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DEP And Conservationists Challenged The Credibility Of The Wrong Person – I Do My Homework

Pushback Includes A Fact Check Of Criticisms From A National News Reporter

I’ve written extensively documenting how DEP and conservationists have made repeated false claims to deny and minimize the impacts of DEP’s Pinelands logging plan they supported, as well as to intimidate, suppress, and otherwise dissuade critics of that DEP plan.

In a continuation of that campaign of deceit, today I received a highly unusual “fact check” of criticisms of the DEP plan by a national news reporter (some which I never made).

I never or rarely share conversations with reporters, but in this case I will and for 2 reasons: 1) to illustrate the pushback and 2) to provide a documentary record in the event the story is ever published (which I doubt at this point).

I can’t recall ever having gotten that kind of pushback before. Just the opposite: many times, reporters have told me of the smears and attacks that the DEP press office and mangers launched against me (unethical leaker and whistleblower, “disgruntled former employee”, etc.) They backfired and the attacks actually bolstered my credibility in their eyes. But that pushback came from political hacks at DEP, not the conservation community, as is now this case.

From this reporter’s tone and skeptical questions, it is obvious that he was told that the critics were lying – see – reporter’s questions in boldface and my replies in red text:

_ Where does it say that the cut trees would be harvested and sold as lumber? I’ve skimmed through documents but haven’t seen that yet. Who would get the money from the logged trees, and has anyone put an estimate on how much they might bring commercially?

Here is text from the DEP plan approved by Commission – see section on “Carbon” – it says “forest products” – that is a commercial term and includes lumber. DEP made no commitment to the “harvesting” method used or disposition of the cut trees, and the Pinelands Commission imposed no enforceable conditions on that. Emile has been duped. Read the text:
“The proposed project will significantly reduce the forest carbon pools throughout the site overall due to the removal of forest overstory. In particular, the flux in carbon before and after each of the treatments will change primarily from live aboveground carbon (removal of trees) to the dead wood pool (increase in slash, tops, etc.) due to harvesting activities. In addition, removed carbon may be utilized and stored by long -term forest products, stored within landfills, converted to energy, or may be left on site to be recycled back to the system depending on the implementation contractor and method of harvesting used to carry out the treatments.
Note: I also should have but failed to mention to this reporter that DEP’s “carbon analysis” included data on “merchantable cordwood”. That’s commercial sale of cut trees. Here’s 1 of 4 tables of that data:
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_ There is mention of Ed Lloyd estimating 2.4 million trees would be removed in total. Does anyone from DEP, FFS or Pinelands Commission acknowledge that figure or put forth one of their own?
I calculated and confirmed Ed Lloyd’s 2.4 million trees cut. It is calculated by multiplying the density reduction (trees per acre) by the number of acres, as follows:
(density before cut – density after cut) X (total acres) = Total trees cut
(2075-204) X (1,041 acres) = 1,947,711 trees
(1,940 – 74) X  (255 acres_ = 475,830 trees
Here is text from Pinelands approval document
Approximately 1,041 acres of pine-dominated forest type will be thinned twice. The applicant proposes that this acreage will be “thinned low and from below.” This type of thinning cuts and removes those trees that are the shortest in height and smallest in diameter. The applicant indicates that these trees generally act as forest fire “ladder fuels” by connecting the plants and shrubs on the ground with the upper canopy of taller trees. The proposed “low and from below” thinning will reduce the forest from 2,075 trees per acre to 204 trees per acre. Canopy cover will be reduced from 68% to 43%.
[Note: that density reduction is a 90% tree removal rate, for a total of 1,947,711 trees.
Approximately 255 acres of pine-shrub oak forest type will be subject to a variable density thinning treatment. This thinning will reduce the forest from 1,940 trees per acre to 74 trees per acre. Canopy cover will be reduced from 74% to 30%.
[Note: that density reduction is a 96% tree removal rate, for a total of 475,830 trees.]
Approximately 8 acres of pine-shrub oak forest type along the western outside edge of the Allen Road firebreak will be subject to a “feathered” variable density thinning treatment. The applicant indicates that this type of thinning creates a gradual transition in tree density from zero trees per acre created by the proposed forest firebreak to 33 trees per acre for a distance back from the proposed forest firebreak of 75 feet. Canopy cover will be reduced from 74% to 19% by the “feathered” variable density thinning treatment. The applicant indicates that this “feathered” treatment is intended to reduce the harsh forest edges and create a more visually appealing aesthetic between the proposed forest firebreak and the variable density thinning treatment.”
_ In the application document, I see mentions of herbicide use, but no mention of groundwater impacts. Did anyone raise this concern, and did applicant or commission address those concerns?
I saw nothing about monitoring groundwater, surface water, or biota (plants and animals) for herbicide impacts.
I raised the issue to the Pinelands Commission at their last meeting after they voted to approve. So did Georgina Shanley. I was told that DEP agreed to reduce about 225 acres, but retained option to treat over 1,000 acres. Pinelands Commissioner Lohbauer raised the issue as well in describing his opposition. His words:
“In this case I don’t believe there was a good basis to approve the Forest Service’s application. This is the same one that I had opposed last December, and Emile is right—the Service did modify their proposed application of herbicides in the project. However, they did not agree to eliminate them, nor did they agree to avoid the use of glyphosate (“RoundUp”) which I consider unsafe at any application. Moreover, the restrained use of herbicides was conditioned upon“if practical,” meaning that were they to decide that the mechanical approach were not working, they could revert to the use of herbicides without further review by the Pinelands Commission. Yet this was not my primary objection.”

I also provided this additional note and photo to provide a little pushback of my own:

There has been an unprecedented and ugly pushback by DEP and PPA/NJCF on the impacts of the DEP plan. If you are interested, I compiled and fact checked specific DEP and PPA/NJCF claims in a post yesterday: (my prior note to you documented the false claims on reduction canopy cover and leaving the cut trees on site (recycled). Here are the other major misleading claims:


I thought you might be interested in the attached photo. It was provided in a presentation to the Pinelands Commission in March 2021 by John Cecil, as an positive example of a “thinned forest”. This is the landscape DEP foresters desire. Cecil made that presentation as head of forestry at NJ Audubon. Cecil is now DEP Assistant Commissioner for Parks and Forests. My OPRA to DEP documented that Cecil was involved in the Pinelands Plan. That is a violation of State ethics laws, which mandate recusal for involvement in projects prior to State service. I filed a complaint to the Ethics Commission on that – it is pending. Here is Cecil’s Pinelands presentation: (hit links or cut and paste)

Forest Conservation – NJ Pinelands 


These people attacked the credibility of the wrong person – I do my homework. Take a look at the landscape DEP wants to create in Pinelands forests and conservationists support (savanna)”

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