Archive for November, 2022

Pinelands Preservation Alliance’s Pitiful Defense Of DEP’s Logging Plan

November 29th, 2022 No comments

Ex. Director Carleton Montgomery Directs Junior Staffer To Walk The Plank

PPA Puff Piece Provides Pitiful Platitudes

Let me first state right up front that Carleton Montgomery is a despicable and dishonorable coward. And a gaslighting liar. And possibly a plagiarist as well (see #8 below).

What a smug bastard!

What a smug bastard!

Instead of publicly defending the controversial DEP logging plan that he supported for two years in behind closed doors meetings consumed with making quiet compromises with DEP, he forced his most junior staffer to write a blog post defending the DEP plan.

And this blog post was written AFTER the Commission approved the plan and the critics, like myself, first became aware of the project and started to protest and seek a veto by Gov. Murphy.

Carleton directed a young woman, Heidi Yeh, Policy Director, who joined PPA just this year, who has no forestry science or land use or regulatory expertise or experience, and who is likely distracted by writing her PhD dissertation at Rutgers on unrelated Marine and Coastal Science issues, to post on PPA’s blog, this pitiful capitulation, which is riddled with fact errors, assumptions, unsubstantiated premises, lack of relevant information, and flawed science:

Here is my first round of questions and comments to the author of that piece – criticism I feel terrible in having to write to her, when Carleton bears responsibility and should be the target of this criticism. (I apologize for the screwed up font, which I can’t seem to fix):

(and I thought that candidates for the PhD degree in science had been taught to honor the scientific method, which includes, among other things, weighing all available credible evidence in reaching conclusions and striving to eliminate bias. The informal blog format and engagement in a “policy” domain does not alleviate a scientist of that burden of basic reasoning and thinking skills.)

Hi – I’ve been writing quite a bit on the DEP plan and a mutual friend just sent me your blog post, so I’d like to ask you a few questions, OK?

I’ll do this in 2 steps: first, a few questions about your awareness of relevant available information and then some questions on the substance (in a second email).

By way of introduction, I’m a retired DEP policy planner (13 years), policy Director of NJ Sierra Chapter (7 years) and Director of NJ Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) (10 years).

I see you’re in coastal science at Rutgers, so you can say hello and ask Professor Mike Kennish about me if necessary. I worked with him on some of his Barnegat Bay work. I also note your interest in [the role of the scientist in] policy, so you might want to check out a piece I wrote about that topic and the stance of certain scientists at Rutgers and Princeton, see:

Jim Hansen’s Talk at Princeton Provides A Sharp Contrast to Rutgers Climate Conference On Role Of Scientist

You wrote this, which is obviously targeted at my work, so I think I deserve the courtesy of a reply:

“Unfortunately, there has been some hyperbole in criticisms raised for the first time after the Commission approved the plan”

My criticisms are fact based and grounded in science and law and reflect 35 years of professional experience and graduate school level training (Cornell). They are not “hyperbole”. In terms of coming “after” the approval, as described below, I was affirmatively prevented from reviewing documents and timely submitting comments. Your comments are false and personally offensive. [That “after the fact” BS is amazing criticism, in light of the fact that PPA and NJCF kept this DEP plan quiet and off the public radar for 2 years.]

1. Your bio notes you joined PPA in 2022 – were you involved in PPA’s 2 year long review of the plan, which you note began in 2020? If not, who was? How did you review that process to gain sufficient knowledge to vouch for it in your own words?

Do you have training or experience in forestry, or DEP and CMP regulations?

2. You note that:

“Pinelands Preservation Alliance and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation were the only members of the public who provided substantive comments to DEP and the Pinelands Commission during the development and review of this plan.

Were you aware that I filed a petition for rulemaking to the DEP and Pinelands Commission on these specific issues of forest management, wildfire and land use earlier this year, and that petition was denied and gathered no support from PPA and NJCF?

Were you aware that I learned of this project by reading the Commission’s July Monthly Management Report and immediately filed an OPRA public records request on August 9 for the DEP plan and related Commission review documents? Are you aware that the Pinelands Commission staff denied that request on the basis that they had “no responsive records”?

