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What The Hell Is Going On At NJ Chapter Of Sierra Club?

Current Chapter Director Not Even Trying To Fill Jeff Tittel’s Big Shoes

Lack of Engagement On DEP Pinelands Logging Plan Exposes Compromised Activism


Frankly, I expected all the frantic behind the scenes efforts to suppress criticism of DEP’s Pinelands Forestry Plan from the usual compromised and conflicted suspects, i.e. NJ Audubon, Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA), and NJ Conservation Foundation (NJCF), all of whom have longstanding economic and personal relationships with DEP and the Pinelands Commission, particularly on forestry and fire management (e.g. NJCF Annual report, 2021:

In our role as co-chair of the Natural and Working Lands group of the New Jersey Climate Change Alliance, we are partnering with Rutgers University and various stakeholder groups. We provided data and analysis to inform the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s development of strategies to defend and enhance carbon stored in forests and other lands. The DEP is developing a statewide carbon sequestration strategy under the Global Warming Response Act. […]

[Co-Executive Director] Jay Watson, who heads our land protection program following a long career at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Since I wrote about that behind the scenes pressure campaign, it’s only gotten worse – much worse – see:

Several other people have objected to the behind the scenes pressures being asserted on them to not publicly oppose this plan. PPA and NJCF have even been flat out misleading people about crucial issues (e.g. see this and this and and this, which included Commission Lohbauer’s detailed criticism). At the same time, several people are supporting me privately in confidence, but are doing nothing publicly.

But I did not expect that from Sierra Club, NJ Chapter, where I worked for almost 7 years as Policy Director and maintain a friendship with retired Director Jeff Tittel (who I have not spoken to about this).

So, to smoke them out, below is an email I just fired off to current Sierra Director, Anjuli Ramos-Busot (she/her/hers), followed by (she/her/hers) empty reply:

Hi Anjuli – I was just searching for Sierra Club’s formal position on forestry and wildfire on public lands and came across this 1989 policy:


I assume it’s been updated? If so, can you provide a copy or link to it?

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I am concerned by the NJ Chapter’s failure to engage the debate on DEP’s wildfire management plan in the Pinelands, which conflicts with several elements of the above 1989 policy.

DEP’s Pinelands plan also contradicts recent science (Chad Hanson) about forest “thinning” and wildfire (glad to provide links, but assume you are aware of all that, given your position as Co-Chair of Senator Smith’s Forestry Task Force.)

There are many other flaws in the DEP plan, which were raised by Pinelands Commissioners Lohbauer, Wallner (a retired *National Park Service wildfire expert) and Lloyd, including a lack of justification in protecting people and property from wildfire risks.

The DEP plan also fails to protect natural resources, e.g. only 80 foot buffers for T&E habitat, wetlands and vernal ponds, when NJ regulatory buffers are 300-1,0000 feet; no monitoring for ecological and water quality impacts, including herbicide treatments on over 1,000 acres; and a seriously flawed “carbon” analysis.

I’ve documented and made you aware of all of these issues in detailed prior emails, yet you have not responded at all.

I find this unprofessional and astonishing, given that I previously served as NJ Chapter Policy Director for almost 7 years.

Please be advised that I’m prepared to contact Sierra National and file some form of complaint (I assume NJ Chapter must honor National’s policies), should you not reply to this email and provide some explanation of the Chapter’s position on the DEP’s Pinelands plan.

Bill Wolfe

“She/Her” reply:

Hi Bill,

Thank you for your email. NJ Sierra Club will take a position when we think it is adequate to do so.

In regards to your threat of reporting me to National, please go ahead. Report me. NJ Sierra Club will not engage in your inflammatory and disrespectful messaging and approach to others.


Anjuli Ramos

*corrected 12/13/22

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