Archive for November, 2022


November 24th, 2022 No comments

Fall Scenes – Snake River and Sawtooth of Idaho

“… and the skies are not (smoky) all day.”


8H1A2884 (1)


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Green Grifters – Part Two: COVID’s Greedy Green Ghouls

November 23rd, 2022 No comments

Consider This As The “Giving Tuesday” Funding Requests Fill Your Email

COVID Scams Provided A $3.4 Million Windfall

Take A Look At The “Filthy 14″

[Update: 12/8/22 – We just learned of another angle on the COVID Green Grift – American Rescue Plan (remember that?)

DEP just announced that the Pinelands Preservation Alliance got $581,500 of that money.

DEP is all carrot and no regulatory stick. Pretty soon they’ll be just like a Foundation. And this is all federal pass through money, with DEP taking their “administrative cost” share off the top to pay staff salaries.

These projects invariably fail and there’s never any accountability. They all just move on to the next funding cycle and next failed project. The real polluters and developers love that because they avoid any opposition by environmental groups and DEP staffers, who work on these failed projects. Absurd. Look at a typical example – this is a carbon sequestration project in Hopewell, NJ. Managed by Mike Catania’s Conservation Resources, Inc. I called it part of his “Green Ponzi scheme”:


This kind of money buys DEP loyalty and silences criticism. No wonder PPA supported DEP’s insane logging plan.  Feel rescued yet? ~~~ end update.]

Over 35,000 NJ residents died from COVID. Millions more got sick, or had family and friends that got sick.

On top of this carnage was economic devastation: many people lacked healthcare or paid huge co-pays and deductibles.

Many were financially hurt or destroyed: lost income, lost jobs, lost saving and pensions, lost business, bankruptcy, and other financial wipeouts.

Thousands of small businesses shut down or suffered serious economic losses.

The pathetic government response and financial support – particularly the federal PPP “forgivable loans” (grants) – was not only a very small part of the total economic damage, but the money was not accessible to all and was  gobbled up by well connected large corporate institutions.

So many hard hit and devastated working class and poor people and small businesses were shut out completely. Most went to the wealthiest 20% and did little to protect jobs.

But NJ’s Green Grifters – expert at milking government funding – made out well. COVID was a windfall for them.

They received over $3.4 million in COVID PPP “forgivable loans” – that means grants. 

Environmental group’s “business model”, e.g. their funding, cash flow, and sources of revenues are nothing at all like a small business, family, or workers salary.

Environmental groups don’t have cash flow and don’t depend on cash flow (with few exceptions and those revenues are not a significant part of the revenues groups that generate cash flow depend on).

Their “business model” and employee compensation don’t depend sales or customers like a restaurant or other small business does.

Environmental groups funds are primarily provided by government, corporate, and Foundation grants. Those funds are guaranteed by contract, locked in, deposited in a bank account, and funds don’t vary when the economy collapses under an emergency COVID.

Environmental groups enjoy multi-million dollar endowments that they can tap into in an emergency.

Environmental groups have thousands of very wealthy corporate and individual donors as members and contributors that can write checks in an emergency.

This guaranteed revenue stream provides the overwhelming majority of their funding.

None of that revenue was impacted by COVID.

No staff were laid off due to COVID. No staff suffered any pay cuts to their already high salaries (averaging $68,000) and benefits as a result of COVID

They had no legitimate reason to seek COVID PPP loans – pure ethics free greed drove that.

(I don’t have their COVID years budget data, but I’d bet that their budgets didn’t do down and likely went up. Meaning they pocketed the money.)

While others far more in need suffered and got no government financial support, the Green Grifters made out like the bandits they are. They take care of themselves and screw everyone else – that’s how they roll. It’s always about what’s in it for them, consequences be damned.

They’re a pack of grifters: NJ Audubon leads the pack. NJCF #2, ALS #3, PPA, #4.


According to federal data, here are the Filthy 14:

1. NJ Audubon – $816,100.00

New Jersey Audubon Society is a non-profit organization located at 9 Hardscrabble Rd in Bernardsville, New Jersey that received a Coronavirus-related PPP loan from the SBA of $816,100.00 in April, 2020.