Were you aware that I then attempted to file public comments on the DEP plan, in the absence of any documents, which were rejected by staff because they were submitted after the close of the public comment period?

The fact that there was no public participation other than PPA and NJCF is because there was no public knowledge of the plan and DEP and the Commission actively suppressed information.

So, why were no other members of the public given a heads up and opportunity to participate in this informal review process by PPA and NJCF?

Are you aware that when a controversial project comes along, NJ environmental groups typically issue “action alerts” to the public and their members to allow participation (or they issue press releases, or blog posts).

Did PPA do ANY of that? For the 2 YEARS they negotiated with DEP?

3. Are you familiar with the DEP land use, water quality, and forestry regulations and Pinelands CMP provisions that apply to this project (or provide loopholes, exemptions, voluntary standards, etc)? Do you have regulatory training and experience?

Are you aware that Stacey Roth, Pinelands Counsel, has taken the legal position that the Pinelands CMP does not apply to greenhouse gas emissions or climate change impacts and therefore are not regulated under the CMP?

The same loopholes – and more – apply to DEP regulations (more on that in next post, especially ad your blog post praises specific regulatory aspects).

4. Did you personally review the DEP plan and the Pinelands Commission’s approval document (w/conditions)?

5. You write:

“Our fundamental criteria for evaluating any forest management proposal on public land are whether it has a legitimate justification,

Are you aware of Pinelands Commissioner Wallner’s analysis and comments on the plan – he’s a retired *National Park Service wildfire expert?

Wallner stated on the public record that he reviewed the maps and found little to no people or property at risk and therefore found no justification for the project. He also said DEP provided no wildfire justification for the project in the Plan. He also said DEP conducted no alternatives analysis (like required under NEPA) or consideration of a “no action” alternative. (NJ does not have a State NEPA law, so there is no EIS required).

Wallner’s analysis directly contradicts the headline, assertions, and conclusions of your blog post. His analysis is not mentioned in your blog post. Are you comfortable with that as a scientist?

6. Are you aware of Pinelands Commissioner Lohbauer’s analysis – both orally on the public record and in writing after to explain his no vote?

Again, Lohbauer’s findings and conclusions directly contradict your analysis, yet are not even mentioned in it.

Again, are you comfortable with that as a scientist? 

You feel confident to directly contradict a retired USFS wildfire expert and a longstanding leading Pinelands Commissioner? And without even mentioning their criticism? That arrogant approach contradicts the conclusion of your blog post:

“PPA supports plans that take into account all aspects of Pinelands health and diversity, and welcomes comments based upon science and experience about how best to protect this unique ecosystem.”

7. You state (with no supporting citations)

“Modern forestry science advocates that this ladder be cut off to prevent more destructive forms of fire.”

Where did you get that? From DEP forestry people?

Have you reviewed Chad Hansen’s (PhD, forest ecology) work that was presented to the Pinelands Commission in March 2021 by Leslie Sauer (PhD forest ecologist)?

Are Chad and Leslie somehow ancient and scientifically misguided?

Again, no mention of that critically relevant and important scientific work.

8. You used two phrases that caught my eye:

“Critics that focus only on the number of trees, but not their size and type, are quite literally missing the forest for the trees. The resulting forest will be a healthy native Pine Barrens habitat.”

Curious, both those phrases were attributed to Carleton Montgomery in the Associated Press story.

Did you write those words? If so, did Carleton plagiarize them? Or did Carleton edit them into your piece.

Regardless, your claim are false. My criticism – and that of all others I am aware of – did not “focus only on the number of trees”.

[And what are your definitions, criteria, and standards that support this conclusion that the DEP logging will result in a “healthy native Pine Barrens habitat.”

My next inquiry will focus on fact errors in your post and other substance.

appreciate a timely and thoughtful reply.

