Archive for December, 2020

In Praise Of Monsters

December 20th, 2020 No comments

Obscene Scenes Inside The Gold Mine

This may seem like very small change at a time when (among so many other obscenities):

What was it that Dr. King said about “approaching spiritual death”?

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

Are we there yet? I think so.

But, sometimes the small things are even more revealing and just as obscene, if not quite as deadly.

Here’s two recent NJ examples that made me puke:

1. When NJ Gov. Christie was photographed alone on the beach closed to the public, everyone understood exactly what was going on and the disgust, anger, shame and outrage were universal.

That scene – on top of Bridge-Gate – defined Christie as a person and politician.

Recently, Christie was in the national spotlight once again – and he should have faced the same shame and outrage.

But, Tom  Moran, my childhood friend and current editorial page editor at NJ’s largest newspaper, the Newark Star Ledger, tweeted out this praise of a monster:

Screen Shot 2020-12-20 at 11.57.08 AM

Liberal Tom Moran – I think he calls himself a Catholic to boot – fails to note that Gov. Christie – like Trump and his fellow COVID denying cronies – was provided quality health care and access to experimental treatments that very, very few Americans have, while millions suffer and die for lack of access to that same care and treatments.

A self promotional video is not penance or redemption for that outrage.

BTW, Moran has never fully “owned” his corrupt endorsement of Christie for Gov. in *** 2009.

*** I stand corrected by an astute reader: Moran endorsed in 2013 (which is actually worse, because he had 4 years to observe the man and obviously fell for Christie’s disgusting self promotion in the wake of Superstorm Sandy). I confused Moran with Dave Pringle, who endorsed Christie in 2009. Apologies for that error. Senior moment!

[Update: 12/25/20 – Jeffrey St. Clair:

+ Chris Christie, who prosecuted Kushner, told PBS that: “It’s one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes that I prosecuted…. And I was a US attorney in New Jersey…so we had some loathsome and disgusting crime going on there.” Takes one to really know one, I guess. ~~~ end update]

2. Former NJ Gov. Christine Whitman has the blood of thousands on her hands as a result of her lies that the post 9/11 air in Manhattan was safe to breath.

She has not – as Tom Moran would say – fully admitted and “owned” that crime, nor is Whitman now “saving lives”.

And Whitman has never admitted, apologized for or “owned” all these additional lies and actions, which are just as deadly as her post 9/11 lies – including denying and delaying for over a decade any EPA actions on climate change. For an inventory of all that, see:

Instead, of shaming Whitman and holding her accountable for her deplorable record, Whitman is another Monster being praised by NJ’s sycophantic media, see:

NJ Spotlight and its consolidation with WNYC, is betraying its founding mission and really going down the tubes (pun intended).

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Southwestern Sunday

December 13th, 2020 No comments


On the Sunday morning sidewalk
Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned
‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday
Makes a body feel alone
And there’s nothin’ short of dyin’
Half as lonesome as the sound
On the sleepin’ city sidewalks
Sunday morning coming down. ~~~ Kris Kristofferson

Some pics from the lovely southwestern town of Ajo, Arizona: (see Ajo’s lovely murals)











Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Did Littoral Society Bait And Switch The US Army Corps Of Engineers On Delaware Bay Resilience Project?

December 11th, 2020 No comments
Source: ALS, published by NJ Spotlight

Source: ALS, published by NJ Spotlight – red line mine

[Update below]

I was intrigued by a recent NJ Spotlight story, which provided very, very favorable coverage of a proposed “coastal resilience” project on Delaware Bay proposed by The American Littoral Society (ALS), see:

I was intrigued because I’ve found that these projects are often token ineffective feel good measures or “green” cover (mitigation) for some related destructive or controversial engineering or development project, like contaminated sediment dredging and disposal to benefit commercial shipping, marinas, or recreational boating.

My skepticism was triggered by a map of the project, prepared by ALS, which showed several “containment cells for dredge disposal” (see above). But there was no mention of dredge containment cells in the news story.