2. NJ Conservation Foundation  – $593,100.00

New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a non-profit organization located at 179 Longview Rd in Far Hills, New Jersey that received a Coronavirus-related PPP loan from the SBA of $593,100.00in April, 2020.

3. American Littoral Society – $510,182

There are 2 PPP loans for a total of $510,182 in our database for businesses with the name “American Littoral Society Inc” in Highlands,

4. Pinelands Preservation Alliance – $393,595

There are 2 PPP loans for a total of $393,595 in our database for businesses with the name “Pinelands Preservation Alliance”

5. Raritan Baykeeper$161,000 – via 2 loans, different names

6. Monmouth Conservation Foundation – $159,945

There are 2 PPP loans for a total of $159,945 in our database for businesses with the name “Monmouth Conservation Foundation” in Middletown, NJ.

7. Hunterdon land Trust – $152,620

There are 2 PPP loans for a total of $152,620 in our database for businesses with the name “Hunterdon Land Trust” in Flemington, NJ. T

8. Conserve Wildlife – $150,000.00

Conserve Wildlife Foundation Of New Jers is a non-profit organization located at 608 Cypress Lane in East Brunswick, New Jersey that received a Coronavirus-related PPP loan from the SBA of $150,000.00 in May, 2020.

9. D&R Greenway – $144,200.00

D&R Greenway Land Trust In is a non-profit organization located at 1 Preservation Pl in Princeton, New Jersey that received a Coronavirus-related PPP loan from the SBA of $144,200.00 in April, 2020

10. Work Environment Council – $101,460.00 – $97.5 K ave. salary

Work Environment Council Of New Jersey, Inc is a non-profit organization located at 172 West State St 2nd Floor in Trenton, New Jersey that received a Coronavirus-related PPP loan from the SBA of $101,460.00 in April, 2020.

11. Clean Ocean Action – $94,528.00

Clean Ocean Action is a non-profit organization located at 49 Avenel Blvd in Long Branch, New Jersey that received a Coronavirus-related PPP loan from the SBA of $94,528.00 in May, 202

12. Highlands Coalition – $66,065.0

New Jersey Highlands Coalition is a non-profit organization located at 508 Main Street in Boonton, New Jersey that received a Coronavirus-related PPP loan from the SBA of $66,065.00in April, 2020

13. Harding land Trust  $34,592

There are 2 PPP loans for a total of $34,592 in our database for businesses with the name “Harding Land Trust Inc” in Morristown, NJ.

14. South Jersey Land and Water Trust – $27,300.00

South Jersey Land & Water Trust is a non-profit organization located at 21 Main St in Swedesboro, New Jersey that received a Coronavirus-related PPP loan from the SBA of $27,300.00 in May, 2020.

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NJ’s Green Grifters – Part One In A Series

November 22nd, 2022 No comments

NJ Audubon Is NJ’s Top Ranked Green Grift Operation

Recent $6 Million Dark Money Donor Just The Tip Of The Iceberg Of Corruption

Screen Shot 2022-11-21 at 5.21.22 PM

We begin this long overdue series with a spotlight on NJ Audubon Society (NJAS), because they are quantitatively by far the most greedy and egregious “Green Grifters” who most transparently and corruptly serve corporate interests and most consistently undermine and sell out conservation values and the public interest. But they are not alone. And Mike Catania’s model (Duke blood money) “Conservation Resources, Inc.” is right up there on the corporate influence and corruption scale.

We will name names and we will follow the money. We will illustrate examples of how that corporate money influenced the issues these conservation groups work on and the positions they take. We will provide links to all the documents that support our claims.

The corporate money also determines what issues these grifters don’t work on – for example, NJ Audubon never opposed the Penn East pipeline, fracking, or LNG export terminal. As a result of Dupont money, they never work on toxics in Delaware  River/Bay or wildlife. DEP abandoned proposed wildlife criteria, with no criticism or opposition.

The role of corporate money in influencing and outright co-opting NJ conservation groups has been a decades old problem, perhaps best illustrated by the dirty deal to forego cooling towers for the PSE&G south Jersey nuclear plants. That deal saved PSE&G billions.

Another blatant corrupt example is deal in support of the PSE&G Susquehanna – Roseland transmission line through the Delaware Watergap and Highlands. [A reader just noted NJAS hypocrisy, because a top killer of bald eagles is electrocution.]

But what we are witnessing today is quantitatively and qualitatively different and expressly corrupt.

NJ’s Green Grifters have dramatically changed the entire landscape of NJ’s environmental activism and policy advocacy over the last 25 years.

Through a conscious strategy that relied on: 1) the increasing influence of corporate money (e.g. see NJAS Annual Reports for tons of corporate funding, including PSE&G and Orsted $), 2) corporate Board appointments, 3) corporate staffing, 4) wealthy donors, 5) elite Foundation grants, 6) DEP “partnerships”, DEP grants and Stakeholder processes (including millions in State contracts, e.g. see ducks), 7) Gov. Office, BPU, and DEP revolving door staff appointments, a form of “brood parasitism”, 8) Trenton Gubernatorial cover and legislative capture (e.g multiple press conferences with Governor Murphy and Senator Smith’s Forestry Task Force), 9) inter-locking and self promoting coalitions, self dealing, log rolling, and astroturfing, and 10) a coordinated strategy of inter-locking Boards of directors and financial campaigns, these Green Grifters have drown out and virtually destroyed NJ’s long tradition of aggressive environmental advocacy and activism. It’s dead. Period.

With federal education money and PSE&G funding, NJAS are even indoctrinating our kids: the kids are not being taught civics, inspired to be the virtuous citizen, and introduced to the history of environmental activism. Instead, they are being told how to raise money, and for a corporate greenwashing slogan, not a program based on science and law!

And PSE&G gets all the good press they pay for, with greenwashing headlines like this:

In place of NJ’s tradition of aggressive activism is a corporate friendly agenda that emphasizes a set of voluntary, local, and market based incremental and slogans and symbolic feel good measures that award winning writer Chris Hedges calls elite boutique activism.

We now get a lot of toothless crap that sounds good. Or other voluntary projects that actually undermine regulatory protections. 

There was the unforgivable theft of environmental and State Parks money by the “Keep It Green” Coalition – a $1 million+ campaign to mislead NJ voters, with funds benefiting friends, family members, and fellow grifter contractors and consultants.

In place of NJ’s environmental community’s multi-organizational political electoral endorsement process, these same Green Grifter groups founded and funded and sit on the Board of the fraud that parades under the name “NJ League Of Conservation Voters” (NJ LCV)..

As I’ve written, NJ LCV was created with an express intent to replace the voice and political and media power of Sierra Club’s Jeff Tittel. Carleton Montgomery of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance brags on his website bio that he was a founder of NJ LCV. Look at all their Boards of Direcors and note the overlapping memberships and interests.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves – let’s get back to the narrower focus of today’s initial post, NJAS. We’ll deliver the receipts on all this in future posts in this series.

NJAS is the group that openly bragged about a greenwashing “partnership” with Donald Trump at his Bedminster NJ golf course. As far as I know, they never repudiated or apologized for that relationship.

NJAS is the group that openly celebrated their “Corporate Stewardship Council”, with funding from some of NJ biggest corporate polluters and developers and greenwashers.

NJAS is the group that made a U-Turn and reversed their position of support for preservation of large intact blocks of Highlands forests and maximizing canopy cover, to supporting logging those same forests.

NJAS is the group that misled the public and lied about logging public forests.

NJAS is the group that gladly accepted $330,000 from Wall Street billionaire and owner of the bird slaughtering hunting compound known as Hudson Farm. Incredibly, that private money was dedicated to drafting a Forest Management Plan for logging publicly owned State forests in the Sparta Mountain WMA, in the heart of the protected NJ Highlands. And the same billionaire funded joint DEP conservation community junkets.

NJAS is the group that sought and accepted $830,000 of COVID PPP “forgivable loans” (grants), despite an endowment of millions of dollars, million dollar annual budget surpluses, and a dedicated revenue stream that was not impacted by COVID. Not one NJAS employee was laid off, and not one suffered a reduction in their high salaries and benefits. Pure greed prompted their COVID PPP money grab, which could have gone to real people in need.

NJAS is the group that engages in grossly unethical conflicts of interest, whereby their former head of NJAS Corporate Stewardship Council and the champion of logging NJ public forests, John Cecil, is now Murphy DEP Assistant Commissioner with power over the fate of those forests, and the revolving door swung open whereby NJ DEP’s former head of Science and Research, Eileen Murphy, is now NJAS head of Trenton lobbying. You really can’t make this stuff up.

NJAS is the group that hired a former Exxon-Mobile “biostitute” as CEO.

Repeat: the current CEO of NJAS was a former Exxon-Mobil “scientist”. Exxon Mobil joined NJAS’ “Corporate Stewardship Council” (and became a corporate donor) AFTER NJAS hired their employee.

NJAS tentacles (and their corporate backers) are everywhere:

 In the bird world, this practice is known as “brood parasitism”.

NJAS even works the Gov.’s wife, Tammy!!

But today’s NJAS fundraising email on their $13 million SOAR fundraising campaign is so over the top and so illustrative. (see above) in prompted this long overdue series. A six million dollar dark money donation should trigger all sorts of red flags.

But so is the prior NJAS fundraising email I got about a ZEISS  optics sale – for sophisticated optical equipment  that cost more than I – and millions of NJ resident – spend on food for 6 months!

And so is the prior NJAS fundraising email I got about incredibly carbon intensive luxury “eco-tourism” tours. More than I spend in 6 months!

And so is the prior NJAS fundraising email urging support for federal legislation that would appropriate more funding to them.

NJAS is the group that advocates for Delaware Watershed funding that they would benefit from:

  • Action Alert: Please Help Protect the Delaware River Basin:

Since first appropriated in FY18 at $5 million, the Program has now grown in funding to $10.5 million in FY22. This year, New Jersey Audubon and the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed is urging Congress to increase funding to $13.5 million to address key issues facing the future of the Delaware River Basin. Act now to increase federal investment in New Jersey and throughout the watershed.

The core component of the Program is competitive grants through the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund, a program administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is as corporate dominated and corrupt as NJAS. Just LOOK at all those corporate partners!

NJAS is a group that issues an”Action Alert” that left out the fact that they receive funding the the Delaware Watershed Fund and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

And NJAS is a group that didn’t mention that those funds are in addition to receiving some of the Wm. Penn Foundations’ $100 million Watershed initiative.

And NJAS is a group that does virtually nothing on real Delaware Watershed water quality issues – from land use to toxic discharges and regulation under the Clean Water Act’s SWQS, WQMP, NPDES, and  TMDL programs (you can Google the acronyms!) Dupont “Clear Into The Future” funding is behind that abdication, see:

NJAS only supports politically safe bi-partisan federal legislation that provides funding to them.

Look closely at anything NJAS does, and you will find a corporate interests or a financial benefit to them.

That’s not conservation, that’s corruption. And it is all done right in the open.

(Part II will name the number 2 and 3 Green Grifters Groups – and if you have any dirt, give is a holler!)

[End Note: – A reader sent this, which is consistent with the pro-hunter relationships with NJAS logging projects:

They partnered with Wildlife Management Institute for CARA  –Conservation Reinvestment Act – that was back in the nineties and they wanted massive amounts of federal taxpayer dollars to be divided among hunters and so called non game programs. But the lion’s share went to hunters and to conservation education which by the way could not be negative toward hunting. That was the National Audubon but  affiliated  New Jersey Audubon was the co-director along with a NJDFW of Teaming  with Wildlife in NJ, which ushered in increased tightly coordinated power between most Audubons and the hunting community and not a single animal group paid attention to it.

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Is Military Money And Protection Of Warren Grove US Air Force Range Driving Insane DEP Pinelands Logging Plan?

November 21st, 2022 No comments

US Air Force Views Wildfires As A Significant Threat To Their Training Mission

US Air Force Funds Wildfire Management Programs To Reduce Those Operational Risks

Red oval location of DEP logging - Warren Grove Range upper right corner

Red oval location of DEP logging – Warren Grove Range upper right corner

We are dumfounded as to why DEP wants to log an isolated 1,400 acre parcel of Pinelands forests. There are major negative ecological and climate impacts of the plan and no justification for it.

According to Pinelands Commissioner Wallner, there is no wildfire management logic to support DEP’s plans to log 1,304 acres and create 13 road miles of 50 foot wide clearcut to create a “firebreak”.

Pinelands Commisioner Wallner – a retired *National Park Service wildfire expert – noted that he reviewed the DEP maps of the area and that there was no people or property at risk and that DEP provided no wildfire justification for the plan. (see a Google map of the area above).

Here is what a local expert noted about the lack of a justification:

All of the most immediate housing is in Warren Grove, but that is blocked by Sims Place and the NJ Air National Guard bombing range.  The Air Gurad owns 8000 acres there that is managed as a true Pinelands Forest. To the North there is Stafford Twp and that is protected by Rt. 539 and the GS Parkway. East is Little Egg Harbor and that is blocked by the Parkway as well. There is almost nothing to the West and little to the South.  All of these areas are guarded by roads that are much larger firebreaks than what they plan to cut. Given that the Pinelands is a fire ecology none of this makes any sense.  Also, the East Plains has a reputation of burning every 15 years or so and it is, perhaps, one of the reasons they are pygmy trees.

Makes me want to know who has the contract to cut and what is going to happen to the pulp logs the cutting will produce?

In fact, recent science demonstrates that “forest thinning” actually makes wildfires WORSE.

There is no ecological justification for the DEP plan because wildfire is ecologically beneficial to Pinelands forests.

The DEP plan blatantly contradicts the DEP’s Climate Science Report and Forest Action Plan recommendations regarding increasing carbon storage and sequestration.

The DEP plan conflicts with a pending “no net loss of trees” amendment to the Pinelands CMP to implement the Pinelands Commission’s climate policy development.

The plan would have many negative ecological impacts to Pinelands forests, including destruction of habitat for rare snakes and toxic pollution of soils and water from application of herbicides on over 1,000 acres.

The Plan conflicts with pending policy recommendations forthcoming in December from State  Senator Smith’s Legislative Forestry Taskforce.

So why is DEP aggressively pushing the Plan? Why did the Pinelands Commission approve it. And why are NJ leading conservation groups so aggressively supporting it?

Given the proximity to the USAF Warren Grove Range and support of NJ Conservation Foundation, we think we may have found who really could be pulling the strings behind the scenes: the US Air Force.

I previously wrote about the USAF’s “REPI” program, see:

DoD’s REPI NJ partners are listed on this fact sheet, and include NJCF

The Warren Grove range REPI fact sheet very clearly describes their concerns and objectives:

One of the most heavily utilized Air National Guard training ranges in the U.S., Warren Grove Range is a key Northeast training asset for all four Services, with its remote location providing unique operational capabilities.

However, its location in the New Jersey Pinelands is also one of the most flammable areas in the country. Every year training activities ignite one fire every 10-14 days, which are suppressed on-site.

When wildfires occur, the range must be totally shut down until the fires are suppressed. To reduce the wildfire danger, controlled burns are necessary to manage forest undergrowth. Without buffer lands to properly address undergrowth and fire concerns, the military mission at the range is endangered. In May 2007, the range shut down entirely for more than a year. Now, REPI efforts to establish buffer lands surrounding the range are protecting the viability of continued training missions, including use of conventional freefall bombs and munitions and future weapon systems training.

The USFA fact sheet then lists NJCF as a key partner:

“Every year training activities ignite one fire every 10-14 days, which are suppressed on-site….

Targeting the acquisition of thousands of acres of forest, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation will help the Air Force protect surrounding residents from the constant threat of wildfire and conduct prescribed fire management. Additionally, better forest management will support the many federally and state- listed animal and vegetative species found in the Pinelands area. Altogether, this project allows the continued operation of Warren Grove Range and maintains a quality training environment.”

So, is this project related to the US Air Force’s REPI wildfire management program?

Is it designed to protect the Warren Grove Range training mission by expanding the management of buffer lands?

Does NJCF receive federal funds for land management or benefit from USAF prescribed burns of NJCF lands?

