Home > Uncategorized > Too Old To Tolerate The Lies

Too Old To Tolerate The Lies

Knee Deep In Bulls Island Bullshit On My 65th Birthday

Murphy DEP Whitewashes Tragic Death, Humiliating Rejection of DEP’s Clearcut Plan, And Decade Of DEP Neglect

securedownload (4)

The best propaganda is generally a mixture of truth with half-truth, distortion, lies by omission and the removal of context and perspective. ~~~ Caitlin Johnstone


I’ve never been able to keep quiet in the face of lies.

Even when I was a kid, I was calling BS on the lies of adults.

Maybe it all began in reaction to the lie they told me that my tonsillectomy wouldn’t hurt and that I could eat all the ice cream I wanted afterward. Yeah, right.

But, as I grow older, counterintuitively, after seeing so many lies over so many years, my tolerance for the lies decreases as the frequency of lies increases. One would have thought there would be some kind of tolerance built up, like a drug habit.

Which takes us to our point, which was prompted by this incredibly dishonest DEP press release (but don’t read it until after you read the history it ignored!).

The photo above was taken a decade ago at Bulls Island State Park by Star Ledger right wing columnist Paul Mulshine. He was researching a column on the Bulls Island controversy. He didn’t cover the issue because he really loved old large sycamore trees or the campaigns of environmental activists:

“Let me first state that I agree with environmental activist Bill Wolfe when he argues that the state Department of Environmental Protection should drop its plans to cut down all those graceful old sycamores at Bull’s Island Recreation Area.” ~~~ see: You can’t see the forest for the lawyers

That Mulshine photo was used in an extended interview piece on the Bulls Islands controversy, published in October 2012 by the Philadelphia Review of Books, titled “A Reactionary Clearcut”.

The Bulls Island controversy was revealing. It was a deep embarrassment and total humiliation of DEP.

It involved the tragic death of a camper, killed while tent camping with his family on Bulls Island, when a tree fell on his family’s tent.

In response, the DEP secretly proposed a plan to clearcut the northern portion of the island to reduce the risks from these “deadly trees”, including scores of magnificent huge old sycamore, like the one in the photo above.

Of course, after I exposed the DEP clearcut plan, it generated huge public opposition and negative press coverage.

After my whistleblowing which was reported on March 14 (see below), DEP announced the “clearcut plan” in a March 15, 2012 press release and was forced to admit that in a later Democrat’s April 17, 2012 story:

I) Illegal Dumping & Bulldozing or Riverfront Vegetation

But this is what began the battle, after I discovered illegal dumping and destruction of riverfront vegetation:


My investigation at Bulls Island began when I discovered and exposed significant violations of the Clean Water Act as a result of bulldozing sensitive riverfront vegetation and illegal disposal of all sorts of crap. After I referred them for enforcement, despite the DEP lies, those violations later triggered enforcement actions by the US Army Corps of Engineers, see:

II) DEP’s Insane Clearcut Plan Exposed – Generates Huge Public Opposition

As I looked into the illegal disposal and bulldozing, I also uncovered the DEP clear cut plan.

A March 14, 2012 report by The Hunterdon County Democrat – with my dramatic photos – raised awareness and sparked the public debate:

What’s with this? Dumping at Bulls Island State Park in Kingwood

Bill Wolfe of West Amwell Township, an environmental activist for many years, sent this photo of debris dumped at Bulls Island State Park, on the Delaware River in Delaware and Kingwood townships.

According to him, “there was not even an attempt to prevent harm and comply with environmental regulations. If a small developer did that, he’d be hammered by DEP enforcement.

“What looked like fill material was being bulldozed along about 400 feet of the floodplain. It was full of solid waste: tires, metal, bottles and cans, chunks of steel and construction debris, wood, and PVC pipe.”

I’m proud to say that I did all the work on this and catalyzed and helped organize huge public opposition.

In response, the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission (DRCC) was forced to engage the issues:

DEP’s clearcut plan was slammed by the public and scientists alike:

But the DEP, instead of listening to strong public opposition, arrogantly dug in:

After a lengthy and ugly battle – which included liars in the DEP press office smearing me – the DRCC later voted to reject the DEP’s clearcut plan.

