Archive for November, 2021

No Sponsored Content. No Ads. No Foundation Grants. No Member Fees. No Fundraisers. No Money.

November 21st, 2021 No comments

Screen Shot 2021-11-21 at 3.06.09 PM

We’re hanging out right now with nothing in particular to do, but feeling resentful of all the bullshit fundraising requests we get from just about everyone under the sun.

They all come along with a self serving line of crap about how effective they are, yada yada.

So, we thought we’d look into some of our own metrics here, and report the following:

Since we began here around 2009, we’ written 3,518 posts (many with photos).

Total reader page views at Wolfenotes: 794,207.

Average time on page 3:09.

That’s with no budget, no staff, no volunteers, no equipment, no office, no internet support services, no funding, no promotion or marketing, no ads, no reader fees, no fundraising, no groveling Op-Ed’s, no mainstream media cheerleading quotes and links, no false praise and endorsements of politicians, no appearances at press conferences, no speaking engagements, no invitations to meetings, no bullshit – pure solo and no money at all.

And most of it was written on the road from a van, a bus, or a local library or coffee house or bar.

Sometimes in the desert, or the national forests, or BLM lands – or Walmart parking lots – wherever we could find a WiFi connection.

I wish Google analytics had a function to track impact or effectiveness, measured perhaps as influence on policy outcomes; the positions or behavior of environmental groups, regulators or legislators or activists; or media coverage.

I think I could show those kinds of impacts, but it would take an enormous amount of work. Fuck that. Let the Wm. Penn and Dodge Foundations focus on the sham metrics their grantees send them!

Regardless, I think I win the cost effectiveness contest!

Don’t send money, I’ve got a blockchain scam going! hahahahahaha!

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Taughannock Falls (Ulysses NY)

November 20th, 2021 No comments

Heart of Taughannock Falls State Park

8H1A0779 (1)


8H1A0818 (2)


Full disclosure: I was married here in the summer of 1987 – here’s site of ceremony and reception:

8H1A0777 (2)


8H1A0795 (1)

8H1A0799 (1)


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A Very Large Array

November 19th, 2021 No comments
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DEP Increases Air Pollution Fees – But Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Exempt

November 18th, 2021 No comments

DEP Air Pollution Fees Expose The Fraud Of RGGI Allowances

A Massive $2.4 Billion Dollar Subsidy To Climate Polluters

It riles them to believe
That you perceive
The web they weave
And keep on thinking free. ~~~ Moody Blues (1969)

The Murphy DEP just annually updated existing air pollution emissions fees to account for the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

As published in the November 15, 2021 NJ Register:

CPI Percentage Increase for Annual Emission Fee

An annual emission fee must be paid by each major facility subject to N.J.A.C. 7:27-22. The annual emission fee is calculated each year according to N.J.A.C. 7:27-22.31(b), which applies the CPI adjustment to the base amount per ton of emissions. Applying the CPI adjustment since 1989 to the base amount of $60.00 per ton results in an annual emission fee for FY 2022 of $130.39. Therefore, a facility subject to this fee must multiply $130.39 times the quantity of regulated air contaminant emissions emitted in tons during calendar year 2020.

Did you get that?

Polluters are required to pay $130.39 per ton of air pollution emissions.

Ironically, that “polluter pays” policy was imposed by DEP back in the early 1990’s during the Florio administration (that was before Neoliberalism and corporate capture were fully consolidated and absolute. As we have seen, those fees could never be imposed today).

But the DEP air pollution fees are not based on the economic impacts of air pollution on public health and the environment.

Instead, the DEP mandated pollution fees are based on how much money it costs to run DEP’s air pollution control program. Polluters pay for the salaries of the bureaucrats, but not the deaths their pollution causes.

Coincidentally, DEP’s fees are in the range of what economists calculate as the social costs of carbon.


But that’s not all, or even the worst.

Greenhouse gas emissions – while defined by DEP as “regulated pollutants” under NJ’s Air Pollution Control Act – are specifically exempt from the $130.39 pollution fees.

Repeat: greenhouse gas emissions, which threaten human existence, are not subject to these DEP air pollution fees.

That is not an inadvertent oversight by DEP or accidental loophole.

It was done intentionally when in 2005 DEP adopted regulations to define greenhouse gas emissions as pollutants. In that regulation, DEP explicitly exempted greenhouse gas emissions from DEP permit and fee requirements. Thanks so much former DEP Commissioner Brad Campbell!!