We’ll try to file FOIA documents with the US Air Force to find out – but that will take months.

In the meantime, maybe some intrepid investigative reporter out there might start asking questions.

[Update: A local expert just sent me additional facts that support this explanation:

on the north and east sides that border the [Warren Grove Range] East Plains they have cut huge fire lands in the pygmy pines. When I first found them, I had Carleton check into it.  That was my first exposure to Walt Bien.  One of the excuses he used for them was that they were hoping to have more Crows Bloomberry (?)grow there. So, I guess the Air Guard want the other side of their property protected.  Wonder if NJCF subcontracted it out and will benefit from the contract?

*corrected 12/13/22

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ORWELL: Conservationists Conduct Tour To Promote DEP Logging Of Pinelands Forests

November 20th, 2022 No comments

Conservationists Caught In Lies, Are Now Promoting Logging

Running Out the Clock, Deflecting Attention from Gov. Murphy’s OK

Costly, Harmful, Unjustified, And Ineffective Forest “Thinning” Makes Wildfires Worse

Conservationists defended this Pinelands clearcut as "forest restoration" and "stewardship"

Conservationists defended this Pinelands clearcut as “forest restoration” and “stewardship”

[Important Updates below]

I knew this debate about DEP logging in the Pinelands would be ugly, but I must say that I’m shocked and appalled by this latest astonishing and unprecedented development:

We are organizing a field trip with Sierra Club and NJ Conservation Foundation to look at the results of the kind of thinning prescription that DEP intends to carry out in Bass River SF.  It will be on Sunday, November 20th from 11 am to 2 pm.  If you can come, would you give me a call at 609-304-9902


The PPA, NJCF and Sierra are running this PR stunt when many other people are urging Gov. Murphy to veto the minutes of the Pinelands Commission and kill the project. The Gov. has until Nov. 29 to make that decision. If he does nothing, it means he tacitly approves the project. Murphy politically owns it as well. His recent appointments voted in favor of it and his DEP Commissioner LaTourette  – as revealed by a smoking gun letter – pressured the Pinelands Commission to support the project, a document that both DEP and the Pinelands Commission have kept secret and refused to disclose in response to my OPRA request.

(Silly me: I thought they could not go any lower than calling a 13 MILE LONG 50 foot wide forest clearcut, bisected by a road – a “meadow”. – Or maybe they were duped by DEP’s slogan: “carbon defense”!)

The photo above is an example of a logging project that the Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA) and NJ Conservation Foundation (NJCF) supported as “forest restoration” and “Family forest stewardship”. You can see more photos and links to the project in this post:

I’m sure they won’t tour that site in the defense of DEP “thinning” campaign.

I’m sure that the well meaning and trusting participants on that “tour” will not be provided with a different assessment, including that of Pinelands Commissioners Lohbauer and Wallner.

Commissioner Wallner, a retired *National Park Service expert on wildfire, did not support the plan because it had no justification in preventing wildfire risks and DEP failed to examine alternatives. (US Forest Service is required to do that under the NEPA EIS process, but NJ has no NEPA law so DEP can do whatever they want). Wallner reviewed the maps and found that there were few if any people and property at risk.

Wow. A costly and highly ecologically destructive project that has no justification.

But it gets even worse: recent science has found that forest “thinning” is not an effective tool in wildfire management. It results in exactly the opposite of its stated goals: it makes wildfires WORSE. By reducing canopy cover, “thinning” allows more sunlight to hit the forest floor. This promotes invasive plants and grasses which are highly combustable. It also dries out vegetation and duff, making them MORE combustible. It also allows wind to penetrate the forest, which also dries out vegetation and duff, while fanning the flames and greatly accelerating and intensifying wildfires. (This is common sense: anyone who ever tried to build a campfire with wet wood or blew on the embers of a campfire to get it stoked knows this).

The costly and ecologically damaging forest “thinning” project with no justification actually makes the wildfire problem worse!

Commissioner Lohbauer provided a point by point devastating critique of that plan, concluding:

In the end, the injury to the carbon sequestering ability of this forest was my primary objection to this project. I don’t believe that the work that the Forest Service proposes to do is either warranted by the circumstances, nor healthy for the flora and fauna of this forest. I opposed it, and I hope that there still remains some opportunity to prevent the Forest Service from moving forward with this now permitted, yet ill-planned project.”

So, a costly and ecologically damaging project, with no justification or exploration of alternatives, that makes the problem worse, is also the OPPOSITE of what we should be doing to address the climate emergency (i.e. maximize carbon storage and sequestration in trees, vegetation, duff, and soil, not cut them down and destroy them and burn them as “fuel”). See:

This is the garbage that your conservation “leaders” are now actively supporting and promoting. Let that sink in for a moment.

Sadly, it’s not really an anomaly (for an historical explanation of what’s going on, see this post:

What very likely happened here is that at the outset, PPA and NJCF decided that they could not stop the project – for political reasons dealing with public fear of wildfire and because they don’t like to fight with DEP and the Pinelands Commission – and because they lack a spine, they are not activists, and they find public controversies and activism distasteful.

So, they decided to go behind closed doors and work with DEP to do damage control, which they then publicly sold as “concessions” they extracted from DEP.

Recall that PPA was reluctantly dragged into the grassroots activist battle over the Pinelands pipeline, they did not lead that fight. That’ why they kept this whole logging scheme quiet and below the public radar.

Very few people know that former Pinelands Commissioner and NJCF leader Candy Ashmum privately vigorously urged environmental leaders NOT TO OPPOSE THE PIPELINE, because she feared Gov. Christie would be vindictive, replace her, and destroy the Pinelands Commission! I was at this meeting.

But, I got wind of the DEP “thinning” project and filed an OPRA public document request to the Pinelands Commission in August, BEFORE they approved the project. Outrageously, the Pinelands Commission simply violated the law and denied my request, due to a “lack of responsive records”, a blatant lie.

The Pinelands Commission did this during their review and approval of the DEP logging plan and prior to their vote.

Emile and Carleton were caught with their pants down and were about to be exposed for their weak behind the scenes dealings with DEP and failure to warn the public.

To try to prevent this embarrassment, Emile DeVito of NJCF then sent me an email urging me not to oppose the project. His excuse included a pack of flat out lies.

That was then followed by numerous emails from Carleton Montgomery of PPA to conservationists also urging them not to oppose the project. see:

After I exposed these lies – in detail based on the text of the DEP plan and Pinelands approval document – conservationists tried to shift the goalposts and walk back their lies, but actually doubled down on them. Again, I had to call them out on that, in detail, with facts, see:

They now take that self serving campaign of lies into the absurd territory we see in today’s “field trip”.

That’s not just ineffective advocacy – its flat out corruption. (and keep in mind that Sierra Club and NJCF are Co-Chairs of Senator Smith’s Forestry Task Force, so this PR campaign in support of forest thinning sends a devastating bad signal about where that group is headed).

(ps – perhaps they were duped by DEP slogans about “carbon defense”!?

[Update 1: Based on NJ Hazard Mitigation Plan & DEP mapping of “extreme wildfire risk”, I petitioned Pinelands Comm. to amend the CMP to limit new development & mandate fireproofing of structures, see:

This a a far less expensive, far superior environmentally, and far more effective approach to wildfire management.

Yet it got NO SUPPORT – NONE – from PPA & NJCF – but now they support LOGING TO manage wildfire!

[Update 2: The Cherry on top of this disgrace is that wildfire is ecologically beneficial to Pinelands forests!  (Emil DeVito wrote an Op-Ed and PPA recently did press interview about that).

So, DEP is spending over $1 million of public money to log forests and create ecological and climate harms to suppress ecologically beneficial wildfire, for no wildfire risk reduction, and actually making wildfire risks worse! (while constructing road improvements and roadside clearcuts that invite further illegal ORV access and damage). You really can’t make this shit up!

[End Note: I’ve been working with a few journalists for weeks now and giving them a hard time for failure to cover this story. No doubt the pushback, spin, and lies from PPA &NJCF has blocked that coverage and no doubt that those reporters are on this tour and will drink the Kool-aid). Word.


*corrected 12/13/22

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