Bill Wolfe

*corrected 12/13/22

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Giving Tuesday: Don’t Give NJ’s “Filthy 14″ A Dime Until They Give Back The $3.4 Million In Covid Money They Didn’t Deserve And Stop Taking Corporate Money And Serving Corporate Interests

November 28th, 2022 No comments

Time To Get Corporate Money Out Of The Environmental Community

Time To Get Back To Earth Day Activist Roots

Democracy Is Coming to The Green Mafia

Democracy is coming, to the USA. ~~~ Leonard Cohen (listen)

The time has come to say fair’s fair

To pay the rent, to pay our share

The time has come, a fact’s a fact

It belongs to them, let’s give it back. ~~~ Midnight Oil (listen)

I got my third  (update: fourth!) (update fifth!) (sixth! . This one amazingly titled “It”s about giving back“) (seventh! “just hours left“) (eighth!” “last chance”) (ninth! “final hours“) “Giving Tuesday” fundraising solicitation in the last week from NJ Audubon Society (NJAS).  These are some twisted values, when a fundraiser is described as an “incredibly powerful movement”. The Current CEO, a former Exxon Mobil biostitute, fits right into that culture!

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 7.43.49 AM

As we’ve shown, NJAS is the worst of NJ’s “Filthy 14″ and have done the most damage in aggressively pursuing corporate money and advancing Neoliberal policies and corporate interests through “Corporate Stewardship” slogans, “partnerships”, greenwashing, and corrupt political self dealing. Just take another look at what they’ve done – in case you missed the original posts:

Since then, we’ve learned that in addition to logging Highlands forests, NJAS also is involved in logging Pinelands forests (and taking government money for it).

As far as I know, NJAS still has not given back the dirty Trump money, see:

My goodness, the rot has gotten so bad that Carleton Montgomery of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance and Emile DeVito of NJ Conservation Foundation flat out lied to their members and fellow conservationists about the impacts of the DEP logging plan they support (i.e. they claimed there would be  “no reduction in canopy cover”, et al.)

The Associated Press exposed that lie in a national story (but only attributed the lie to the DEP, not to PPA and NJCF who also made exactly the same false claim DEP did):

New Jersey says the cutting will center on the smallest snow-bent pitch pine trees, “and an intact canopy will be maintained across the site.”

The state’s application, however, envisions that canopy cover will be reduced from 68% to 43% on over 1,000 acres (405 hectares), with even larger decreases planned for smaller sections.

I fed AP reporter Wayne Parry those facts. It’s rare to see lies so effectively exposed by media.

It’s time to send NJAS and the rest of NJ’s Filthy 14 a message this Giving Tuesday:

  • Give back the COVID money you did not deserve;
  • No more fundraising driven issue campaigns;
  • No more corporate money;
  • No more “Corporate Stewardship Councils” and related corporate “partnerships”;
  • Stop misleading the public; and
  • Democratize your organizations and let members decide issue priorities, policy positions, and campaign strategies and tactics – not corporate money, elite Foundations, and incompetent and dishonest professional staff.

No more donations until you do all that.

No more donations until you formally pledge to stop taking corporate money.

No more donations until you get back to the politics of the original Earth Day grassroots activist roots.

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A (Benign) Monroe Doctrine Of Boondocking

November 27th, 2022 No comments


You, who are on the road, must have a code

that you can live by. ~~~ CSNY (listen)

Since the mid 19th Century, the US has asserted the Monroe Doctrine in the Western Hemisphere to protect US national security and economic interests and serve as a pretext for Imperialism. It’s basically a huge “Keep Out – Private Property” sign, backed by the US military.

(Interestingly, one hundred and ten years after its inception, a German madman adopted his own version of the doctrine, calling it lebensraum. While the intellectual roots of Hitler’s twisted worldview were primarily grounded in German history and culture, it is not widely known that Hitler was aware of and adapted other US policies, including Jim Crow, eugenics, and aspects of FDR’s New Deal.)

Well, I’m not greedy and I don’t have the Pentagon to enforce it, but I have my own personal “Monroe Doctrine” that governs my daily life on BLM lands and National Forests.

The photo above is an egregious example of a violation of that doctrine.

While I live on public lands that are legally governed by federal laws and regulations, and my fellow nomads tend to be anarchists, that doesn’t mean that anything goes. We have higher standards and expectations.

The rules of the doctrine, while not formalized, are pretty simple: have some respect for your neighbors.

Respect means understanding and respecting the legitimate territorial and privacy needs of your neighbors.

