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Posts Tagged ‘DEP’

Managing Our State Forests

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
Cedar Swamp at Goshen Pond in Wharton State Forest

Cedar Swamp at Goshen Pond in Wharton State Forest

In our last blog post, we covered the ecological role of fire in the Pinelands and the use of prescribed burns as a management technique.  We know that prescribed burns are not the only management technique used in our forest, so how do we try to replicate natural disturbance events to promote overall ecological integrity and what should we prioritize in developing stewardship plans for managing our state forests? (more…)

Balancing Use and Protection of Public Lands

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016
Tuckahoe Lake at Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area

Tuckahoe Lake at Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area. © Michael Hogan

The Pinelands Preservation Alliance supports and promotes the use of our state forests, parks, and fish and wildlife lands if done so in a responsible manner.  We also advocate for the preservation of lands specifically for wildlife and untouched by human disturbance.  Maintaining a balance between the two is always difficult, and we don’t claim to have all the answers.  What we hope to do is have an honest and open dialogue among public agencies, private entities and individuals so that we can reach a common ground.

This blog is our way of having this dialogue on a weekly basis.  We will share stories of problems, highlight successes, promote opportunities and ask that those who follow this blog do the same.  The end of 2015 highlighted the need for a continued dialogue about the balance between preservation and recreation.  The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) plays a major role in this effort and has taken action to reduce the impact of off-road recreation in some wildlife management areas. (more…)

Gov-Elect Chris Christie’s Environmental Platform

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

by Carleton Montgomery, Executive Director

Is he for the environment or against it? Or will he try to split the baby – doing something here to please industry, something there to please conservationists?  Or will he just muddle along doing neither much harm nor much good for the environment? It’s impossible to say right now, but there are early grounds to be optimistic – and also grounds to be cautious.

Mr. Christie’ s environmental platform posted on his campaign web site is our principal grounds for optimism.  You can read the platform in Acrobat format by clicking here. Here are some highlights from the Christie election platform on the environment:

  • “Establish long-term funding source of open space.” In his platform, Mr. Christie says he will seek a constitutional amendment to dedicate a portion of the sale tax to open space preservation – though he does not say how much.
  • “Increase the number of acres annually preserved … especially in the Highlands and Pinelands.” The specific reference to the Pinelands may mean he sees the Pinelands as a region in which environmental protection should be the paramount public policy goal.
  • “Restor[e]… Barnegat Bay” by finding “a better way to control the nitrogen and phosphorous poisoning of the Barnegat Bay.” This statement suggests he understands that Barnegat Bay is in trouble, and new approaches are needed to stem the flow of nutrients into the Bay. We need to be cautious, though, because the platform does not suggest the new governor will support the kinds of dramatic new approaches that are really needed. So long as the Bay’s watershed continues to be covered with haphazard, sprawling residential subdivisions, then good measures like fertilizer control rules will be overwhelmed by the added contaminants that come with more lawns, roofs and roads.
  • “Implement strategies for better cooling systems at Oyster Creek and Salem” nuclear power plants. The current system kills billions of aquatic organisms and heats the water, and it seems pretty clear that the only way to improve the system is to move to cooling towers. But the platform doesn’t say he will try to require towers, so we don’t know what it really means.
  • “Empower the rank and file” staff at DEP, “remove political considerations” from DEP permitting and regulatory actions, and “improve the scientific basis of regulatory decisions.” We can certainly point to cases where political pressures led state agencies to make bad decisions for the environment, so providing this kind of leadership for DEP and other agencies could be very positive. The problem is that it’s hard to see how the stated view squares with other things he has said attacking DEP for harming business with excessive rules.

And our grounds for worry?  Mr. Christie says he will remove regulatory burdens from business, reform DEP, drastically cut the state budget, and place a temporary moratorium on new environmental regulations. In the past, this kind of language from politicians usually meant removing environmental rules on construction and disabling state environmental agencies from doing their jobs – favoring one industry at the expense of other social goals and economic sectors that depend on a healthy environment.

But Chris Christie says he is going to be a different kind of politician. We’re here to help him do well by the Pinelands – and let you know if he doesn’t.