  • “DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese declined to comment Tuesday, saying the agency does not respond to Wolfe as “a disgruntled employee.” (Asbury Park Press 7/15/14)
  • [DEP spokesman Larry] Ragonese called Wolfe “completely ridiculous and irresponsible” for his comments. (about Bulls Island) Hunterdon County Democrat (3/15/12) – get the facts on that story here and see just who was “ridiculous and irresponsible’.

On December 20, 2013, The Hunterdon County Democrat reported on that DEP humiliation and victory for those defenders of magnificent old sycamore trees:

I expanded upon that story with more critical facts:

Later, after the dust had settled, the DRCC proposed a trail and conservation plan, a plan which began when opponents to the DEP clearcut plan proposed a Natural Area designation:

So, let’s hope this is the first step towards officially designating the Island a Natural Area and that the next step is removal of the road pavement.

III) A Decade Of DEP Lies and Neglect

The DEP has blatantly lied from the beginning of the Bulls Island controversy:

After the tragic camper death, DEP immediately closed the northern portion of the island.

Then, for more than a decade, the DEP neglected Bulls Island and the northern portion of the island remained closed.

I wrote about all that dozens of times, with many revealing photographs, for example, see:

IV)  After A Decade of Lies and Neglect, A DEP Whitewash – DEP Takes Credit


So, after all this perverse history, let’s get to the current DEP lies.

Remarkably, despite this human tragedy and controversial history, just last  week, in a self serving and highly misleading press release, here’s how the Murphy DEP described all that history:

In 2019, the Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission convened a working group of colleagues within the DEP’s Division of State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites to devise a plan that would allow the northern section of the island, previously a campground, to revert to its natural state while also giving visitors access to the canal’s priceless history and enhancing recreational opportunities.

No mention of the tragic camper death.

No mention of the insane DEP clearcut plan that was blocked by the DRCC.

No mention of why the DRCC developed the plan to “revert to its natural state”.

The DEP liars are so fucking petty that they even fail to mention the presence of the glorious sycamores that spurred public outrage with DEP’s clearcut plan:

To further enhance the new trail, the Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission directed mitigation funds from other state tree-removal projects toward planting new trees including sugar maples, red maples, tulip poplar, white oak, flowering dogwood, Common hackberry and witch hazel. These new trees help provide a lush understory, supporting wildlife that migrate through or reside in the area.

The DEP as an institution seems simply incapable of telling the truth.

As someone who began his career at DEP, married a DEP colleague, and can’t take lies, this is a deeply personal insult, given my role in originating the Battle Of Bulls Island.

“Today’s opening of a new Bulls Island Recreation Area trail is yet another reason why New Jersey’s parks are prime destination getaways for residents and visitors alike,” Assistant Commissioner Cecil said.

And to have, of all people, that scumbag pro-logger John Cecil formerly of NJ Audubon and now DEP Assistant Commissioner leading the DEP pack of lairs, it is just too much to stomach. (I must note that the DEP clearcut plan was so bad, that even current DEP supporter and pro-logging NJ Audubon opposed it!)

Some Birthday present!

[End Note: The camper’s death wasn’t the only death at Bulls Island that DEP whitewashed.

As I noted in the Philadelphia Review of Books 2012 interview, a Trenton boy drown there:

a teenager from Trenton drowned in the Delaware River recently while picnicking with his family at Bull’s Island. The river there has a dangerous “rip current” created by the chute in an old wing dam. There were no crocodile tears cried for that tragedy and the DEP didn’t even take steps to post signs at access points along the river warning about the hazard.

That current in the river along the park is a real and high risk they totally ignore while chasing absurdly low probability ghosts from trees. Why? Two reasons: 1) kids from Trenton just don’t matter to this administration; and 2) the Commissioner has a warped view of nature (he had a similar over-reaction when he shut down oyster restoration research in a polluted waters project because theoretically someone could poach the oysters and might get sick). He sees risks from nature, while he deregulates real risks from chemical plants and industry. The DEP press office routinely blames “nature” for environmental problems: sunlight for air pollution; wind for ocean algae blooms.

That death, many years later, led to the posting of these signs:

8H1A0902 (1)

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.
You must be logged in to post a comment.