Additionally, the Spotlight story noted that DEP was providing $7 million to fund the project, which I found curious from a number of perspectives. For example, the Christie DEP provided ALS with over $1 million in funding for sham stormwater management projects during the height of public criticism of Gov. Christie’s failed Barnegat Bay Management Plan. (Just to be clear, I find these “partnerships” to be a form of corruption. Government buys loyalty and environmental groups sell their soul.)

The story also was published after the close of the public comment period on a US Army Corps of Engineers permit, which I also found a questionable practice.

So I reached out to NJ Spotlight reporter Jon Hurdle to ask him:

Jon – what were those “containment cells for dredge disposal” on the map?
Where is the dredge material coming from? Is the disposal associated with this project or will it serve other dredging operations?
I didn’t see that discussed. Did I miss something?

Not surprisingly, he did not respond.

So I reached out to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps knew nothing about “containment cells for dredge disposal” or DEP $7 million in funding.

Here’s the Corps’ reply to my questions:


That’s plan is not the same plan that was submitted to the Corps. The only areas being permitted are Northwest Reach Breakwater and Basket Flats Breakwater. Here is the link to the public of the project that was submitted to the Corps:  I will forward the article over to ALS to see if there were changes made. As far as funding there was nothing said to the Corps about DEP funding.  No USACE does not deal with 401 WQC or CZM, however, we cannot issue our permit until the State has issued WQC and CZM for the projects that require either or both of those certifications.

Looks like the NJ Spotlight News covered something very different then what was presented to the Corps and other federal action agencies. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I will be reaching out to the applicant to get further details.

XXXXXXXX (staffer’s name and title omitted)

US Army Corps of Engineers

Regulatory Branch

Wanamaker Building

100 Penn Square East

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107-3390

To put it mildly, that is unusual and it raises a host of issues!

So, did Tim Dillingham of ALS pull a bait and switch on the Army Corps?

Is ALS segmenting a larger project that involves dredge disposal? Environmental groups are highly critical of segmentation of projects to skirt environmental reviews.

Or did he spin NJ Spotlight reporter Jon Hurdle?

Does the project involve dredging and disposal of sediments?

Why is DEP funding the project?

Does DEP have conflicts of interest in issuing permit approvals for a project they are funding?

Will DEP’s Water Quality Certificate actually apply and enforce NJ’s Water Quality Standards?

Will ALS’s WQC application to DEP be as rigorous in terms of scientific assessment of aquatic life and water quality impacts, i.e. as rigorous as the environmental groups’ criticism of WQC applications for pipelines, like the recent Raritan Bay NSE pipeline, denied by New York State DEC regulators?

And how does a small non-profit like ALS muster the resources to engage the engineering and legal work required for this kind of project? Who’s really backing this? What’s the total scope of the project?

We’re still trying to find out and will get back to you when we do.

[Update: 12/14/20 – The Army Corps responded this morning – but frankly, their response raises more questions than it answers.

One thing is clear, however: either ALS or NJ Spotlight flat out misrepresented this project.

Here is the USACE reply to my second inquiry to them, asking if they had followed up with the applicant (Tim Dillingham, ALS) and my reply back, in which I asked NJ Spotlight reporter Jon Hurdle to clarify the situation:

Good Morning,

Yes I did, ALS does not know where the newspaper got the map that they shared but that was an old map of the original project that was changed over time due to available funding. The plans that were posted in the Army Corps Public Notice are the most up to date and correct plans. Also, the State is not funding the project.

Whaaat? I’ve heard more credible “dog ate my homework” stories. Here is my response to the USACE:

Thanks for looking into this, but I gotta be honest – it sounds like a line of BS.

Tim Dillingham was directly quoted in the Spotlight story that NJ was funding the project and that he anticipated $7 million from DEP.

Am I to believe that Jon Hurdle (reporter for Spotlight) just made that quote up?

The map NJ Spotlight published is labelled that its source was ALS. Am I now to believe that ALS doesn’t know how Mr. Hurdle got that?

If the scope of the original project changed due to funding availability, why would Tim Dillinghan and NJ Spotlight not mention that and state the opposite? 

I am copying Mr. Hurdle in the event that he would like to clarify all this.

It looks like ALS is spinning the USACE and NJ Spotlight, or that Mr. Hurdle did some very poor reporting.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Murphy DEP “Forest Action Plan” Sparks Controversy Over Conflicts With Climate Goals And Logging State Lands

December 10th, 2020 No comments
NJ Audubon and DEP logging on Sparta Mountain

NJ Audubon and DEP logging on Sparta Mountain

NJ Audubon Stoking Green Cover For Faux “Forest Stewardship” 

DEP “Manufactures Doubt” On Climate To Avoid Restrictions On Logging Public Lands

I had planned to do an in depth series of posts on Gov. Murphy’s DEP draft “Forest Action Plan“, but haven’t gotten around to that yet.

But because tomorrow is the close of public comment on the plan, I felt obligated to at least provide this heads up. I apologize for this last minute warning.

While the DEP Plan has been under development and “Stakeholder review” (AKA hand picked friends of DEP with economic interests in logging public lands or forestry consultants for private lands) for almost 2 years, the actual public comment period is just 30 days. Of course, this is totally unacceptable.

People can submit comments on the plan until tomorrow (Friday, December 11, 2020), Hit this link to do so (if only to demand a 90 day comment period).

For now, I want to highlight the gross failure of the DEP Plan to recognize the science and urgent threat of the climate emergency.

Remarkably, instead of applying climate science to support a Plan for aggressive afforestation and a moratorium on logging public and private lands, the DEP Plan uses climate threats to justify even more logging.

DEP relies on numerous questionable interpretations of forest and climate science that are cherry picked to do so, including exaggerated threats of wildfire, insect infestations, habitat creation for single species, the need for “thinning” (Trump absurdly referred to this as “raking the forest”) and erroneous claims about lack of “age class diversity” in NJ’s forests.

It is simply shameful to see how DEP is misusing this summer’s  catastrophic California and western wildfires to try to scare NJ residents into supporting logging (what DEP calls “active management”).

Worse, the DEP adopts a shameful industry practice – pioneered by the tobacco industry, then the chemical industry and now the fossil industry climate deniers – known as “manufacturing doubt” to avoid regulation.

Check this out, which is the core of DEP’s failure. Here’s the key assumption (on p.183-184) DEP relies on to dodge the climate issue:

“In this planning cycle, it was possible to make inferences about the state of New Jersey’s forest carbon pools and risks to them. It was not possible, however, to make recommendations regarding the allocations to each carbon pool or in analyzing tradeoffs associated with different allocations because sound information at usable scales for carbon flux and sequestration are still largely unavailable.”

Get that? Let me repeat it:

sound information at usable scales for carbon flux and sequestration are still largely unavailable.”

That’s a classic industry “manufacturing doubt” strategy. Disgusting.

The DEP Forest Plan directly contradicts the science, data, and assumptions about carbon sequestration in NJ’s forests in DEP’s recent summary Report on Climate Science, as well DEP’s more recent Global Warming Response Act “80/50″ Report.

DEP Climate Science Report found (Chapter 5.6):

It is estimated that in 2018, New Jersey’s land sector of forests and associated land cover sequestered the equivalent of 8.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) resulting in net greenhouse gas emissions of 97.0 MMTCO2e (NJDEP 2019a).

Carbon sequestration in forests is a significant part of DEP’s climate strategy. The DEP “80/50″ Report found and recommended (see Chapter 7):


  • Reforestation
  • Avoided Conversion of Natural Lands
  • Salt Marsh and Sea Grass Restoration and Enhancement
  • Conservation Management of Agricultural Lands
  • Proactive Forest Management


1. Develop a statewide carbon sequestration plan that establishes a 2030 and 2050 target for both blue carbon and terrestrial carbon sequestration.

2. Adopt minimum forest cover objectives for land development, including performance of forest stand delineations and implementation of forest conservation plans.