Here it is: (from the NJ Register)

It was not the Department’s intent to establish CO2 emissions permitting and regulatory requirements through the proposed amendments. The Department has modified the rules on adoption to except CO2 from existing air pollution regulatory and reporting requirements. ~~~ NJ DEP, 2005

As I wrote, no need to take my word for it. Here is Rutgers’ explanation of that sellout:

NJDEP has affirmed that “air pollution” as it is defined under the APCA is broad enough to encompass GHGs. In 2005, NJDEP promulgated a regulation that revised existing regulatory definitions to clarify that CO2—as a GHG—met the definition of an air pollutant under the Act.873. The agency exempted CO2 from existing regulatory requirements, but did require that stationary sources report emissions of CO2 and methane as an air pollutant.874 (see page 165 of the Rutgers Report)

Very few people are aware of this scandal and I’ve never seen it reported by the media.

Instead of being required to pay the same air pollution emission fees as other major polluters, greenhouse gas emissions from a limited group of power plants – which emit about 20% of NJ’s total greenhouse gas emissions – are required to pay for the pollution they emit by purchase of “allowances” under the “Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions” (RGGI) program in northeast states.

According to the most recent RGGI auction, the RGGI allowance price is $9.30 per ton (up from just $7.37 this summer).

The difference between the DEP air pollution fees ($130.39/ton) and the RGGI allowance prices ($9.30/ton) is a subsidy of  $121.09 per ton.

If you multiply this $121.09 per ton subsidy by approximately 20 million tons of GHG emissions by NJ’s power sector subject to the RGGI allowance requirements, (not considering industrial emissions, transportation emissions, pipelines, and buildings) that alone represents a $2.4 BILLION ANNUAL SUBSIDY to climate polluters.

And that’s just to the power sector. Billions more in subsides are provided to the other GHG polluters.

And that is what proves that RGGI is a joke.

This must change.

It could very easily be done by DEP by merely amending current regulations to subject greenhouse gas emissions to the current DEP air pollution fees. Or set them based on the social cost of carbon.

But it is very unlikely that the upcoming DEP climate PACT regulations will make the simple change of subjecting greenhouse gas emissions to the DEP’s air pollution fees or the social cost of carbon.

Will incompetent and corrupt cheerleading environmental and climate groups make this demand?

Will the stenographers in the NJ press corps even report this story?

We’re not holding our breath.

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Why Did NJ Spotlight Single Out Middlesex County Water For Violations Of DEP’s New “Forever Chemicals” Drinking Water Standards?

November 18th, 2021 No comments

Toxic drinking water problem far more widespread in NJ than reported

More than 50 systems – including 17 public drinking water systems and 11 schools – violate DEP standards

NJ Spotlight is knowingly misleading readers by failing to report the Statewide extent of violations of new DEP drinking water standards on a class of toxic chemicals knowns as “forever chemicals” (i.e. PFOA, PFOS, PFNA).

NJ Spotlight has written 3 detailed stories over the last weeks on controversial violations of DEP’s new drinking water standards, and focused that coverage exclusively on Middlesex County water (i.e. see the first, and the second and the third).

The progress of this coverage appears to downplay the risks and put the water company in a more favorable light. It’s almost as if they were running away from their original coverage.

NJ Spotlight has done this narrow reporting despite the fact that:

1) prior to their NJ drinking water stories, they wrote an EPA focused story on thousands of contaminated sites nationally (with over 2,500 in New Jersey, including this one in Milford NJ that has levels 900 times DEP groundwater standards that NJ Spotlight has failed to report on); and

[Full disclosure: that national story was based on the work of PEER, my former employer. I had no knowledge of or involvement in that work.]

2) I provided reporter Jon Hurdle with DEP’s own enforcement data showing violations by more than 50 NJ systems, including 17 public drinking water systems and 11 schools and daycares.

I publicly disclosed that DEP enforcement data the day after I obtained it from DEP via filing an OPRA public records request.  Much of the DEP data show violations that are as bad or worse than NJ Spotlight reported in Middlesex County.

The people if NJ – and their children – drinking that water have a right to know about that.

The also need to know about the science and flaws in DEP’s regulatory response, including such facts that:

  • DEP does not require installation of treatment to remove these chemicals
  • DEP allows “blending” (dilution) to evade the drinking water standards
  • Pregnant women, infants, and children are highly vulnerable to these chemicals
  • there are many additional unregulated toxic chemicals in your drinking water

The NJ Spotlight reporting’s exclusive focus on Middlesex County water generates a host of troubling questions, beginning with why?

Are they intentionally trying to downplay the magnitude and scope of the problem?

Did DEP withhold the Statewide enforcement data I obtained from Mr. Hurdle?

Is DEP trying to downplay the magnitude and scope of the problem?

Did Mr. Hurdle obtain that data but just not report it? If so, why?

Do they have some other reason to target Middlesex County?

If I drank the water from any of these 50+ systems or ran the Middlesex County water department that has received this exclusive focus, I’d sure want answers from DEP and Mr. Hurdle at NJ Spotlight.

[Note: and this is not the only story on drinking water NJ Spotlight is misreporting and downplaying, see these, stories they’ve completely ignored:

Meanwhile, as recently passed journalist and writer William Greider once asked: Who will tell the people about this?

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