March 17, 2016
Some of New Jersey's top conservation leaders demonstrated unity and persistence Wednesday, in an effort to ensure improvements to flood rules that would protect the public. These leaders condemned the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (NJDEP) practice of holding "stakeholder meetings," comprised of NJDEP staff and private consultants, but restrict attendance to only a few conservation representatives selected by NJDEP!
This is a clear example of why Sam Pesin of Friends of Liberty State Park, and many others are refusing to participate in any so called NJDEP "stakeholder meeting" unless there will also be public hearings at Liberty State Park.
We believe that the public has a right to express their opinion on the record freely and the without the restrictions of a tightly manipulated process. We also believe that there should be a minimum 30-day comment period for people who cannot attend on the dates scheduled for any public hearing.
Click here for more details on the flood hazard stakeholder process to see what our colleagues did to challenge six years of Christie Administration stakeholder processes. To view the attendance sheet at the flood hazard stakeholders meeting,click here. (Note the overwhelming number of NJDEP representatives and the lack of environmental leaders.)
On behalf of Sam Pesin and myself, many thanks to our fine colleagues for their strong showing on behalf of the environment and the conservation community at large.
True Environmental Leaders and Heroes of the Day
Our colleagues Jennifer Coffey, ANJEC; Bill Kibler, Raritan Headwaters; Britta Wenzel, Save Barnegat Bay; Mike Pisauro, Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association; Beth Syler Barry, Musconetcong Watershed Association; Zach Lees, Clean Ocean Action; and Elliott Ruga, Highlands Coalition were all invited to the meeting, but walked out in protest because key colleagues including Debbie Mans, NY/NJ Baykeepe;, Capt. Bill Sheehan, Hackensack Riverkeeper; Dave Pringle, New Jersey Environmental Federation and Jeff Tittel, Sierra Club were shut out. Maya Van Rossum of Delaware Riverkeeper was invited, but was not allowed to send a representative to take her place.
If you haven't already done so, please sign the petition to save Liberty State Park here!