Home > Uncategorized > Why Is NJ Spotlight Tacitly Encouraging Poor And Minority Communities To Eat Toxic Fish?

Why Is NJ Spotlight Tacitly Encouraging Poor And Minority Communities To Eat Toxic Fish?

Spotlight Reports “Good News” On Fish But Fails To Mention Fish Consumption Advisories

Again, No Mention of Delaware Toxics Problems Or Industrial Pollution

Journalistic Malpractice – Failure To Warn

1 (11)

(*** source: NJ DEP)

[Prior Update was deleted – here’s’ a correction from Pennsylvania publication: NJ DEP issued consumption advisories for PFAS. Curious, I don’t recall this story running in NJ Spotlight. I’ll check]

Back in the day, DEP managers had to actively spin, suppress, and/or cover up the science and data that documented unhealthy levels of toxic chemicals in the environment and fish and wildlife.

I have first hand knowledge of all that.

After almost a decade in DEP’s toxic chemical regulatory programs, in 1994 I was forced out of DEP for blowing the whistle on a corrupt DEP scheme to suppress and lie about alarming DEP research that found unexpectedly high levels of mercury in freshwater fish. (I was rehired at DEP and vindicated in 2002).

The DEP managers feared negative press coverage and the criticism by an outraged public that always ensued.

The DEP managers feared public demands for stricter regulation and enforcement of laws.

The DEP managers feared the political pushback they would receive from chemical, pharmaceutical, and oil industrial polluters and their Legislative puppets.

DEP managers fear loss of revenue and budget cuts. The jobs of DEP fish and wildlife program staff are funded by fishing and hunting license fees. The public’s revulsion of toxic fish and wildlife reduce those revenues.

NJ’s Fisheries contribute millions to NJ’s economy. Toxic fish and shellfish lead to FDA restrictions and loss of commercial fishing industry profits.

Headlines like this are nightmares for a captured DEP and their corporate friends in polluting industry:

The DEP managers feared the embarrassment, criticism, and pressure that would be exerted on the Governor from all quarters.

But not any more – the Big Pharma and chemical industry lobbyists have won the war.

Today, the DEP managers no longer sweat bullets. The media just ignore all that.

So, after today’s repeated misleading coverage of the Delaware River by NJ Spotlight (which I’ve warned them about repeatedly), I fired off this note to reporter Jon Hurdle, with a copy to his sources at the Delaware Riverkeeper. I’m particularly disappointed with Maya Von Rosum, who knows better. I gave up on Hurdle long ago.

1 (13)People seriously must demand to know why NJ Spotlight would tacitly encourage poor and minority communities to consume unsafe fish tainted by toxic chemicals by misleading reports on the health of the river’s fisheries, while failing to report on fish consumption advisories, toxic sediments, ongoing industrial toxic pollution, chemical water quality, and extremely disturbing chemically induced ecological impacts like dual sexed fish.

This can’t be an inadvertent oversight – it happens repeatedly. It’s journalistic malpractice – at best – or an incompetent or corrupt coverup at worst.

*** A knowledgeable reader again reminds me that I again failed to mention that DEP fish consumption advisories downplay risk because Fish Advisories are set at a 1 in 10,000 individual lifetime risk for cancer, not 1 in 1,000,000 like drinking water risks are.

Here’s my note to Mr. Hurdle:

Jon – there are numerous fish consumption advisories issued on the Delaware. Why no mention?

Do you think urban fishers should be unknowingly eating those fish, with Spotlight’s tacit encouragement? Talk about EJ!

Industrial legacy? Industrial discharges are not all over. And there is a pre-treatment program too. Why no mention? Google Dupont, Haas (Wm. Penn) and DRBC Toxics and DEP toxics in Biota work.

There are TMDLs on the river. No mention.

There is an anti-degradation policy in the Clean Water Act – no mention.

There are loopholes in DEP’s proposed variance rule based on cost, especially in EJ Communities (your story implied they were Trader Joe’s wino’s). No mention. In case you missed it:


State regulatory protections for headwater tributary streams, like 300 foot C1 buffers on the NJ side – they don’t exist on PA tributaries – totally ignored.

I could go on.

Do better.

1 (12)

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
You must be logged in to post a comment.