Respect their desire to be left alone. Understand that some people are not interested in imposed social engagements and prefer solitude. That they would like to control if and when they interact with people and not have people imposed on them.

Respect his “space” – don’t roll up and settle inside a sensible zone of privacy.

There are plenty of places out there, like Quartzite, Arizona, where nomads gather in small communities. There are plenty of RV ghettos. Go there.

General areas of concern are sight lines, light pollution, noise/music/talking, smoke/fires, “space”, and view sheds.

Huge ostentatious $250,000 Class A RV’s and luxury tour buses and ORV’s inject orders of magnitude of nuisance, but I’m no fan of the Mercedes Sprinter Van – YouTube Channel – selfie crowd either.

Try to stay out of sight. I didn’t come to the desert to look at campers, RV’s and Sprinter Vans.

I prefer the mountains, and sunsets, and solitude, and silence, and clean air and vegetation and wildlife, and stars.

I don’t want to breath the smoke from your campfire. I hate your night lights and vehicle headlights and closing vehicle doors and barking dogs.

If you play music or party – and especially if you have a generator – stay at least a mile away. Sound and light travel far in the desert.

Bouy, my dog, has different criteria and standards. Generally, his are based on smell and noise – he has about a quarter of a mile security perimeter, where anything that enters and moves triggers barking and (peaceful, exploratory) engagement. If you have an Alpha male dog, stay even further away. Respect my dog’s needs too.

Most importantly, never insinuate yourself between me and a lovely view, especially a desert sunset over the mountains.

The guy in the photo above violated cardinal rules of the Monroe Doctrine for Boondockers.

He’s about 100 feet from me and the sun sets right over the mountains behind his rig. Disgraceful disrespect.

And that sucks.

Typically when this happens – and thankfully it rarely does – I head out and find another campsite ASAP.

But Word has it he leaves tomorrow. Let’s hope so.


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Murphy DEP Pinelands Logging Plan Exposed A Broken System, Flawed Policies, And Corrupt Practices

November 26th, 2022 No comments

This Is The Fake, “Managed” and “Thinned” Forest And Landscape They Want To Create

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 9.39.03 AM

(“This Pinelands forest is being managed under a Forest Stewardship Plan to increase ecosystem health, reduce fuel, and improve habitat for rare plants and animals (Kristen Meistrell, NJA)” – Source: US NRCS and NJ Audubon Fact Sheet

[Correction below]

The photo above illustrates exactly what the government loggers and their government funded “conservation” community friends – like NJ Audubon, Pinelands Preservation Alliance and NJ Conservation Foundation – want the NJ Pineland Forests to look like. (take a look at another Pinelands “Forest Stewardship” project, by many of the same organizations – and see NJA “valued for their timber” photo below).

This is the “thinned” “actively managed” forest and “savanna” landscape they want to create.

But they don’t want you to see that, know about that, or object to that.

And, as I’ve documented based on government records, they are doing everything, and I mean everything – including: 1) violating laws on release of public information; 2) violating State ethics laws that mandate recusal; 3) redacting and suppressing public information; 3) holding secret off the record meetings to negotiate; 4) using the DEP Commissioner to pressure Pinelands Commissioners; 5) ramming through regulatory approvals with no public participation; 6) excluding scientific experts from reviewing the plan; 7) intimidating and silencing critics; 8) spinning the press; and 9) flat out lying bout facts on the impact of the plan – all done in a systematic strategy to suppress information and prevent you from seeing what they want to do to our forests.

The Associated Press yesterday published a story about the DEP’s Pinelands logging plan, see:

Despite the holiday weekend, the AP story is generating widespread howls of outrage, as people learn about this project for the first time. The story has gone national, but unfortunately may come too late to build pressure on Gov. Murphy to veto the plan.(just what the “conservation” groups and their DEP friends sought).

There were damning and revealing quotes in that story, that expose exactly how NJ DEP and their funded “conservation” friends view the Pinelands forests.

Foresters used to view forest ecosystems as “timber”. Now they see “fuels”.

