After Being Exposed Nationally, WalMart Slashes NJ Greenwash Funding

October 13th, 2014 No comments

Did The “Eco-Goats” Break the Camel’s Back?

We are pleased to report that WalMart – one of the world’s most environmentally unsustainable corporations that is hostile to labor and local merchants – has dramatically slashed funding for NJ based greenscam promotions.

PEER criticized WalMart funding in this national report last year:

GREEN-WASHING NEW JERSEY STYLE - Wal-Mart Funds Christie-Touted “Sustainability” Plan as Green Programs Gutted

Here at Wolfenotes, we blasted WalMart and Sustainable NJ in multiple posts, and called on NJ’s environmental leaders to repudiate those tactics and refuse WalMart funding:

Our source tells us that Walmart refused to fund the Sustainable NJ Small Grants Program this year and dramatically reduced other funding to Sustainable NJ by 66%, slashing a $450,000 contribution to just $150,000.

We are pleased to take some credit for this.

We repeat our challenge to SNJ and NJ environmental leaders to repudiate WalMart funding and greenscam tactics.

Let’s hope that next year that that funding goes to zero.

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People’s Climate Collapse? What Is Wrong With The NJ Environmental Community? A Wake Up Call

October 11th, 2014 No comments

Weeks after The People’s Climate March, the most aggressive climate bill ever heard in NJ is ignored

Focus on fundraising, feel good gestures, & destructive diversions

A Tale of Milkweed, Mitigation, and Money

On September 21, 2014, I joined over 300,000 people in New York for the People’s Climate March.

Prior to the march, astute critics had raised strategic questions about how the march was organized. I must say that I sympathized with those arguments, but attended anyway.

Regardless, I’m sure tens of thousands of the marchers were from NJ.

NJ environmental groups did great organizing work to promote the march and turned out their memberships.

The march was well covered in virtually all NJ press.

But, when the march was over, what happened?

Was all that people power and enthusiasm and street heat organized and translated and channeled into meaningful action?

Was the press corps given impetus to write more aggressive climate stories?

Were the fossil corporations and their lobbyists running scared?

Were regulators and legislators emboldened and given cover to resist corporate lobbying?

Tragically, the first test of those questions reveals a big and across the board NO!

Let me explain.

On Thursday October 9, the Senate Environment Committee considered the most important climate change legislation since the 2007 Global Warming Response Act (GWRA).

But contrary to the GWRA, this bill had teeth (see S2444) and would establish the most aggressive and enforceable renewable energy requirements in the world. 

The bill would mandate that 80% of NJ’s electric energy be provided by renewable sources by 2050, along a pathway defined by mandatory annual milestones along the way to that 2050 goal.

Current voluntary off shore wind goal of 1,100 megawatts would be quadrupled to 4,500 and made mandatory. Solar capacity would be radically ramped up to almost 14% of total electric sold in the state by 2030.

By doing so, the bill would radically transform the electric power sector, provide huge real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and serve as a national model.

So, what happened? Listen to the hearing here yourself.

Environmentalists, for the most part, didn’t even show up. Sierra Club and NJ Environmental Federation were the only groups to testify on the bill – all the others were AWOL, even though I saw some environmental lobbyists in the legislative annex building.

Guess they were too busy with the new environmental activism, which means  (and this is a real list of well publicized events, rattled off the top of my head, in just the last month or so – you can’t make this stuff up):

planting milkweed; keeping NJ highway medians safe for pretty flowers; writing corporate Foundation grant applications; hosting fundraisers; burning and logging forests; planting bushes alongside electric powerlines and gas pipelines; meeting with Corporate Stewardship Councils; taking Walmart and energy company grants; buying expensive “eco-goats”; writing propaganda Op-Eds promoting theft of billions of dollars of environmental funds; selling sustainable rain barrels and compact fluorescent bulbs; holding road rally’s with highly polluting cars; conducting cultural carnivals; planting flowers at the local shopping center hardware stores; pubcrawls; expensive eco-tours; seafood  festivals; picking up litter; certifying voluntary local feel good measures; promoting state funded greenscam projects (e.g. beach replenishment for birds, dredge spoil disposal in wetlands, and stormwater detention basins in Barnegat Bay)  in exchange for State DEP and federal grants……….

I could go on, but I won’t – and all the organizations out there know exactly who you are, I don’t have to name names here.

The environmentalists that did show up gave tepid support or weak testimony that had no effect on legislators and was dismissed by press. They almost seemed afraid to mention the phrase “climate change”.

BPU Ratepayer Advocate (AKA “Dr. No”) continued the drumbeat on their singular and narrow focus – which lacks economic credibility- on the alleged high costs and ratepayer burdens, while ignoring the climate crisis, the social costs of carbon, along with the benefits and avoided costs of renewables.

The media didn’t even show up – the only story was a pile of one sided energy industry dominated propaganda.

The industry lobbyists did not flinch from making the most reactionary, false, and misleading fossil fuel arguments, including lies about renewable power and the situation in Germany.

[Update: In another bill heard (see S2420 [1R]), solar advocates had to beg to request an increase of the current 2.5% cap on net metering to just 4% of commercial electric sales. Most NJ solar is from net metered projects. That groveling by the solar industry itself showed the absolute veto power the utilities have over real expansion of renewables. Current law allows the utilities to petition BPU to prohibit ANY ADDITIONAL RENEWABLES generating power to the grid that exceed the cap. Imagine that. Utilities have almost veto power over market entry to eliminate competition from even CHEAPER renewables. That is absurd. Yet NO ONE even questioned why utilities and BPU should have this power or why there should even be any cap. So called Ratepayer advocate had nothing to say about this anti-competitive costly monopoly abuse.

In another amazingly revealing example, Chairman Smith pointed to the millions of square feet of warehouse rooftops that could be solar powered. As each industry witnesses testified, Smith demanded to know WHY there was no solar on those warehouse rooftops. Finally, Fred DeSanti, a solar lobbyists, had the balls to tell him because the 2012 Solar Act that Smith himself sponsored puts strict caps on the amount of installed solar. The NJ legislators – preferring “stability” in the solar market which relies os SREC’s  over rapid and significant expansion of solar capacity –  imposed strict caps on the amount of solar that can be installed! Holy moly! Legislation is blocking the expansion of solar! And is was Smith’s own bill that was blocking warehouse rooftop solar!end update]

The legislators were cowed (e.g. before there day was even over, the bill’s co-sponsor Senator Smith was running away from there in-state local content requirements, a key to a NJ job creation strategy.)

And there was not one – not one – mention of the People’s Climate March as changing anything.

So tell me, please, what the fuck is wrong with the NJ Envrionmental Community?

If the renewable energy bill is ever reposted for another hearing, there needs to be a rally with 5,000 people on the State House steps before the hearing.

[PS - I must admit that I stole the main portion of my headline from this superb NJ Spotlight article: What's Wrong with Chris Christie's Government?]

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US EPA Inquiry Prompts DEP Enforcement To Shut Down Illegal Dredging Of Wanaque River in Pompton Lakes

October 10th, 2014 No comments

Dredged Sediments Disposed Along Hershfield Park River Banks

Pompton Lakes Ordered to Stop Un-permitted Dredging & Disposal

Wanaque River along Hershfield Park, Pomtpon Lakes NJ (Source: Ed Meakem)

Wanaque River along Hershfield Park, Pomtpon Lakes NJ (Source: Ed Meakem)

They have been mutilating acres and acres of T&E habitat, dredging illegally  – all in total violation of their permit. ~~~ Ross Kushner, Pequannock River Coalition

[Updates below]

Ed Meakem, my friend and former Councilman in Pompton Lakes, sent me some amazing photos on Tuesday of what looked like a mismanaged or illegal dredging and disposal operation in the Wanaque River and along the banks in Hershfield Park (see above and below).

It reminded me of the Bull’s Islands fiasco along the Delaware River a few years back.

Source: Ed Meakem

Source: Ed Meakem

So I immediately referred the matter to US EPA Region 2 and requested that they conduct an inspection and take appropriate enforcement action.

I was very disturbed by EPA’s initial rapid reply  later that afternoon of Oct. 7 – EPA wrote:

On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs) from the Superfund Program in Edison, NJ called the Borough of Pompton Lakes and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) regarding the excavating in the Lake in Hershfield Park.

Mr. Kevin Boyle, Pompton Lakes Borough Administrator, explained to the OSC that the dredging work is part of a river control project for the Wanaque River in conjunction with the NJDEP under a $250,000 NJDEP grant.  The project encompasses Pompton Lakes, Riverdale and Pequannock Townships, and Pompton Lakes is the lead agency for the project.

A NJDEP permit for the work has been granted (NJDEP is the permit holder) and the NJDEP contacts are John Moyle and John Ritchey with the Bureau of Dam Safety and Flood Control.  NJDEP had an inspector at the Site last week to check that proper sediment control measures are being taken and ensure the protection of the endangered species and the ecosystem.

Mr. Boyle also informed the OSC that all information regarding this project is public and that a public meeting had been held.  The project was approved by the Towns involved.  Mr. Boyle invited anyone interested about the project to call him at 973-835-0143 x239 (or the Borough Engineer) for more information.

So I immediately challenged EPA’s handing of the matter – I wrote:

Thanks for your response George, but let me clarify this:

Just because the project has been issued an NJDEP permit, you will not take followup site inspection and enforcement action?

Am I getting this right?

You saw those photos – how could that dredging and disposal be in compliance with a NPDES permit?

And if it were, how could that permit possibly be legally valid?

BTW, that is not a lake, but a portion of the Wanaque River. Please advise.

But I am pleased now to note that, last night, EPA advised that their initial inquiry relied on inaccurate information, and that in fact, the dredging and disposal operation are not permitted by DEP. EPA wrote:

Good Evening Mr. Wolfe,

Following your complaint on the afternoon of October 7, the EPA forwarded your complaint concerning dredging work in the Pequannock River in Pompton Lakes, NJ, to the NJDEP.  The NJDEP indicated to the EPA that Pompton Lakes believed they were working under a permit issued by NJDEP which my response to you below was based on.

Late this afternoon we were informed that while Pompton Lakes is working in the same general area, the NJDEP does not believe that this particular location was approved for dredging.  The NJDEP Division of Land Use Regulation is in the process of reviewing the permit file.  In the meantime, Pompton Lakes has instructed its contractor to stop work and stabilize the area.  It is EPA’s understanding that a meeting will be held shortly between Pompton Lakes and the NJDEP permitting group to discuss the need for this activity, and if necessary, permit options.

Have a nice evening,

George

We will try to get more information on the permit and enforcement issues and justifications for this project.

We are particularly interested in whether samples were taken of the dredged sediments and what the results of that sampling are.

But in the meantime, at a minimum, it looks like Pompton Lakes Borough Administrator, the contractor, and DEP have some explaining to do.

Let’s hope that the media holds them accountable.

[Update #1: Watch the Pompton Lakes Boro engineer spin in response to residents' questions. Note how his story conflicts with EPA's above.]

[Update #2 -10/13/14 - Ross Kushner of the Pequannock River Coalition has been working on this for some time. Ross sent me this photo and note:

Source: Ros Kusher, PRC - date and location unknown

Source: Ross Kusher, PRC – date and location unknown

Bill,

I have been complaining about Pompton Lake’s river work for over a year. They have been mutilating acres and acres of T&E habitat, dredging illegally  – all in total violation of their permit.

The DEP flat out refuses to do anything about it (see email below).  Worse, the NJ environmental community has turned a blind eye to it, despite my repeated requests for help. Like the Ringwood superfund problems, nobody but me seems to give a crap. VERY frustrating.

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Head of NJ LCV Attacks DEP – Op-Ed Smears Critics of Open Space Diversion

October 9th, 2014 No comments

 

Unfortunately, rather than spending their time protecting New Jersey’s environment, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and its surrogates are spreading misinformation about Public Question 2, the best and only opportunity to ensure stable funding for the now-depleted Green Acres, Blue Acres, farmland, and historic preservation programs. ~~~ Ed Potosnak, NJ LCV

Finally, not only is the debate engaged, but the mask if off, showing the ugly face of the proponents of open space.

Ed Potosnak, executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters (NJ LCV) has an op-ed in today’s NJ Spotlight in support of the Open Space ballot question:

I’ll be damned if I’ll sit back and stand for the absolute load of drivel he spews.

Mr. Potosnak’s hit piece is so false and so vile, it forces me to expose the misleading assertions, historical revisionism, smears, innuendo, and outright lies in that piece – lies of both commission and omission.

Because Potosnak is a political hack that lacks subject matter experience, expertise, or training on the issues he writes about, we can only assume that behind the scenes leaders from other conservation organizations – members of the LCV Board  and those that created NJ LCV – are Potosnak’s puppeteers.  We challenge them to come forward and take their masks off as well, lest they too have their reputations tarred by Potosnak’s filthy smear.

[Context: A reader correctly notes that LCV failed to endorse Senator Barbara Buono for Gov. in 2013, despite her being a longstanding champion of environmental and public health protections. Compounding that failure, LCV witheld criticism and gave Christie cover for his failure to honor his 2009 campaign pledge to secure a dedicated open space funding source, gave him cover for his horrible environmental record, and gave him cover for vetoing new taxes or revenues or new debt to fund open space, thus forcing this horrid rob Peter to pay Paul scheme.]

Lies of Commission

  • spreading misinformation

Exhibiting classic cowardly smear tactics, Potosnak accuses un-named DEP officials and their “surrogates” for spreading un-specified “misinformation” in unspecified ways.

The “misinformation” spread by DEP that Potosnak appears to be referring to are:

1) remarks by DEP Assistant Commissioner Dan Kennedy which were quoted in an October 1 NJ Spotlight Op-Ed:  BALLOT QUESTION TO PRESERVE OPEN SPACE COULD HURT MORE THAN IT HELPS and

2) an anonymous DEP staffer’s personal email, written on personal time, from their personal home computer that I posted (*thanks to Scott Olson).

So, let’s take those claims one by one.

First, Kennedy basically is quoted as saying the ballot measure would severely cut current funding for groundwater, surface water and water-quality regulation and toxic site cleanup programs, resulting in 250 layoffs. On top of that, another 100 layoffs would occur in the site remediation program.

I personally contacted and confirmed the quotes with Kennedy – he told me he had read the piece and that he was accurately quoted in the Spotlight Op-Ed.

Kennedy is a professional planner with many years of government and public service. His is a man of unquestioned and highest integrity. And he has a lot more information than Potosnak does.

Without even the courage to cite the claim, Potosnak just smeared Kennedy for “spreading misinformation”.

Second, the anonymous DEP staffer went out of their way to explain that they wrote the email on their own time, not DEP time. They wrote:

I obviously am sending this on my personal time, from my personal email account, from my personal computer, from my own home! It’s my personal opinion! 

Yet Potosnak smeared the DEP staffer with this lie, which obviously implies that the DEP email was written on work time (i.e “rather than spending time protecting NJ’s environment”):

Unfortunately, rather than spending their time protecting New Jersey’s environment, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and its surrogates are spreading misinformation about Public Question 2, 

But Potosnak does not stop with attacks on nameless DEP employees – he also attacks and smears again un-named “DEP surrogates”.

So, who could these un-named DEP surrogates be?

Given the recent criticism of the Open Space ballot reported in the NJ press just prior to Potosnak’s Op-Ed, that could only be three people: 1) former NJ Senator and head of NJ Policy Perspective Gordon MacInnes who wrote this Op-Ed: Vote No On Open Space Referendum;, 2) well known energy and environmental lawyer Bill Potter, and 3) myself. (see Bob Jordan’s story in the Asbury Park Press that quotes MacInnes and myself: Environmentalists Split on Open Space Referrendum)

Potosnak just smeared a well regarded former state Senator and tireless public interest advocate as a “surrogate” of DEP.

The same holds for Bill Potter.

And does anyone think I am a DEP surrogate? Since 1994, I have been the most prominent and persistent critic of DEP.

  • DEP salaries

Potosnak criticizes DEP for using Constitutionally dedicated funds for DEP salaries:

The current corporate business tax (CBT) funding formula is out of date and being misused by the NJDEP to cover salaries. The constitution is not the best place to dedicate salaries and Question 2 fixes an endemic problem, putting more revenue into projects throughout the state that preserve our land and safeguard our clean water.

Its hard to know where to start on this idiocy. Potosnak has no idea what he is talking about.

DEP staff are the people who implement and enforce our environmental laws and actually work to protect public health; air and water quality; natural resources; wetlands, and open space.

I began my career at DEP in 1985. Since then, virtually all environmental and conservation groups have supported and defended DEP budgets, which include salaries for DEP staff, and opposed DEP budget cuts. The entire community consistently fought for adequate funding to implement environmental programs.

In response to diversions of $500 million of environmental money by the Florio and Whitman administrations, exacerbated by deep budget cuts at DEP by Whitman, in 1996, as a result of a community-wide campaign, the first CBT dedication was established, see Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 6 of the State Constitution

I led this effort – There was never any disagreement about the need to support DEP funding, including staff salaries. There was never any attempt to rob Peter to pay Paul.

Potosnak now changes all that history and attacks DEP staff funding.

Will his LCV Board members and member groups back him in that outrageous attack on DEP as an institution, complete misunderstanding of how environmental programs are implemented, personal smears, and warped historical revisionisms?

Does Potosnak think the corporations, land developers, chemical industry, oil & gas industry, and the water and sewer authorities magically just do the right thing without DEP oversight? DEP regulations? DEP science? DEP inspectors?

The current CBT dedication provided $103 million to DEP in the FY 2015 budget (DEP section starts on page D-105).

Since 1996, 4% of the revenue annually derived from the tax imposed by the Corporation Business Tax Act (P.L.1945, c.162) has been dedicated to the Department. A portion of this dedication has been used for the following purposes: watershed-based water resource planning and management, financing the cost of water quality point and nonpoint source pollution monitoring, nonpoint source pollution prevention projects, Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development and implementation, as well as lake restoration and grants. Conducts planning on watershed management, water quality, water supply, coastal zone management, nonpoint source control, stormwater management, and other planning requirements associated with the federal Clean Water Act and the New Jersey Water Quality Planning Act. Also administers the National Estuary Program and federal Section 604(b) water quality management planning.

Here is how the current CBT funds are allocated among DEP programs (all of these will be cut under the Open Spsce Ballot diversion):

  • $16 million goes to science and technical programs (water supply, science support, & land use regulation)
  • $53 million goes to site remediation and waste management
  • $18.1 million to environmental regulation
  • $16 million to natural resource management (development and conservation of recreational lands)

DEP salaries were always authorized by the 4% CBT dedication – besides, the Legislature approves the budget, not DEP. So they are responsible for use of CBT funds for DEP salaries that Potosnak complains about. How can someone who is supposed to be a lobbyist not understand the budget?

  • making shit up about public health protection

With absolutely no supporting facts or logical connection, and in direct contradiction to what the Ballot question would actually do, Potosnak makes this outrageously false claim:

Additionally, passage of Question 2 will help improve public health by reducing our exposure to cancer-causing chemicals and pollutants.

How is that going to occur, Ed? How does purchase of open space REDUCE CURRENT EXPOSURE to cancer causing chemicals?

Actually, the Ballot question would SLASH funding for toxic site cleanup and water quality programs, and thereby INCREASE risks of exposure to toxic chemicals by reducing DEP science and regulatory oversight of toxic cleanups and water pollution, with this punishment to boot:

The proposed constitutional amendment also would no longer dedicate any funding to pay for administrative costs associated with the State’s hazardous substance discharge cleanup program.

How about we prohibit any administrative costs or funds distributed to private conservation groups?

Yes, open space can prevent future new exposures to cancer causing chemicals by limiting development.

But unless the money is spent on buying toxic sites to block development and clean them up, that claim is absurd and an Orwellian lie.

  • spinning the benefits with no mention of the costs

Here’s where Potosnak strays into lies of omission.

He just fails to mention that the Ballot would divert existing revenue.

Ironically highlighting the need for the voters to have facts, notice how he only mentions support of various groups, without any real facts of how the Ballot would divert existing environmental funds:

New Jersey voters need to know the facts, including that Public Question 2 is supported by the state’s leading environmental and preservation organizations, including the NJ League of Conservation Voters, the NJ Sierra Club, and the more than 185 conservation, agricultural, and historic preservation groups that make up NJ Keep It Green. That should speak volumes to voters concerned about protecting New Jersey’s land and water.

Seventy-one percent of the dedicated funds will be allocated to Green Acres, Blue Acres, farmland and historic preservation, and the remainder to DEP programs currently funded through the CBT including watershed management, brownfields, underground storage tank removal, and public cleanups of polluted sites.

However, funding levels will grow over time when the percentage increases in 2019, and as corporate business tax revenues grow.

While I disagree with their endorsement, at least Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club admits that there would be diversions of existing finds and recognizes the need to fight to restore them in next year’s budget (see Bob Jordan’s APP story).

You want facts, Ed?

Let voters read the OLS Fiscal Note, which clearly presents the diversions of exiting environmental money. These are CUTS – not INCREASES – even with the increase of CBT revenues from 4% to 6%.

LOOK, Ed, just look at the numbers, from OLS:

cbt $

This post is getting too long and rambling – I close it up now and  will finish part II tomorrow.

There are many other things Postosnak says that are either untrue or misleading and I need to point them all out, very precisely and explain exactly why they are false, with links to the evidence.

I want especially to explain why diverting the current $32 million dedicated to State Parks and pooling that into a $70+ million Open Space fund of competing uses would severely shortchange parks funding.

There are also many other things Potosnak fails to mention, including the fact that the new “stewardship” funds he touts can be used for projects that include commercial logging and herbicide & pesticide application on State lands. He elides the controversial debate on the “Forest Stewardship” bill.

Potosnak also conveniently fails to mention the huge – and undisclosed – conflicts of interests his member groups have.

NJ LCV member groups would economically benefit from the Open Space and stewardship funds they support.

Failure to discloses that interest is a deeply unethical way to roll.

And the mask comes off when people begin to discuss all that.

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Open Space Debate Finally Emerges

October 8th, 2014 No comments

Environmentalists split on open space referendum

Bob Jordan of the Asbury Park Press has written the first serious story about the real debate on the November Open Space Ballot question, see:

That debate – which should have occurred during the legislative process – has been blocked by the well financed spin and flat out lies of supporters of the initiative, as I’ve written about several times now e.g.most recently see:

So I am pleased and it is encouraging that facts and real debate are starting to emerge.

It is highly significant that prominent and well respected public figures like former NJ Senator Gordon MacInness, head of NJ Policy Perspective, and former public advocate and well known lawyer Bill Potter have written eloquent Op-eds recently urging voters to oppose the measure.

I must admit, before this recent round of honest debate, I was beginning to feel like the last man standing.

So, given all that, I am going to take an unusual step and print the entire Bob Jordan story  here, and let readers decide who is credible and who is spinning:

Opposition to a statewide open space referendum in November is coming from an unlikely source – environmentalists. Critics say the measure on the Nov. 4 ballot diverts money from corporate taxes away from other environmental initiatives, such as clean water programs and hazardous waste cleanups. But environmentalists on both sides of the issue agree that defeat of the public question could doom future funding of the open space program.

TRENTON – Opposition to a statewide open space referendum in November is coming from an unlikely source – environmentalists.

New Jersey voters in less than a month will be asked to approve dedicating up to $4 billion of corporate taxes over the next 30 years to the preservation of open space.

Critics say the measure on the Nov. 4 ballot diverts money from corporate taxes away from other environmental initiatives, such as clean water programs and hazardous waste cleanups.

But environmentalists on both sides of the issue agree that defeat of the public question could doom future funding of the open space program.

“My advice to the voters of New Jersey is to vote no, but I realize we’re in a lose-lose situation, because nobody will ever put together another bond question in the future,’’ Bill Wolfe, director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said Wednesday.

Wolfe said the measure will “devastate existing bread and butter environmental programs’’ but Jeff Tittel, state director of the Sierra Club, said Wolfe and other critics are overstating the impact.

Tittel said his group will push for the state to replace any money that’s diverted from “essential environmental programs.’’

“People are criticizing this dedication but you didn’t hear from them until after the fact. This is the ballot question we have. It is up to all of us to work together and pass it whether you like it or not, because losing will cause bigger harm to the environment,’’ Tittel said.

There is also opposition from the conservative group Americans For Prosperity, which in a statement after the Legislature approved putting the question on the ballot called the move “out of touch with the realities of our current fiscal crisis and unfunded liabilities.’’

Gordon MacInnes, a former lawmaker who is head of the liberal New Jersey Policy Perspective group, in an op-ed in the Asbury Park Press this week said the ballot proposal is among New Jersey’s “financing gimmicks’’ and should be defeated.

MacInnes in an interview said defeat wouldn’t necessarily mean an end to future funding of preservation programs. He pointed to similar ballot questions since they were first offered in 1961 — all 13 questions were approved.

“I think people understand the need for open space preservation in the most densely populated state and I believe there is no reason to believe that view would be changed if this one didn’t pass,’’ MacInnes said. “The bigger issue is that the Legislature should have asked voters to approve borrowing through a bond issue rather than diverting money, a tactic we are seeing too often and is politically easy for lawmakers.’’

Bob Jordan 609-984-4343, bjordan@app.com

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