Home > Uncategorized > Let’s Set The Extraordinary Context For Gov. Murphy’s Expected Signature Of “Environmental Justice” Legislation

Let’s Set The Extraordinary Context For Gov. Murphy’s Expected Signature Of “Environmental Justice” Legislation

Context Belies Gov. Murphy and DEP Claims

EJ Advocates Are Making A Huge Strategic Mistake

(Part I)

We need to establish the context, before the Murphy propaganda machine frames the issues.

A seriously flawed bill purported to promote “environmental justice” has passed both houses of the NJ Legislature and is now on Gov. Murphy’s desk.

The Assembly resolved some of the flaws I previously noted by passing the Senate version (S232 [2R]) on August 27, 2020. But the bill remains seriously flawed. (see also:

All of this, of course, was ignored by NJ Spotlight coverage and the deeply compromised NJ based EJ cheerleaders who supported the bill.

Even worse, NJ Spotlight’s story affirmatively misleads readers about all the problems with the bill. Reporter Tom Johnson did that by posting a link to the introduced version of S232, not the 2R version that the Assembly passed.

For those that don’t follow the legislative process, a “2R version” means that the bill was substantively amended TWICE. Those amendments weakened an already gutted bill, as I’ve previously written.

And in an Orwellian twist, NJ Spotlight – who had ignored the legislative history until I made that history clear – now reports favorably on a 10 year long process of gutting the original version of the bill (emphasis mine):

The legislation, sought for by the environmental-justice community for more than a decade, is viewed by advocates as one of the strongest measures in the country to give local communities the ability to fight new power plants, incinerators, and manufacturing facilities within their borders.

Let me provide an historical analogy and a thought experiment to illustrate the problem with this “decade”.

The 1965 Voting Rights Act was introduced just days after the nation witnessed viscious police attacks on civil rights protesters. The bill was a direct response to those attacks and a result of the work of the Civil Rights Movement:

On February 18 in Marion, Alabama, state troopers violently broke up a nighttime voting-rights march during which officer James Bonard Fowler shot and killed young African-American protester Jimmie Lee Jackson, who was unarmed and protecting his mother.[21]:265[24] Spurred by this event, and at the initiation of Bevel,[21]:267[22][23][25]:81–86 on March 7 SCLC and SNCC began the Selma to Montgomery marches in which Selma residents proceeded to march to Alabama’s capital, Montgomery, to highlight voting rights issues and present Governor George Wallace with their grievances. On the first march, demonstrators were stopped by state and county police on horseback at the Edmund Pettus Bridge near Selma. The police shot tear gas into the crowd and trampled protesters. Televised footage of the scene, which became known as “Bloody Sunday”, generated outrage across the country. […]

[Senate sponsor] Dirksen did not originally intend to support voting rights legislation so soon after supporting the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but he expressed willingness to accept “revolutionary” legislation after learning about the police violence against marchers in Selma on Bloody Sunday.

For our purposes of analogy, given this history, could you imagine if at the time some so called “civil rights leaders” praised and supported a weak version of a Voting Rights Act bill that was drafted and negotiated 10 years prior to Bloody Sunday?

A bill that was drafted before the Civil Rights Movement gained enormous public support?

Well, that’s exactly what NJ’s so called “environmental justice” leaders have done.

They are applauding and supporting a weak bill that was negotiated and drafted 10 years before the Black Lives Matter movement emerged, and then weakened over this 10 year period.

A bill drafted ten years before the police murder of George Floyd sparked a nationwide rebellion and created political space to advance real progress, not compromised ineffective bullshit.

Why are NJ EJ “advocates” supporting this compromise bill?

Why don’t they demand far more?

They are not only missing the moment, they are betraying their alleged cause.

(Part II tomorrow – we’ll call it “Tuskegee II”):

  • DEP secretly OK’s chemical experiment in Rahway, then feigns surprise by community outrage, then blames the community.
  • Orwellian “News Management” – to divert from the Rahway disaster, DEP and AG announce token EJ lawsuits.
  • How will Gov.Murphy spin all this when he signs the bill?
  • How and why will EJ advocates respond?


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