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The Green Cannibals Roaming In Trenton Do Enormous Damage

Steal Money From Existing Environmental Programs To Fund Pet Projects

Give Green Cover To Corporations, The Wealthy & Politicians Who Serve Them

Cannibalism is the act of consuming another individual of the same species as food…. Human cannibalism is well documented, both in ancient and in recent times ~~~ Wiki

Let me first briefly set the context for the point I want to make about another egregious abuse by what I will call The Green Cannibals of Trenton (TM) – AKA The Green Mafia.

For 40 years, since the Reagan administration, corporations and the wealthy have benefited from a set of policies known as Neoliberalism; e.g. tax cuts for corporations and the rich (AKA “trickle down”), corporate subsidies, deregulation, privatization, “liberalization” of trade policies (AKA “globalization”), financialization, deindustrialization, disinvestment, attacks on unions, and austerity for the public sector (AKA as “make government small enough to drown in the bathtub”).

These policies have resulted in a huge transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to what is commonly known as the “1 percent”. These policies have created the largest wealth and income inequality and concentration and consolidation of corporate economic and political power since the Gilded Age.

At the same time, social safety net programs have been slashed and government – particularly its regulatory functions – has been neutered.

Those massively destructive Reagan initiated national Neoliberal policies have been emulated in NJ, by both Republicans and Democrats.

We can observe those policies in action with respect to environmental programs and the DEP, perhaps most clearly under the “Open For Business” Whitman and Christie administrations, who both waged war on environmental programs, slashed DEP’s budget and staffing levels, rolled back and/or abandoned regulatory enforcement, and privatized and deregulated.

At the same time, climate science has made it imperative that we undertake a massive transformation of our energy and economic systems, make huge new investments in public infrastructure, and greatly reduce economic and political inequality and injustice.

So, with this policy context in mind, how has the mainstream NJ environmental community and their corporatized Foundation Funders responded to these multiple crises?

  • They have completely ignored corporate power and economic inequality – and taken steps to actually increase it.
  • They have compromised and sold out on climate and energy programs, by supporting piecemeal, small bore, deeply flawed, and ineffective market based programs that won’t make a dent in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • They supported the $300 million/year corporate PSEG nuclear bailout.
  • They have gone along with even more crippling budget and staff cuts at DEP.
  • They supported a sham cost-benefit test that blocks expansion of renewable energy.
  • They have lied to and misled the public.
  • They have promoted privatization and/or deregulation, or failed to challenge it.

I have written in depth about and can provide numerous specific examples of all of the above, but that would make this already lengthy post far too long (hit the links above – I’ll try to link more).

So, with all that in mind, let me explain the justification for the Green Cannibals meme.

Readers will recall the following recent actions by the Green Cannibals:

  • The Keep It Green (KIG) Coalition stole hundreds of millions of dollars previously Constitutionally dedicated to DEP clean water, State Parks maintenance, and toxic site cleanup programs. They diverted these funds to the Open Space program. On top of this theft, they lied to the public about all this and engaged in self dealing by allocating funds to support their own organizations.
  • The recent electric car legislation stole $300 million from funds previously earmarked for greenhouse gas emission reduction programs (RGGI) and energy efficiency and low income energy assistance programs (Clean Energy Fund – SBC).

Now, after all these thefts, they are again trying to steal money from environmental programs instead of fighting for new revenues and equitable sharing of the burdens of funding these programs.

Specifically, I just learned that for their first hearing of the new legislative session, on Monday the Senate Environment Committee will hear legislation S864 – a bill that:

Prohibits provision or sale of single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use paper carryout bags, and polystyrene foam food service products; limits provision of single-use plastic straws; appropriates moneys from Clean Communities Program Fund for public education.

Did you get that? Here’s the legislative text (see page 11)

in each of the first three years after the effective date of P.L. , c. (C. )(pending before the Legislature as this bill), $500,000 of the estimated annual balance of the Clean Communities Program Fund shall be appropriated to the department and made available on July 1 of each year to the organization under contract with the department pursuant to section 6 of P.L.2002, c.128 (C.13:1E-218) for the Statewide public information and education program developed pursuant to subsection b. of section of section 8 of P.L. , c. (C. )(pending before the Legislature as this bill).

The Green Cannibals are proposing another act of cannibalism on a very popular and effective DEP program known as “Clean Communities“, a program designed to:

To provide financial assistance for the implementation of litter abatement programs in eligible municipalities and counties within the State. …

All 21 New Jersey counties and 558 of the 565 New Jersey municipalities receive funding

Note that the Green Cannibals – just like in the Open Space and Electric vehicle thefts – are not supporting an increase in the tax that funds the current clean communities program in order to fund their pet program.

If the plastic program is important, then it should be funded with new revenues, not existing revenues. Like how about a tax on the polluters who make all the plastic crap?

The cannibals – or are they parasites? – must be stopped before they do more damage.

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