in my prior post.

Recall that the original South jersey Gas Pipeline proposal (called the MOA) included an $8 million contribution as “mitigation”, essentially a quid pro quo for regulatory approval by the Commission.

As I wrote at the time:

Commissioner Jackson said that he had just undergone ethics training and that the MOA harmed the Commission’s integrity and created the appearance of taking $8 million, paid by ratepayers, in exchange for approval. He warned his fellow Commissioners about growing public concern, particularly in light of South Jersey Gas’ recent request for a rate increase. Commissioner Jackson even said it looks like “we’re being paid off to do this.”

This is the relationship and regulatory model that corrupt NJ Audubon and fellow conservation groups openly support.

They support money contributions to purchase land to “mitigate” harm – and, of course, their own organizations receive some of that money – directly or indirectly – either via “partnerships” with power companies, as consultants to DEP or power companies, or via receipt of State open space money to purchase land.

EXACTLY the same kind of “mitigation” contribution was used to grease the skids for regulatory approvals of the Susquehanna-Roseland power line through the Delaware Water Gap and NJ Highlands, see: The Mendacity of the Mitigation Manipulators, where I included these news quotes:

To mitigate the loss, the utilities behind the line – PSE&G and PPL – last week announced an offer of land worth $30 million for public preservation. The” thousands of acres of land” has been identified as priorities by conservation groups, according to Karen Johnson, a PSE&G spokeswoman. ~~~ Morris Daily Record 1/26/12

As I said at the time:

Bill Wolfe of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility called the utilities’ recently announced offer to buy and preserve $30 million in nearby lands as “mitigation” for the power lines a test of the National Park Service’s integrity. “It’s an offense to the public process,” Wolfe said. ~~~ Pocono Record 1/25/12

That $30 million was only the federal part of the corrupt deal. (The final deal was closer to $60 million).

An additional $18 million was paid to the NJ Highlands Council:

A proposal by PSE&G would more than triple the line’s current size and capacity. The utility company today slightly amended the proposed line to limit its environmental impact. 

PSE&G has slightly amended the route of a proposed power line through northern New Jersey to limit environmental damage and will create an $18.6 million fund to finance environmental repairs, the company said today. (Star Ledger, 5/19/09)

Those elite dirty deals were cut behind closed doors and sold out and betrayed real grassroots activists who had been vigorously opposing those projects.

NJ Audubon and fellow conservation groups supported those dirty deals.

The “relationships” between energy companies and conservation groups are long established.

PSEG has been spreading a LOT of money around for a LONG time.

The PSEG contributions to and relationships with conservation groups have paid off handsomely, in huge profits and huge damage to the environment.

Just one historical example: PSEG garnered support from their conservation friends for a mitigation deal in Delaware Bay, whereby PSEG avoided the billion dollar costs of installing cooling towers at their 3 nuclear plants on the Delaware in exchange for a sham wetlands mitigation project.

As a result, the nuke plants slaughter billions of fish and aquatic organisms, while PSEG profits by avoiding billions in compliance costs.

NJ Audubon and fellow conservation groups agreed to support that dirty deal, providing PSEG with billion dollar green cover. They sold out. Period.

More recently, the same friendly conservation groups did not oppose the billion dollar PSEG nuke bailout.

See how that corruption works?

These sellouts include political, legislative and regulatory battles, where NJ Audubon and conservation friends get co-opted and support horrible compromises.

Ms. Coffey openly states the source of the problem. She views private, behind closed door, dealings with the power companies as a way to:

influence their goals, their land stewardship, and push for stronger clean power goals at the state level.

The real way to influence power companies and “push for stronger clean power goals” is not by taking money from them and asking for voluntary “stewardship” and tokens.

The way to influence their behavior is via activism, science, democracy, legislation, regulation and lawsuits.

Jennifer Coffey and Kelly Mooij have been wading in those corrupt Trenton swamps for years.

They hide behind slogans like “stewardship” and “mitigation” to try to cover up the stench.

We don’t need these kinds of relationships or stewardship or mitigation deals in the Pinelands.

Just ask the Senate Judiciary Committee to say NO to Ms. Mooij.

And the Green Mafia needs to back off the pushback on real grass roots activists.

It is amazing and sickening that Jennifer Coffee never once appeared before the Commission to oppose the pipelines, but now she challenges real activists who did in defense of the indefensible.

But that’s just the ethics and view from the swamp she lives in.

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