3. Develop a conservation program for privately held woodlands and forests.

4. Expand the Urban and Community Forestry program through mandatory accreditation for all municipalities and boards of education.

5. Provide additional incentives and technical tools to assist communities in forestry management and climate friendly agricultural practices.

6. Monitor sequestration results of current pilot blue carbon projects and utilize data to inform future project selection criteria.

The DEP’ proposed “Forest Action Plan” does none of that – none of it – other than to use the climate emergency to support even more logging under the euphemism of “active management” (or “proactive forest management”).

The proposed plan does not include other important elements beyond the DEP’s Climate Plan, such as:

  • a massive urban forestry plan targeted in EJ communities to reduce deadly urban heat island effects (including a recommended dedicated new funding source)
  • a detailed and funded reforestation plan
  • a moratorium on current and proposed logging schemes and conversion/development of forested lands
  • A new urban riverfront park on Duck Island (Trenton)

Finally, I rarely invoke economic justifications, but on economic grounds alone the DEP Plan is fatally flawed.

DEP’s Plan correctly claims that forests provide significant “ecosystem services”, but then falsely claims – again falsely manufacturing doubt – that these ecosystem services lack adequate data and have not been quantified.

Those false claims directly contradict research DEP conducted and sponsored over a decade ago, see:

we can confidently state that New Jersey derives very substantial economic benefits from its State parks, forests, and recreation areas, and on economic grounds alone these sites deserve to be preserved and protected. The extent of that preservation and protection depends on many things, some of which are not under human control. However, as a primary actor in the on-going effort to protect and enhance these valuable natural assets, NJDEP has a major responsibility and impact, and the resources it deploys clearly earn a substantial return on society’s investment. The State parks, forests, and recreation areas are not assets that New Jersey can afford to lose; they are in most cases irreplaceable, and their protection merits the constant attention and stewardship of the public officials and residents of New Jersey. (page 55)

Section III shows, inclusion of certain ecoservices provided by New Jersey’s forests could add between $630 and $840 million of benefits annually (present value $21-28 billion). (page 5)

DEP’s scientists and economists found that NJ’s forests provide huge “ecosystems services” and that the value of preserved forests far exceeds logging or “actively managed” forests:

Valuation of Specific Ecosystem Services Preservation of parks and forests can yield su bstantial economic benefits in the form of ecosystem services. In fact, ecoservices such as watershed protection and carbon storage can be more valuable than forest products such as wood pulp and timber.

A 1997 study in the highly-regarded peer-reviewed journal Nature estimated the value of forest hydrological services at $92/hectare/year in 1994 dollars, including $87 for waste treatment, $3 for water supply, and $2 for flow regulation Costanza et al. (1997). Converting this to U.S. measurement units and 2004 dollars, we obtain a value of $47/acre/year. The 1997 estimate was based on the damage costs incurred when deforestation leads to reduction in water quality or fisheries production, the market value of water lost to reduced quality created by deforestation, and the replacement cost for natural decomposition of wastes. (see p.30-31)

Last, the DEP Plan is too heavily influenced and driven by inapplicable federal science and forest policies. NJ’s forests are vastly different from western forests and NJ’s population density justifies – and people overwhelmingly demand – far more preservation of forests than recognized by federal officials in the US Forest Service. DEP is just kissing the ass of the federal hand that feeds them grants!

Of course, DEP’s primary defender and self serving promoter of logging public lands – I’m referring to NJ Audubon – is backing the flawed plan and urging their members to submit comments supporting the plan (and their billionaire backers as well).

I really can’t go into all the details today – but I will note that NJ Forest Watch, active in several controversial DEP Highlands logging projects, have submitted good comments.

The Highlands Coalition also submitted good comments, but they were not as critical as they should have been.

People can use all this to submit comments to DEP.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Late For The Sky

December 9th, 2020 No comments


Here’s my version of Jackson Brown’s iconic 1974 album photo “Late for the Sky” an album I’ve always loved

You never knew what I loved in you.

I don’t know what you loved in me.

Maybe the picture of somebody you were hoping I might be.


Categories: Uncategorized Tags: