On The (Berkeley) Waterfront

October 7th, 2019 No comments

The Homeless Refrain: “Where Do We Go?”

“On The Waterfront” is one of my favorite movies, but they’ll be no pretty pictures today.

Instead, after almost 3 years on the road, I want to relay what unfortunately is another sickening episode of a systematic and unjust war on the poor and homeless. Word.

We went out of our way to stop in historically leftist Berkeley, California, assuming that it would be a city targeted for an Extinction Rebellion climate strike.

We were wrong.

We rolled into town on Sunday afternoon, and drove directly to what we consider the central cultural point in the city, up University Avenue, not to the University, but to People’s Park.

In our prior 3 visits to Berkeley over the last decade, we parked at People’s Park and walked around the Park and the neighborhood – Telegraph Avenue and the Berkeley campus. Last year, we even enjoyed a free meal there.

Not this year.

I don’t know if it’s, me, but I got the strong sense that something significant had changed.

The homeless were far more numerous and desperate.

They had far more crazy gear – tents, chairs, beds, and other random stuff – in full display. Garbage was everywhere.

The people in the park were not – as in prior visits – friendly and offering me a hit on their joints, but angry, mumbling incoherently, and warning me to stay away from their vicious pit bull dogs.

The vehicles parked along the perimeter of the park – buses, RV’s and cars that they slept in – all had broken windows, were in disarray, and smelled badly like piss.

There were tents on the sidewalks.

Frankly, I was terrified.

I got the hell out of there after walking the perimeter and talking with a handful of the park people.

I drove down to the marina, where I was aware of and had read there was a crackdown on homeless encampments and overnight parking in vehicles, particularly RV’s.

I saw small homeless encampments with logos – “Where Do We Go? – on tents.

I had the same question on my mind.

I parked along the waterfront with a glorious view of the bay, Oakland, the San Francisco skyline, and the Golden Gate Bridge, but being in a brightly painted bus with a political message, I felt like a big neon sign target for the cops.

Shortly after I parked, a guy drove up to warn me to move on – he said that overnight parking was prohibited, strictly enforced, and that cops were  driving people out.

So, to avoid this hassle, I drove to a parking lot closer to the marina, where I had camped before. I  spoke with some folks in RV’s and vans to find out what the hell was going on.

They advised that I could not park overnight there but could stay in a nearby lot overnight, which I did.

Funny, just after dark, 4  Berkeley police cars parked right next to me virtually all night. I did not feel safer, but rather targeted. But the police had no problem with my bus or another bus with 2 young woman parked next to me.

After a policed safe night, as I was making a pot of coffee this morning, a “harbor patrol manager” drove up in golf cart and said I was an oversized vehicle and had to leave. He emphasized that there was no overnight sleeping in vehicles too.

I asked him about using a nearly empty parking lot for the day and he said out was OK.

So, I went there and began cooking breakfast.

Shortly thereafter, I saw this same Harbor Patrol guy in his golf cart drive into the lot and get into a violent argument with a guy who was washing his car with the water and hose made available in lot for boat washing. The man was Hispanic.

After a violent exchange with this man, he then came back to ask me to leave.

I asked what the dispute with the Hispanic man was all about. The Harbor Patrol manager replied that the man had been seen many times previously filling hundreds of jugs and providing water to the homeless. I questioned why that was a problem, and I noted that the water was not potable. No reply. He didn’t care about any of that – were the homeless being poisoned by the water? – Crickets. He was concerned with just the fact that the man was helping the homeless and using water and equipment that was reserved for recreational boaters to wash their boats. THAT WAS THE PROBLEM! 

How is that any different than the cruelty of ICE and US Border Patrol cutting water jugs in the desert and arresting humanitarians who leave water in the desert?

After this exchange, I complained that just 5 minutes prior, he said this spot in the parking lot was OK.

He then changed the subject and stressed the need for respecting the rights of the recreational boaters.

But I told him there were no boaters in the entire lot – I was not taking their space or interfering with air use of the space in any way.

I was the only vehicle in the lot.

I explained that I was a retired professional who understood how the wealthy manipulate the system to their advantage and noted that the poor lack the resources to understand or make the arguments to protect their own legitimate rights to public space.  So I would make those arguments for them,

I then took strong exception to the whole idea of reserving such a wonderful public space exclusively for wealthy recreational boaters, who on top of this, did not pay any special user fees for the privilege of this space or the water & boat washing equipment.

And here’s where the evil of the whole system was revealed:

He replied:

I respect you, you are a reasonable guy, with a nice rig.

But, in my experience, as a former manager of the San Francisco marina, it’s not the rich boaters who are the problem, it’s all the people who feel that they have a right to come here and use this place as a public park, when it is limited to recreational boaters.

The problem is not the average boater. The problem is that the ultra-rich and the very poor and homeless BOTH want special treatment.

Imagine that: the homeless guy living in a tent and drinking non-potable water is the same problem as the rich guy in a million dollar yatch or sailboat.

On the road.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Wolf House In Ruins

October 5th, 2019 No comments
Ruins of Wolf House

Ruins of Wolf House

We spent a glorious day in Jack London State Historic Park –

We visited Jack’s gravesite, his cabin, his ranch, tragic Wolf House ruins, and the monument museum erected to him by his wife, Charmian (note to the wise: don’t ever let your widowed wife define your legacy).

Just a few days prior, I picked up a copy of Naomi Klein’s latest book On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal  so couldn’t help but think of Wolf House – which burned to the ground – as a metaphor for our times.

London is one of my favorite authors, so visiting his ranch was a must see as we bounced down the California coast. (We’ll soon post photos of the pacific coast, from Puget sound – we’re trying to get to Berkeley for Monday’s Extinction Rebellion’s climate strike),

At the outset, let’s be clear: London was a socialist. Not a Bernie Sanders version, but the real deal (see London’s essay “How I Became a Socialist” (1905) for a discussion of democratic socialism).

We picked up copies of original covers of our favorite London books:

We also picked up a sticker that we immediately put on the bus and is now our favorite – it simply says:

LIVE LIKE JACK LONDON

The landscape of London’s ranch is exactly what we imagined in reading his work, especially the secret hiding place for the revolutionaries at the end of the novel “The Iron Heel”.

_DSC5895

But with my focus on London’s political writings, I was unaware of London’s commitment to what we would now call “sustainable agriculture” and “animal rights”.

_DSC5914

I was pleasantly surprised that London’s ideas about land management on his ranch anticipated the New Deal CCC forestry and agricultural programs and writers like Wendell Berry.

London's cabin - been there, for 17 years!

London’s cabin – been there, for 17 years!

That just builds on my London hero worship! I hope my kids spread my ashes in the Hudson River!

London' ashes were buried under this rock

London’ ashes were buried under this rock

Jack had a dream – one we shared and lived for 17 years in our cabin and farm in Ringoes, home of famous environment writer John McPhee.

But, I must note that the museum erected by London’s wife, Charmian, was a disappointment. Never let a high maintenance wife define your legacy!

Charmian's Museum

Charmian’s Museum

After a truly glorious day, we’re now in the Glen Ellen market parking lot (victim of 2017 wildfire), drinking beers and listening to Tom Waits’ greatest (there is no doubt in my mind that Jack London would have loved Tom Waits). Tom’s lyrics:

I like to sleep until the crack of noon
Midnight howlin’ at the moon
Goin’ out when I wanto, comin’ home when I please
I don’t have to ask permission
If I want to go out fishing
And I never have to ask for the keys

Maybe after Wolf House burned down, London felt these feelings Waits explores in his song “Hold On”

Well, God bless your crooked little heart
St. Louis got the best of me
I miss your broken China voice
How I wish you were still here with me
Oh, you build it up, you wreck it down
Then you burn your mansion to the ground
Oh, there’s nothing left to keep you here
But when you’re falling behind in this big blue world

Waits’ song “Old 55″ tells a story in my life and my “Colossal Illusion”: (but I drove an old ’89 Volvo):

Well, my time went so quickly
I went lickety-splickly
Out to my old ’55
As I pulled away slowly, feeling so holy
God knows, I was feeling alive

(And if you can listen to Waits’ version of Waltzing Matilda” without crying, you have no heart).

We’ll keep you posted.