Here’s NJ Gov. Murphy DEP Chief Forester’s view of the World Heritage Site & Congressionally designated National Reserve, the unique Pinelands forest ecosystem:

“This is like liquid gasoline in the Pinelands”

And here’s your quote of the day – by Murphy DEP Assistant Commissioner for Parks and Forests John Cecil, who shows such ecological concern for logging Pinelands Forests and cutting 2.4 million trees:

“Maybe you could get a couple fence posts out of these trees.”

Imagine that: a “couple of fenceposts”. Talk about a mess of pottage!

And here’ your Daily ORWELL: remarks by Carleton Montgomery, “watchdog” of Pinelands forests. He describes the forest after logging 1300 acres, cutting 2.4 million trees, & 50 ft. wide clearcut along 13 MILES of roads:

“The resulting forest will be a healthy native Pine Barrens habitat.”

(Carleton previously wrote to defend the DEP plan by claiming that there would be no reduction in canopy cover – a flat out lie I called out that is now exposed by the AP story – and described a 13 MILE long, 50 foot wide clear-cut, bisected by a road, a “meadow”. He’s a fool and a liar and now everybody knows that.)

Words from their own mouths! Their own photos! You can’t make this stuff up.

The DEP logging project also exposed institutional conflicts of interest. Government funds groups and “forestry” projects and in return they get green cover from the “conservation” community (who are really acting like forestry consultants and land owners  -in this case, NJ Audubon). We show you just some of the money to follow (NRCS/NJA fact sheet):

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers technical and financial assistance to forest landowners through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Eligible landowners with 10 acres of forest land may receive cost-share assistance for the development of a Forest Stewardship Plan, or for costs related to implementation of the plan.

List of NJDEP-Approved Consulting Foresters

The AP story reported that the DEP logging plan divided the environmental community.

That is misleading: the only groups that “support” this DEP plan financially benefit from federal government and DEP funding and have gross financial and organizational conflicts of interest and severe scientific bias (i.e. PPA, NJCF, NJ Audubon).

As NJ Audubon themselves openly admit: forests are “valued for their timber” (check out the caption)

Screen Shot 2022-11-27 at 8.40.35 AM

Below is my letter to the Pinelands Commission, which addresses just the Pinelands Commission staff abuses:

[11/28//22 – Correction. I mistakenly cut and pasted a broken link. The link to the Cecil presentation was not killed. My apologies to Pinelands Staff who kindly corrected my error this morning. I wish they were that fast and responsive to my criticisms! I stand by the rest of the criticism.

Here’s the full and correct link:

Dear Commissioner Lohbauer:

I am writing concerning disturbing recent practices by Pinelands Commission staff regarding the controversial DEP forestry plan. The effect of these practices has been to suppress public release of public information and deny the public an opportunity to participate in the Commission’s decisions, contrary to law and transparent and ethical government.

As you know, in August, staff denied my OPRA request for public documents on that proposed plan, claiming that there were “no responsive records”. (the exact same OPPRA request was later made to DEP, and they provided many documents). This denial came at a time the plan was undergoing staff review, negotiations with DEP were being conducted, and the public and the Commission had not been notified (prior to the formal public notice and public hearing and the Commission’s October 14 approval vote).

I attempted to submit written comments on the DEP plan, in the absence of the application, but those comments were correctly rejected by staff due to closure of the public comment period (but I was unaware that a public notice and comment procedure was even underway, as a result of the OPRA denial).

Today, I just learned of a third troubling staff practice on this same application.

According to the Pinelands Commission’s march 2021 Monthly Report:

  • “The LUCIS Committee met on March 17, 2021 and received presentations on forest management from Leslie Sauer, author, founder of Andropogon Associates and founding board member of the Northeast Region of the Society for Ecological Restoration, and John Cecil, Vice President for Stewardship, NJ Audubon Society.”

The Cecil presentation was posted to the Commission’s website in the following link:

I used that link in a complaint to the State Ethics Commission challenging Cecil’s failure to recuse as DEP Assistant Commissioner overseeing the exact forestry practices he advocated at NJ Audubon and presented to the Commission.

I also posted that link many times on, as a visual example of the “forest thinning” practices Cecil supported, including photos he used in that March 2021 presentation. 

The link is now dead.

Who killed it and why? Where is the Cecil presentation now archived?

Take a look at the attached photo and its to hard to see why – this is a “thinned” Pinelands forest Cecil used as a positive example.


Bill Wolfe

ps – the Cecil presentation is also mentioned as a highlight in the Commission’s Annual Report (2021):

“The Committee hosted presentations on forest management during its March meeting. The presentations were delivered by Leslie Sauer, author, founder of Andropogon Associates and founding board member of the Northeast Region of the Society for Ecological Restoration, and John Cecil, Vice President for Stewardship, NJ Audubon Society.”

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Tell Gov. Murphy To Veto DEP Pinelands Logging Plan

November 25th, 2022 No comments

DEP Rammed Plan Though Pinelands Commission With No Public Awareness Or Debate

Logging Conflicts With Gov. Murphy’s Climate Commitments

Source: AP story, link below

Source: AP story, link below

The Associated Press (AP) ran an important story today on DEP’s little known but insane Pinelands logging plan:

There is still time for Gov. Murphy to veto the minutes of the Pinelands Commission to block implementation of this plan. Call him and demand that he veto it: 609-292-6000.

Alternately, DEP Commissioner LaTourette could withdraw the plan voluntarily as a good faith move to allow public deliberation and expert scientific peer review of the deeply flawed DEP plan, which seriously conflicts with Gov. Murphy’s climate commitments, DEP climate science and the goals of the Global Warming Response Act.

See my letter below to legislators urging intervention with DEP and the Governor.

———- Original Message ———-

From: Bill WOLFE <>

To: senbsmith <>, sengreenstein <>, “” <>, Anjuli Ramos <>, “” <>

Cc: Mark Lohbauer <>, “Grogan, Susan [PINELANDS]” <>

Date: 11/25/2022 1:43 PM

Subject: AP story on DEP Pinelands logging plan

Dear Chairman Smith, Senator Greenstein, Commissioner LaTourette, and Forestry Task Force Co-Chairs:

The Associated Press (AP) ran an important story today on DEP’s plan to log over 1,300 acres and significantly reduce canopy cover by cutting and removing 2.4 million trees – including a 50 foot wide clearcut along 13 road miles as a “firebreak”. (see below for a link to the AP story)

  • Fire plan would cut 2.4 million New Jersey Pinelands trees

Unfortunately, the DEP plan was approved by the Pinelands Commission, but with virtually no public awareness, debate, or testimony. The Pinelands Commission even denied my OPRA request for documents on the plan during their review and prior to their approval. This was an extraordinary bad faith violation of OPRA by the Commission staff.

The DEP plan can still be blocked by Gov. Murphy’s powers under the Pinelands Act to veto the minutes of the Commission.

The plan was strongly opposed by Pinelands Commissioner Lohbauer for multiple forestry, habitat, water quality and climate policy reasons, including the fact that the DEP rushed the plan in order to evade pending CMP amendments that would establish as “no net loss of trees” policy.

The plan drew criticism by Commissioner Wallner – a retired *National Park Service wildfire expert – because it lacked any justification based on wildfire risk reduction (Wallner specifically noted that there were little to no at risk people of property near the logging and “firebreak”).

I strongly opposed the plan, primarily on climate grounds: (AP story):

“It is unacceptable to be cutting down trees in a climate emergency, and cutting 2.4 million small trees will severely reduce the future ability to store carbon,” said Bill Wolfe, a former department official who runs an environmental blog.

Given: 1) the lack of public awareness or involvement, 2) the Pinelands Commission’s OPRA violations which suppressed public information, 3) the criticisms by Pinelands Commissioners, 4) the lack of justification, 5) adverse ecological and climate impacts and 6) direct conflicts with the goals of the Global Warming Response Act, DEP climate science and the Governor’s climate commitments, I strongly urge you to conduct oversight of DEP and deny appropriations for this work in DEP’s upcoming budget.

I also urge you to contact Gov. Murphy and urge him to veto the minutes of the Pinelands Commission to block implementation of the DEP plan. A 10 day statutory clock is running, which might toll on or about. Nov. 29.

This is particularly important given the DEP’s emerging climate carbon sequestration science, planning, and policy and regulatory development (including RGGI), as well as the deliberations of the Forestry Task Force.


Bill Wolfe

*corrected 12/13/22

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