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Booker Barking Up The Right Tree – Backs Green New Deal

Will NJ Gov. Murphy’s DEP Listen?

Forestry, Justice, And Urban Jobs – Essential Features Of The Green New Deal

Last week (Aug. 3), I complained about the design of NJ DEP’s program to allocate about $10 million/year in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) funds to “carbon sequestration” (a fancy term for storing carbon in trees). I wrote:

Instead of planting millions of trees to shade and cool NJ’s cities and providing funding and jobs to urban residents and community organizations – a real environmental justice program – DEP will give money to elite groups like NJ Audubon and NJ Conservation Foundation and Mike Catania’s Duke Foundation to log forests in the Highlands and Pinelands, while issuing press releases bragging that they are fighting climate change and promoting environmental justice (and DEP’s friend Tim Dillingham of American Littoral Society will get his piece of the action for sham coastal wetlands restoration too – DEP might even find some way to fund the Gov.’s Chief Cheerleader Ed Potasnak at NJLCV and The Keep It Greed Crew. Of course, the former DEP hacks now at Rutgers will likely get a piece of the RGGI patronage as well.)

It is truly sickening.

So I was pleased to read that – coincidentally – just 4 days later, NJ US Senator Booker made a strong statement in support of exactly the kind of program I was driving at that NJ DEP should allocate RGGI funding to:   (see NJ.Com)

Planting 15 billion trees. Bringing back the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps. Restoring wetlands.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker on Wednesday proposed these measures as a way to combat climate change. The idea is to increase the amount of carbon emissions now absorbed by soil, forests and wetlands.

It is the latest of several detailed policy proposals he has issued during his run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The Civilian Conservation Corps was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a response to the Great Depression. This new version would hire low-income youth and those from indigenous communities and communities of color and teach them how to work in forestry and wetlands restoration.

I don’t support Booker politically, as a candidate.

And I don’t agree with all aspects of his proposal, which must be significantly strengthened, such as: 1) The proposed 2050 date needs to be accelerated by 25 years, 2) the program needs to be fully funded, preferably by fossil industry profits or assets (not sales), 3) the coastal wetlands program needs to be conditioned upon land use restrictions (no development in hazard zones) and accompanied by a funded and phased “strategic retreat” program, 4) there needs to be a specific number of jobs, $15/hour minimum wage, and job training guaranteed, and targeted to economically distressed areas (rural and urban) 5) there needs to be a rural component, not just an urban forestry program, 6) farmers need to be subject to mandatory requirements, not voluntary recommendations, 7) carbon offsets, carbon credits and carbon trading must not be part of the program, 8) the program can not be “justified” by promoting “forest health”, “young forests”, “sustainable forests” or “wildfire prevention” shams or provide funding to them, and 9) no corporate subsidies. Perhaps even more than 15 billion tress are necessary – I have no idea how Booker derived that number.

But his proposal is strongly in the right direction and warrants general support of all the national Democrats and the NJ DEP.

It is an important feature of the proposed Green New Deal and an essential component of a strategy to combat climate chaos.

In a twofer, the NJ.Com story then went on to slam Congressman Pallone, for blocking the Green New Deal:

“In FDR’s New Deal, the federal government planted billions of trees, provided conservation incentives to family farmers and ranchers, created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Civilian Conservation Corps, and electrified rural America,” said Booker, D-N.J.

“In order to address the urgent and existential threat posed by climate change, all of these approaches should be part of our broader strategy.”

Booker earlier endorsed the Green New Deal, an effort to curb the emissions contributing to climate change and creating new jobs in the process. But the effort championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is going nowhere in Congress due to the opposition of New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th Dist.

So glad that Pallone was called out.

The Green New Deal is the path forward.

Just like FDR pioneered his New Deal Programs as Governor of NY State – particularly the CCC forestry program – maybe NJ Gov. Murphy can get his DEP Commissioner and her  failed (thus far) climate programs on the same page.

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