_DSC5893

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Upcoming Lead In Drinking Water Report – Issues To Watch Out For

October 5th, 2019 No comments

Murphy Administration Essentially Outsourced Policy Role To Private Group

Report on lead likely to provide platform for privatization & dodge key issues

Lead issue tip of iceberg in a collapsing water infrastructure & regulatory framework

nj-american

Back in January, a private Foundation created and/or funded group who claims exactly 544 members called Jersey Water Works publicly announced – in a press release – that they would:

produce report of best practices and recommendations for eliminating lead from drinking water statewide.

So, at a critical time, this private group basically took on the challenge of developing State policy, as the Murphy administration and Democratic legislature abdicated the policymaking role and dodged accountability for multiple failures. Accordingly, the Murphy administration was glad to assign DEP staff to support this private group, instead of having to do the heavy lifting in developing a real response to the multiple crises involved.

[Update – 10/8/19: Just 2 days after I wrote this, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that NJ Senate Democrats held a press conference stressing what the stenographic media called a “sense of urgency“. They are especially desperate to avoid any discussion of the privatization issue and their lead role in supporting it. But just like I said, it’s all BS:

Sweeney said New Jersey needs money to fix its water issues but he doesn’t want to raise fees. It’s something, he said, that could knock him out of office. ~~~ end update]

Jersey Water Works is another classic in NJ’s long history of allowing self selected, unaccountable, private sector special interest groups to frame the issues and dominate the public policymaking process. These groups are not subject to any public process, transparency, scientific peer review, or ethical restrictions. This is not only undemocratic, poor policy development, and ideologically biased, but it reeks of self dealing and conflicts of interest.

These “Stakeholder” groups typically form when a huge public controversy overwhelms state policymakers, exposes government negligence or failed regulatory oversight, and creates the need for political cover. Typically, the stakes are large: a huge pot of public money, deregulation, privatization, and/or economic opportunity is about to be created by government. Everyone then jumps on the gravy train.

Accordingly, following NJ longstanding pattern, JWW’s membership is dominated by a melange of those with huge economic interests in water: private water companies, consultants, banking & finance,  engineering and construction firms, real estate, and developers.

This economic development oriented private group is provided a veneer of legitimacy, “diversity”, “balance”, “building consensus”, and cover by the corrupt “transactional” planning and environmental groups that feed at the trough of government grants and Foundation funding (i.e. Sustainable NJ, NJ Future, American Littoral Society, Clean ocean Action, Clean Water Action, Environment NJ, et al).

Individuals and groups with an independent orientation (those groups that are membership funded and/or not dependent on in NJ state foundation funding) and those with a critical approach or what is viewed as a “radical” policy agenda (e.g. Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch, local grassroots community groups fighting for clean water, against privatization & toxic pollution, and active private citizens – i.e. anyone that works contrary to Neoliberal corporate interests) – are not invited and their views are marginalized.

So, with that said, first, let me set the policy context for this JWW Report.

The announcement came after increasing focus on: 1) longstanding multi-billion dollar water infrastructure deficits; 2) failure by State policymakers to enact a new revenue source to fund these deficits; 3) a series of drinking water crises across the state; 4) eight years of regulatory rollbacks and under investment by the Christie administration, and 5) passage of controversial privatization legislation by the Democratic legislature that deregulated and stripped voters of their rights to vote on whether or not to privatize their local water system.

The implications of how the privatization law stripped voters of their formal approval role was brought to light recently in Edison, where voters overwhelming rejected a proposed privatization plan, by over 84%, see:

As I’ve previously written, the JWW Report is very likely going to provide a platform for privatization (look for the euphemisms “public-private partnerships” and “asset management” to provide cover for privatization.)

But here are some important issues that I suspect that the Report will downplay or ignore completely (I’ll provide supporting text and links to these bullets over the ext few days. In the meantime, intrepid readers can word search Wolfenotes – I’ve posted stuff on almost all of this).

  • Scientific flaws, gaps, and loopholes in current drinking water regulations and how they are monitored and enforced, including the federal EPA lead and copper rule and corrosion control that NJ DEP relies on
  • Inadequate oversight, negligence, and lax enforcement by NJ DEP
  • What really happened in Newark – what DEP knew and when they knew it
  • Lack of resources and professional expertise & capacity at NJ DEP
  • A specific new funding mechanism to adequately finance infrastructure upgrades (water tax)
  • Regulatory mandates to consider environmental justice in DEP policy, rules, and decisions
  • a regulatory based new Source water protection policy
  • a new “precautionary” public health approach to DEP regulation, MCL’s, and “risk assessment”, including cumulative impacts, multiple chemical exposures, and multiple exposure pathways
  • New regulatory restrictions on industrial polluters & sewage treatment plants
  • New regulatory restrictions on land use and development
  • New regulatory restrictions mandating retrofit of existing development
  • Real enforceable timetables and milestones in combined sewer overflow permits
  • New regulatory restrictions on agriculture and forestry (including bans of toxic pesticides and water quality based regulatory limits on fertilizers)
  • Addressing over 500 “unregulated contaminants” in drinking water via what DEP has recommended as a “treatment based approach” (including new treatment requirements for drinking water plants AND wastewater discharges)
  • Limits on surface and groundwater withdrawals – maintenance of river and stream flows
  • Regulatory consideration of Climate change impacts on water resources and infrastructure
  • New mandatory water conservation requirements
  • Regulatory consideration of ecological impacts
  • Enhanced DEP and State role in water supply planning and regulation
  • Specific recommendations for new legislation and regulation

All of these issues in some way touch upon drinking water and the lead issue.

Frankly, the lead issue is the tip of the iceberg in a collapsing water infrastructure and regulatory framework.

More to follow when the Report is released.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Murphy DEP Urged To Ratchet Down on Air Pollution That Impacts Haze In Brigantine Wilderness Area

October 2nd, 2019 No comments

Proposal Fails To Consider Climate Change and Energy Efficiency 

The Murphy DEP just extended the public comment period until October 22 on the DEP proposed  State Implementation Plan (SIP) For Regional Haze for the Brigantine Wilderness Area.

I don’t know why the public comment period was extended, but when DEP does so, it typically means either industry opposition or technical flaws with the original proposal.

[Note: Jeff Tittel of Sierra Club just sent this explanatory note:

We requested an extension and 2 week extension was granted .Taylor from Sierra was only commenter at the hearing we requested. ~~~ end Note]

On a positive note, SIP proposals are complex and typically take several years to develop, which can span administrations. Accordingly, sometimes an extension of a public comment period can provide the DEP Commissioner with the opportunity to reconsider policy in light of new science or different policy objectives than the prior administration that drafted a proposal.

Once again, the Murphy DEP has ignored an opportunity to regulate and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Firstly, the SIP ignores climate change. Even DEP’s own Global Warming Response Act Report (2009) notes the linkages between climate change and ground level ozone, particulates, and haze:  (@ page 10)

These rising temperatures are expected to have human health impacts, including:[…]

  • increased levels of ground-level ozone, with the number of days failing to meet federal air quality ozone standard projected to quadruple if local vehicle and industrial emissions of ozone-forming pollutants are not reduced;
  • accelerated secondary fine particle formation, which also have negative health impacts, particularly to children and the elderly;

The DEP GWRA Report discusses that science further on page 24:

“GHG Co-Benefits from Implemented and Anticipated Controls to Meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards

The entire State of New Jersey is currently designated by the USEPA as nonattainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). In addition, thirteen of New Jersey’s 21 counties are designated as nonattainment for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. PM2.5, also known as fine particulate matter, in the atmosphere is composed of a complex mixture of particles: sulfate, nitrate, and ammonium particles; particle-bound water; black carbon (also known as elemental carbon); a great variety of organic compounds (or volatile organic compounds (VOCs)); and crustal material. In response to these designations, the NJDEP has submitted attainment demonstration plans designed to show how New Jersey will attain these standards by 2010. Also, the State has also submitted a Regional Haze Plan to the USEPA which establishes progress goals and control strategies for improving visibility (mainly impeded by fine particles in the atmosphere) in federally protected areas. All of these plans commit the State to implement a number of new control measures.

Control measures implemented to meet the Federal ozone, PM2.5 and Regional Haze requirements are also beneficial in the State’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions. Since ozone and black carbon (soot) have an atmospheric warming effect, all efforts designed to reduce their concentrations in the atmosphere will also reduce their overall impact on climate change. In fact, since the atmospheric lifetime of ozone and black carbon are so much shorter than those of the long-lived GHG gases, days as opposed to years for CO2, methane and halocarbons, reductions in these short-lived species may prove to be of some importance in slowing global warming in the short term. Therefore, the numerous control measures already under consideration or being implemented by the State to address ozone and black carbon, such as diesel idling infrastructure alternatives (e.g., truck stop electrification), requiring ultra low sulfur heating oil and requiring VOC recovery at refineries, will also help the State exceed its shorter term 2020 GHG limit. More long term considerations to address criteria pollutants, such as encouraging more efficient trucks and promoting clean combustion woodburners, will go a long way towards creating a path for the State to attain its 2050 GH limit.”

That DEP Report was written 10 year ago and is based on science even older than that. That science has only become stronger over the last decade.

Secondly, the DEP SIP gives short shrift to the air quality impacts of energy efficiency.

I have very little technical background in this issue, but I decided to do a quick review of the proposal, for key issues I am somewhat aware of. Based on that cursory review, I submitted the below 5 comments. Here’s the story:

The Regional Haze SIP is required by the federal Clean Air Act: (DEP SIP, p.1)

The federal Clean Air Act sets a national goal to restore visibility to its natural conditions in many of the national parks, wilderness areas and memorial parks in the United States of America. New Jersey is home to one of these areas, the Brigantine Wilderness Area in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, hereafter called the Brigantine Wilderness Area. Section 169A of the Clean Air Act of 1977 sets the following national visibility goal:

“Congress hereby declares as a national goal the prevention of any future, and the remedying of any existing, impairment of visibility in mandatory Class I Federal areas which impairment results from man-made air pollution.” …

New Jersey is proposing a revision to the New Jersey State Implementation Plan (SIP) to establish long-term strategies and to set the 2028 reasonable progress goals for the Brigantine Wilderness Area. The purpose of the emission control strategies and the goals is to address New Jersey’s contribution to visibility impairment at Brigantine Wilderness Area. It is important to note that based on the analysis conducted by New Jersey and MANE-VU, New Jersey has determined that it does not significantly contribute to any Class I areas in any other state other than the Brigantine Wilderness Area in New Jersey.

This document outlines New Jersey’s long-term strategy (2018 to 2028) for dealing with visibility-impairing air pollution within its borders and from out-of-state sources that transport pollution to the Brigantine Wilderness Area.

I urge those more familiar with this issue to ask DEP why they extended the public comment period and whether the proposal can be strengthened, (as it was likely developed during the Christie DEP anti-regulatory days).

With that in mind and based on a cursory review, I submitted the following comments.There could be many additional issues, including implications for the Pinelands.

Greetings – I submit the below comments on the DEP’s proposed regional haze SIP:

1. Climate change

The proposal fails to address emissions of greenhouse gases which cause and contribute to global warming, ground level ozone, and regional haze.

Based on consensus atmospheric and climate science, one of the known impacts of global warming is an increase in ground level ozone and an increase in atmospheric moisture.

Based on consensus atmospheric and climate science, increases in ground level ozone, fine particulates, and atmospheric moisture are precursors to regional haze and reduce visibility.

Therefore, the proposal is deficient and must be withdrawn until the Department considers emissions of greenhouse gases and imposes control strategies to reduce those emissions (also see above excerpts of GWRA Report).

2. Energy Efficiency

The SIP states:

“This MANE-VU Ask requires that States consider and report in their SIPs on measures or programs to decrease energy demand using energy efficiency and increase the use within their state of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and other clean Distributed Generation technologies including fuel cells, wind, and solar.” (p. 28, emphasis added)

The proposal failed to evaluate fuel cells, wind, and solar.

Additionally, today, NJ Spotlight reported on a study:

https://www.njspotlight.com/2019/10/nj-makes-small-gains-in-energy-efficiency-but-is-no-longer-a-leader-among-states/

“New Jersey, once a leader in energy efficiency, inched forward, ranking 17th in the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, rising one place in the rankings.”

The SIP proposal is flawed because it did not address and report on the energy efficiency programs and haze control strategies documented in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy Report.

Despite these deficiencies, the proposal concludes that NJ is compliant with energy efficiency requirements.

“New Jersey has met the requirements for this Ask.” (page 29)

The DEP must analyze the air quality implications of distributed energy technologies and comprehensive energy efficiency and impose stricter regulation of those programs.

3. Prescribed Burns

The proposal states:

“Therefore, the MANE-VU Class I area states need additional help from the Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Land Managers in pursuing important reasonable emission control measures.30 These include, but are not limited to:

1. Federal Land Managers to consult with MANE-VU Class I area states when scheduling prescribed burns and ensure that these burns do not impact nearby IMPROVE visibility measurements and do not impact potential 20 percent most and least visibility impaired days;

The proposal is deficient in addressing prescribed burn impacts.

Accordingly the DEP should impose a moratorium on prescribed burns until impacts are assessed and regulatory control strategies in place.

4. Agricultural Burns

The proposal states:

New Jersey is required to consider smoke management techniques for the purposes of agricultural and forestry management in developing reasonable progress goals in accordance with 40 C.F.R. § 51.308(f)(2)(iv)(D). New Jersey addresses smoke management through its Open Burning rules, as follows:”

The DEP open burning rules are deficient because they do not assess or control agricultural burns.

The proposal does not adequately assess or impose control requirements for agricultural burns.

Accordingly the DEP should impose a moratorium on prescribed burns until impacts are assessed and regulatory control strategies in place.

5. Residential Wood Burning

The SIP proposal states:

“Fine particulate matter from wood smoke contributes to regional haze. Residential wood burning from woodstoves and fireplaces is one of the largest sources of direct fine particulate matter, PM2.5, emissions in New Jersey (emphasis added, p. 36)

Yet despite this finding, the DEP does not regulate residential wood burning and relies exclusively on public eduction:

New Jersey does not regulate wood stoves and fireplaces” (p. 36)

The proposal is deficient in this regard. It fails to adequately assess or impose control requirements on credential wood burning.

Accordingly the DEP should impose a moratorium on residential wood burning until impacts are assessed and regulatory control strategies in place – or equivalent emissions reductions can be achieved and demonstrated via regulation of other emission sources.

Sincerely,

Bill Wolfe

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Murphy DEP Urged To Close Regulatory Loopholes On Climate Change, Risk Assessment and Hazardous Air Pollutants

September 30th, 2019 No comments

The Murphy DEP will hold its quarterly meeting with major air polluters industrial group (PIG) this Friday, October 4, 2019.

Here is the Agenda for that meeting – note especially that RGGI and risk assessment are on the agenda.

I strongly encourage the public to attend and ask tough questions and not let this be just another opportunity for proliferation of the cancer of DEP regulatory capture by corporate polluters.

I’ve written about all these issues many times and been completely ignored by DEP, environmental groups and the media. Regardless, I again copied Jon Hurdle of NJ Spotlight in hopes of some coverage and Jeff Tittel of Sierra and Doug O’Malley of Environment NJ who work on climate and RGGI.

Below are some questions for the public to ask – in the likely event that DEP stonewalls, then the next step I am prepared to take and urge your support of is filing a formal petition for rule-making.

These petitions can be used to frame a campaign to put scientific, legal, and political heat on Governor Murphy and DEP Commissioner McCabe.

Dear Mr. Mackney: (@ Hank.Mackney@dep.nj.gov)

I am unable to attend the subject meeting, but assume that you have a public comment opportunity and therefore provide the following comments for consideration by the Department and ISG. The comments cover 3 topics of concern, the first 2 of which are on the meeting agenda:

1. RGGI

The Department should impose an administrative moratorium on implementation of any “offsets” in the RGGI program pending adoption of rules, standards, and technical guidance that are adequately protective, address known flaws in the offset mechanism and allocate adequate staff resources that provide effective regulatory oversight, enforcement, transparency, and public involvement.

Those flaws have been documented by, among others, recent academic research on the California offset program, see:

Managing Uncertainty in Carbon Offsets: Insights from California’s Standardized Approach (August 2019)
https://www-cdn.law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Managing-Uncertainty-in-Carbon-Offsets-SLS-Working-Paper.pdf

POLICY BRIEF: The California Air Resources Board’s US Forest offset protocol underestimates leakage
https://gspp.berkeley.edu/research/working-paper-series/policy-brief-arbas-us-forest-projects-offset-protocol-underestimates-leaka

I recently wrote about the findings of those studies here – including an MIT Technology Review piece:

New Research Shows Carbon Cap & Trade Program Is Fatally Flawed
http://www.wolfenotes.com/2019/09/new-research-shows-carbon-cap-trade-program-is-fatally-flawed/

Should the Department and ISG not support such a moratorium and regulatory reform effort, please advise, in which case I will submit a formal petition for rule making pursuant to the NJ Administrative Procedure Act.

2. Risk Assessment

The Department should impose an administrate moratorium on the issuance of air pollution control permits pending revisions to the Department’s current air pollution “acceptable risk” threshold and the current regulations, technical manuals, and guidance on risk assessment methods. Revisions must provide adequate protection of public health and implement a public health based “precautionary” policy.

Science and policy flaws in current regulations and Technical Manual on risk assessment (see: Technical Manual 1003 – Guidance on Preparing a Risk Assessment for Air Contaminant Emissions) include:

a) failure to consider the cumulative health risks and impacts of multiple pollution sources;
b) failure to consider the health risks and impacts of multiple pollutants;
c) failure to consider exposure by multiple pathways: air, water, soil, food, occupational;
d) failure to adequately consider health risks and impacts on sensitive receptors, like infants;
e) failure to consider actual ambient air pollution levels in the community (instead DEP limits the spatial consideration of the health risks and impacts at the facility “fence line”);
f) failure to require statistically valid characterization of baseline ambient air quality;
g) failure to advance a “precautionary” public health approach to scientific uncertainty;
h) failure to require safer alternatives, like pollution prevention and state of the art technology;
i) failure to phase out unacceptable hazards, like proposed perc phase out that was revoked
j) failure to consider disproportionate burdens on minority and/or disadvantaged communities;
k) failure to adequately inform and involve the community in permit reviews
l) failure to adopt health based ambient air quality standards for hazardous air pollutants;
m) failure to compile a state-wide database on total HAP emissions and ambient air quality;
n) failure to adequately regulate fugitive emissions and small sources of pollutants;
o) failure to make all of this transparent and understandable to the impacted public; and
p) failure to provide access and technical assistance to the public, while providing abundant assistance and access to polluters, including by the DEP Office of Permit Coordination, confidential pre-application conferences, unlimited and daily access to the DEP permit engineers, and frequent access to DEP managers.

I provided additional technical detail supporting these claims in my recent comments on the draft NuSTAR permit, see:

Murphy DEP Issuing Permits That Allow Industrial Polluters to Emit Millions Of Pounds Of Carcinogenic Hazardous Air Pollutants Without Adequate Consideration of Health Impacts or Community Involvement

http://www.wolfenotes.com/2019/08/murphy-dep-issuing-permits-that-allow-industrial-polluters-to-emit-millions-of-pounds-of-carcinogenic-hazardous-air-pollutants-without-adequate-consideration-of-health-impacts-or-community-involvement/

With respect to the cancer risk threshold, please see this:

NJ DEP’s Acceptable Air Pollution Cancer Risk Policy Is 1,000 Times Higher Than Drinking Water Risk
http://www.wolfenotes.com/2014/11/nj-deps-acceptable-air-pollution-cancer-risk-policy-is-1000-times-higher-than-drinking-water-risk/

Should the Department and ISG not support such a moratorium and regulatory reform effort, please advise, in which case I will submit a formal petition for rule making pursuant to the NJ Administrative Procedure Act.

3. Lack of regulations governing greenhouse gas emissions

The DEP currently lacks any regulations to mandate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Department should impose an administrative moratorium on issuance of any air pollution, water pollution and land use permits until comprehensive regulations are adopted that provide enforceable requirements that will achieve the GHG emission reduction goals of the Global Warming Response Act.

Should the Department and ISG not support such a moratorium and regulatory reform effort, please advise, in which case I will submit a formal petition for rule making pursuant to the NJ Administrative Procedure Act.

I appreciate your timely and supportive reply.

Bill Wolfe

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: