Archive for the ‘Politicians’ Category
Long ago, I chronicled the Blizzard of ‘78, from my Princeton house on Braeburn, off Snowden. A year later, the Packet published the entire journal, with pages of professional photographs of that crippling storm. Our girls accepted the fact of its seriousness when the word came that QBM (Quaker Bridge Mall) was closed. Adults did same when they heard that IBM was…
Here, I chronicle officials’ translation of the storm out my windows above Canal Road, near Rocky Hill. Iconic phrases and images unfurl, and I have to stop my professional writing to get this down. Never did I expect to become a stormwitness anew, on a blog. Also, for the Packet.
Oddest of all, with two storms causing this weekend’s ordeals, and another ‘in the wings’, not one reporter in all these hours mentioned the word ‘climate,’ let alone ‘climate change’, let alone carbon dioxide, carbon footprint, carbon emissions, glacial melt… Nor any of the wise and courageous scientists who’ve been telling us for decades that this scenario is inevitable. How they love to blame it all on Mother Nature!
What one reporter dubbed, “A Winter Wallop - gonna be a Big One”, started here in the dark of Friday.
It all began as ‘snrain’, barely visible, yet palpable, before first light. ‘Our’ blizzard wasn’t ‘due’ until 3 p.m., but no one told the storm gods. Even though I could not see whatever was falling, it was dropping clumps on the paving stones like the sticky Lux flakes my mother used to use for hand-washing.
Our weekend forecast — emphasis on END — has gone from 38 and partly cloudy to rain to wintry mix to 9 inches before Saturday is over. With these words, my excursions to havens are systematically cancelled.
There is still no visible snowfall. Yet, in this dusk-like dawn, streaks spurt past, white and fast as comets.
[I'm reading about Yellowstone in Audubon: "There are things you learn, riding the bus between wolf sightings." It's been a long time between wolf-sightings. This hideous forest beside which I dwell, this former healthy woodland destroyed by Mr. and Mrs. McMansion next door, would be bearable, if there were wolf sightings, or even coyote. But it's too narrow, too deep, too studded with invasives, offering no appeal to predators nor prey, repelling me. I try on different names for it, The Ugly Forest, Ruination Woods. Can a super snow storm gild this pitiful lily?]
All light is sucked out of the world now — not only the woods blurred, but also sky, the very ground itself. Its as though my windows have cataracts.
At least when it blows and is this far below freezing, Trap Rock cannot burn asphalt, searing and closing my lungs, enlarging my heart, as Solstice X-ray revealed, to my terror.
Audubon writes of “a shape-shifting flock” of wolves. This is a shape-shifting storm.
Now I can see ‘flakes’ - but they’re more like shards and fragments, something left over from diamond-grinding. If the New England adage is true: “Little Snow: Big Snow; Big Snow: Little Snow”, we are IN for it. In other words, when a New England snowstorm starts with minuscule flakes, the storm itself will be enormous.
Geese on high, invisible, not frantic — peaceful regular ‘barks.’
It’s 25 and grim, 70% humidity. When I’m outdoors, whatever’s falling feels like rain on my face and hands.
Well, so much for forecast. While boiling eggs in case of power outage, I turn on Local on the 8’s to learn we could now receive 10″ on the day that was s’posed to be partly cloudy and mid-thirties and WE were going for our first post-Sandy exploration of Island Beach. Not in a Nor’easter…
The officials, despite that “ten inches”, insist we are having rain in Somerset/Somerville. OK, rain that sounds like thousands of popcorn kernels dropping on this hill, hissing and dropping.
In the Boston area, this storm sounds like it could be worse than the Blizzard of ‘78, which was always my benchmark, and seems to have become so, now, in official parlance.
Locals still insist ours here is rain and 34 or 35 - when it’s below thirty and rattling. On the deck, this NOT- rain is bouncing back up.
Now we’re hearing of travel bans in Boston, and Jim Cantore and Al Roker are on Boston Commons. Not for a bird walk, not for a swan ride, not even to jog or write or hear poetry. To be battered by winter’s worst.
Mayor Bloomberg is on in Manhattan, telling people to “Stay home, cook dinner, read a good book.” This gets translated later by commentators into everything from “read a book” (evidently doesn’t have to be good) and “order takeout.”
Worst of the Bloomberg exchanges is insistence that “there are no problems with gasoline.” I have this same note in my Sandy journal, from mayors and governors, insisting! And in Princeton, I came home on the heels of Sandy to gas lines spilling for blocks onto highways, police with red lights flashing monitoring our local gas stations! Within the hour of Bloomberg’s reassurance, with this snowstorm, there are gas problems on Long Island.
Now, whatever is coming down out my front door sounds like a really violent sandstorm, pelting against the building, against glass, fizzing through evergreens. Relentless, ceaseless.
I”ve been working on the book on Stuart Country Day School’s 50 years, relentless and ceaseless myself. I squint out windows to figure out what’s really happening.
Leaving the computer, I hear a television reporter speak of “sleet stinging my face.” Another describes rising wind and cold as “stinging to the bone.” Our local officials still call it rain.
There’s something worse to me than precipitation during storms. It’s the ruination of the English language. It’s being called ‘guys’ every few minutes. It’s having reporters in the field on all stations say “Back to you guys in the studio,” when it’s two women in dresses too tight and too short, decrying their professional status as scientists, as meteorologists, and most definitely not GUYS! The other ordeal is having to absorb the new redundities. Chefs tell us to ‘reduce down’. Snow monitor speaks of “eroding away.” “Gather together, cobble together” set my teeth on edge. [Re weather today, the two storms,] Everything merges together.” Normally, I can avoid these desecrations, but not during storms. Latest — “We’ll return you back.”
I learn what I should know, “the lighter the snow, the higher the snowfall amounts.” The usual 10 - 1 ratios of rain to snow are off in this one, because whatever’s falling wherever is very very wet and heavy. “More like 1 to 3″, says the expert. Being innumerate, this is only of passing interest to me.
I have a friend who’s a self-admitted “connoisseur of snowflakes”, and nothing has fallen yet that is worthy of him.
“Already we can’t see down to the blacktop,” a girl in a puffy parka somewhere near Long Island observes; “and we still have two hours to go.” That means to the official beginning - ours still being 3 p.m., tho pelting since before purported sunrise.
One of my favorite phrases in this storm is “Waiting for the Wind.” Actually, I don’t want wind, because of all the tall trees, conifers and deciduous, in which this dwelling is set. We lost five big ones to Sandy, and there are trees beyond counting out there that could fall in any direction.
Now Governors and Mayors repeat each other’s theme song, “STAY HOME.” Christie, about whom I shall say nothing not storm-related, commands, “Do everything slowly. Be smart and be safe. Watch this storm but don’t get into the middle of it. STAY HOME.” But he does not order actions nor inactions of ordinary citizens.
Connecticut roads are about to shut down. In Bedford, L.I., “We’ve hardly seen any cars here.” “Storm isn’t the problem, outages are.” This reporter already measures 4 inches. Later she will lose her yardstick down a snow-hidden open drain.
Another favorite line: “Ya know it’s gonna be bad when the coffee shop closes.”
Our report remains, “Cloudy. Periods of rain. A few snow showers. Mid-30’s” My noisy outdoor conditions remain, including thermometer resolutely below 30 since pre-dawn.
Officials outside report, “Icy pellets coming down. Not seeing many on roads. A lot of slush” Rye, N.Y.
One daft reporter: “Transportation may become an issue.”
“Snow is coming down harder and icier. It’s expected to worsen.”
(In New England, I’ve known for hours if not days, winds can reach 70 m.p.h.)
“Flooding on Route 35 and spin-outs on the NJTPK at Route 18″ — which is New Brunswick, which is a half hour north of here. My thermometer is now down to 26, with 80% humidity, and something that feels like drizzle but makes noise.
Officials: “It’s a good idea to bring all pets indoors.” They say this, this late in the day? People need to be told this?
“Wind chill in Boston tonight may be zero.” On the Commons, it is plain that sideways snow is painting ides of trunks of trees. Officials speak calmly of two to three feet of snow in places in MA, CT, NH, RI, ME. States begin “banning vehicular traffic.”
There is an image of the Mass Pike, Route 90, without one single car on it. This is afternoon on a Friday.
Lightning is reported off the Jersey coast.
Jim Cantore, on the Commons, shakes his head, side-by-side with Al Roker, as their snow fizzes sideways, “This is the real deal.”
Reporters everywhere warn “very very slick” “Roads bad. Sidewalks may be worse.”
We can’t see the Brooklyn Bridge for the snow. Later, the same will be true of the Empire State Building.
Re NYC, “Everyone wants to get out of Dodge.” The reason is given, “to avoid the worst of the storm.” But there doesn’t seem any place around here where that would be possible.
I-84 shut down. “Connecticut very bad - 100 crashes.” “LIE shut down.” Re MTA, “10 inches or 40 mph winds will jeopardize service, … likelihood of suspension.” AmTrak suspended. Buses on Route 9 in NJ cancelled. All MTA buses and Mayor Bloomberg’s plows have chains on tires. I think I heard same re EMT vehicles. Forget flying!
“Dangerous and Icy — GET HOME and STAY HOME.”
Views of many snow-smeared towns reveal streetlights on in daytime.
I keep feeling how ghastly all these perils and predictions must be for people who lost family and friends, homes, towns, swathes of trees to Sandy, 100 brief days ago.
Newark is bleak, black, empty. Not only flights outside but people inside La Guardia not allowed. I think equally true of JFK, but not shown images there.
“It’s just snow now. The mix is over.”
Observer in Brooklyn, re predictions, “I think they’re overdoin’ it.”
As power outages begin, officials warn about high winds and bucket trucks, to say nothing of critical snow removal for access — meaning days before electric companies, although primed, can even begin to repair.
“New England is already reeling.”
A reporter describes “phalanxes of snowplows.”
“We’ll be working throughout the night.”
“Please slow down.”
“Numbers getting really big.”
“Everyone into snow now.”
Radar rotations, –even chief meteorologists admit, on many different channels–, “almost look like a tropical system.”
Wasn’t Sandy also a marriage of two storms? Or was that Irene? Or both? I do know Sandy was followed by a severe New Jersey snowstorm that in some shore towns wreaked hardship to match or even surpass the hurricane/superstorm. Al Roker dubs this a “Snowicane.”
After all these hours, officials say, “It’s beginning to ramp up.”
More and more complaints that it’s “so wet and heavy.”
“Colossal stoppage of transport.”
Power company trucks from as far away as Ohio
Hurricane-force winds on Nantucket
“Gonna be a wild night.”
“Long Island’s gonna be the bull’s eye.”
“It’s like a snow machine turned on high.”
People “walked to these restaurants because it’s not safe to be out on the roadways.”
“Driving is horrendous.”
“We’re not even halfway done with this storm.”
But I am - I’m going in to Stanley Kunitz, to read his deep and stellar prose and poems celebrating his seaside garden in Provincetown. And, though my beloved Cape looked really compromised on all those rainbowed rotation maps, I’m not going to think about storms…
Fog Along Delaware, Brenda Jones
This just in - good news and bad news, from Michael Redmond just now, Packet Lifestyle and Time Off Editor, who knows how I AM about NJ nature!
Rejoice in the wisdom of our state, NJ WILD readers. However, write Governor Christie to insist he sign this crucial legislation.
Do whatever you can on any and all fronts to preserve her wild spaces, including RIVERS!
See how our government protects these polluters of our sacred spaces!
bolds mine, as usual
“I’m just wild about natural destruction” cfe
American Bald Eagle Successful Dive for Fish, Brenda Jones
And No One Mentions Effects of Fracking Chemicals Upon Fish in Delaware, etc…
June 29, 2011
NEW JERSEY STATE LEGISLATURE FIRST IN U.S. TO PASS BILL BANNING DANGEROUS GAS DRILLING TECHNIQUE
Trenton, NJ - On Wednesday, in an unprecedented and pioneering move, New Jersey’s state legislature became the first to pass a bill to enforce a statewide ban on a controversial gas drilling technique known as fracking. The legislature was unanimously in favor of the bill, which passed the state Senate 32-1 and the Assembly 56-11.
“Today, New Jersey sent a strong message to surrounding states and to the nation that a ban on fracking is necessary to protect public health and preserve our natural resources,” said Senator Bob Gordon (D-Bergen).
“Any benefits of gas production simply do not justify the many potential dangers associated with fracking such as pollution of our lakes, streams and drinking water supplies and the release of airborne pollutants. We should not wait until our natural resources are threatened or destroyed to act. The time to ban fracking in New Jersey is now.”
Fracking involves injecting water, sand and toxic chemicals deep underground to break up dense rock formations and release natural gas. Opponents of fracking cite the high potential for water and air pollution as a leading reason to ban the practice. Over 1,000 cases of water contamination have been reported near fracking sites.
Baldpate Mountain View, Brenda Jones
(at least Baldpate itself is Preserved!)
Public opposition to fracking has escalated in recent months, with concerned residents and environmental and consumer advocacy groups campaigning against the practice in New Jersey and the surrounding states. Gas companies have been ramping up plans to drill in the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation which extends up the East Coast. Fracking operations in Pennsylvania alone are expected to create 19 million gallons of wastewater.
“Fracking is a man-made disruption to the environment, many times on large-scale proportions,” said Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen). “We’ve already seen a number of eco-casualties from this practice in surrounding states. It would be irresponsible to leave the door open for this practice to be pursued in New Jersey.”
“The New Jersey Legislature is taking the pro-active step of preventing contamination of our drinking water and environment, the only sure way to protect our residents from fracking pollution. This is a great day for the state’s present and future generations”, said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
According to Food & Water, at least 61 localities across the U.S. have passed measures against fracking. On June 16, the Trenton City Council passed a resolution calling for a statewide ban, and earlier this year, Highland Park, NJ became the first town in the country to call for a state and national ban on fracking.
“New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s signature is all that is necessary now for this critical and timely statewide ban to go into effect,” said Jim Walsh, Eastern Region Director of the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch. “If he approves it, New Jersey will be the first state to stand up against the devastating environmental and public health impacts of fracking, which have wreaked havoc on other states across the U.S.”
In the Midwest, where fracking is increasingly common, residents have reported complications ranging from headaches and blackouts, noxious odors in the air and sudden blindness and hair loss among their livestock – concerns which led those living in Dish, Texas, a town located near 11 natural gas compression stations, to hire a private environmental consultant to sample the air. The consultant found that it contained high levels of neurotoxins and carcinogens, including benzene.
A 2011 Cornell University study found that the process of fracking also releases methane, which according to the EPA, is 21 times more damaging greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Similarly, a study released by researchers at Duke University in April found methane levels in shallow drinking water wells near active gas drilling sites at a level 17 times higher than those near inactive ones.
“This bill is a great victory for clean water in New Jersey and we believe it will be a national model,” said Jeff Tittel Director NJ Sierra Club. “We hope this bill sends a message to the governor to oppose fracking in the Delaware Basin and protect New Jersey waters.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. House and Energy Commerce Committee determined that 14 oil companies had injected 780 million gallons of fracking chemicals and other substances into U.S. wells between 2005 and 2009. This included 10.2 million gallons of fluids containing known or suspected carcinogens.
The companies, however, are not required to disclose the chemicals in fracking fluid, which they claim should be protected as a “trade secret”. They are also exempt from seven major federal environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act.
Scientists at the Endocrine Disruption Exchange who tested fracking fluids found that 25 percent can cause cancer; 37 percent can disrupt the endocrine system; and 40 to 50 percent can affect the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems.
Earlier this month Food & Water Watch released a report entitled The Case for a Ban on Fracking. The report reveals that the natural gas industry’s use of water-intensive, toxic, unregulated practices for natural gas extraction are compromising public health and polluting water resources across the country.
The Case for a Ban on Fracking is available here: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/the-case-for-a-ban-on-gas-fracking
A map of municipalities that have taken action against fracking is available here:
“So the idea from afar that only a few hundred birds really got badly oiled turns out to have been a false sense of security.” Cornell Lab of Ornithology Director, John Fitzpatrick
Black Skimmer Skimming - in Clean Water — Smithsonian
NJ WILD readers know how I fret over the fate of every wild creature, from the slain beavers of Princeton’s Pettoranello Gardens/Mountain Lakes ‘Preserve’, to all the winged beings harmed, starved, oiled, killed by the oils of the ceaseless volcano from the so-called Deepwater Horizon last year.
So many waterbirds and shorebirds were breeding, nesting, and/or feeding young, as that foul spewing continued and expanded, well, exPLOded in the normally fecund and to me always sacred waters of our Gulf.
Great Blue Heron Flies over Clean Lake Carnegie - Brenda Jones
You also know that my deepest alarm is that no experts from elsewhere showed up to solve and resolve. Not only did BP not know (or care) what to do. Our American government was powerless, able only to urge tourists to come by and tromp the oiled beaches for the sake of motel and restaurant owners. No one anywhere knew or knows how to resolve an oil disaster.
Any more than anyone anywhere knows what to do about quaked and flooded Fukushima nuclear plant in shattered northern Japan.
Remember the lies? Remember 500 barrels a day in the Gulf? Remember that I told you, watch and see how those numbers tiptoe upwards in the days, weeks and months ahead?
Remember whatever the Japanese were admitting? At best, at the beginning, the reactors were called compromised. The term melt was not part of their vocabulary in the early days. Somewhere there must be a school officials attend, teaching how to lie calmly to all who have the right to know. Teaching how to show up days or weeks later with band-aids for ruptures of the highest magnitude to the fabric of our world.
Last night, on CNN, I heard that there have been “melt-downs or melt-throughs” in three of the four reactors of Fukushima.
And where is that radiation going? Into our skies… Into our ocean — for there is really only ONE ocean. Into our fish and water mammals such as dolphins and whales. Turtles. Plankton. As the Gulf’s oil spewing destroyed everything from the most microscopic to behemoths of the deep.
No one knows. No one tells.
Roseate Spoonbill near Clean Water - from Internet
Here is the Cornell Ornithology Lab on the Gulf disaster, one year later. Even THEY are heedless enough to call those millions of barrels or gallons - what difference to the migrating and breeding birds? — a ’spill’…
Nonetheless, I’m glad there’s a Cornell Lab of Ornithology to address these issues and go to the trouble to have articles written and published on the peril of creatures in our time, especially birds.
However, as a subscriber to their Living Bird Magazine, I have watched this disaster played down in those glossy pages. We have no way of knowing the death toll of birds, let alone plankton and other nearly invisible but essential sea organisms. The red knots who feed on horseshoe crabs in New Jersey are down 5000 this year, when I believe there were only about 15,000 known individuals tallied last year. Did red knots migrate over the Gulf at a critical time, perishing either directly or from consuming poisoned foods?
Gradually, in this article below, realization of the deep inner costs, the hidden, the invisible, the untallyable seems to be seeping in, at least in the world of ornithologists.
Not, however, in the world of oil and business - our new golden calf. The altar upon whose slab we are all Abraham, raising the sword over our sons, Isaac…
Viewpoint: The Oil Spill, One Year Later
One year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Cornell Lab of Ornithology director John Fitzpatrick discusses what we learned, and what we can take away from it.
Q: What is your reaction when you look back at footage of birds videotaped along the Gulf Coast by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s team during the oil spill?
(put quotes around that noun “spill”, everyone… cfe)
NJ WILD readers know that my sympathies are with all animals of the wild, by no means limited to New Jersey. You are accustomed to my urging you to pay attention to and support your local land trusts/preservationists, such as D&R Greenway (where I work), Kingston Greenways, Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands (restoring legendary Princeton Nurseries habitat and buildings in Kingston), Friends of Princeton Open Space and Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed.
Defenders of Wildlife, on the national level, so often speaks what I would urge. Here they focus on the subject about which you’ve so often read in these virtual pages: my horror that the world continues to term that volcano of oil in our sacred ocean, ‘a spill’, and its effects upon the turtles.
Sea turtle deaths, see below, are more than three times the annual average!
Our government, basically, has sat on its hands, allowing BP “business as usual”, while turtles perish and fishermen and shrimpers lose their multi-generational livelihoods, and the sea withers.
Now this, from Defenders of Wildlife. What will you do about it?
“All that it takes for evil to happen is for good people to do nothing…”
REASON to REJOICE - D&R CANAL COMMISSION TO CONTINUE
NJ WILD readers know my passion for the D&R Canal and Towpath. For decades, as a poet, I referred to those sacred trails as “nurse, haven and muse.”
Eagle over Sculler on Lake Carnegie - D&R Canal Park - Brenda Jones
It’s never made any sense to me that we might do away with the D&R Canal Commission! That water is our drinking water. That historic landscape is beyond price. The Commission costs taxpayers nothing, which people more politically astute than I can and do explain easily. My friend and colleague at D&R Greenway, Jim Amon, is a person of the highest integrity and honor. He served as Director of the D&R Canal Commission for thirty years before coming to us as Director of Land Stewardship. It is to Jim’s vigilance, persistence, high aesthetic sense, and political savvy that we owe much of the beauty of that State Park. Even the handsome ‘new’ bridge over Route 1 at Lawrenceville, designed to echo canal bridges and wrought iron signs of yesterday, wouldn’t have happened without Jim. In all its years, the D&R Canal Commission has only missed decision deadlines ten times! Tell us what other government agency can match this record, these accomplishments.
Alexander Road Bridge, D&R Canal and Towpath, Full Summer cfe
But Governor Christie said the Commission had to go. The Commission was going to be folded into NJ DEP, that same sterling bureaucracy that just brought us the inexplicable shooting of the beavers of Mountain Lakes so-called Preserve… “And Governor Christie is an honorable man….” (please feel full irony straight from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in the above quote, one of my favorite speeches in all theatre…)
Approaching Storm, Griggstown, D&R Canal and Towpath, Martha Weintraub
Many of us protested the evisceration of the D&R Canal Commission in various ways, –in person and through letters and in the hot links I am always urging NJ WILD readers to use. Thank heaven especially for Jeff Tittel, head of NJ Sierra Club, for leading the charge. Here is the result of courage and persistence.
Great Blue Heron with Fish, Lake Carnegie, D&R Canal State Park, Brenda Jones
Never cease to be vigilant in terms of saving New Jersey beauty and history.
D&R Canal State Park, Mapleton Aqueduct, cfe
On Thursday, the Senate Environment Committee unanimously released SR117 (Smith/Bateman), a resolution supporting the continued existence of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission (DRCC) and calling on the governor to authorize the commission to hire a new executive director and full-time staff.
The Assembly Environment Committee passed a similar resolution on Monday. The commission helps operate the Canal Park, which is a state and national historic district visited by 1 million people a year, and oversees land decisions that impact the state park and the water supply for 1.5 million people.
Not Only Drinking Water - Kayaker, Tasha O’Neill
“In order for the D&R Canal Commission to be an independent, professional board, the Legislature needs to support it. The DRCC brings a planning and regional perspective to development applications along the Canal that DEP does not have when it comes to land use planning,” said Jeff Tittel, director of NJ Sierra Club. “The Governor is trying to take over the DRCC and merge it with the DEP. We believe that what the administration wants to do is wrong and we applaud the Legislature for moving this resolution forward.”
The DRCC has been under attack since December when DEP Commissioner Martin recommended the board be abolished under Governor Christie’s Executive Order 15.
The Sierra Club challenged the statutory authority of the governor to eliminate the DRCC and that of the DEP to dictate who the DRCC hires. On Thursday the DRCC held a special meeting where the governor’s representative on the board outlined the administration’s plan to maintain the commission but move staff into the DEP to share resources, despite DEP staffing being at historical lows. The representative also presents two resumes from within the DEP to fulfill the executive director position, which will be vacant on June 1, leaving the DRCC with no staff to review or process permit applications.
In response, The DRCC passed a resolution stating it will decide who it will hire for their Executive Director position. The resolution also asked the Attorney General’s office to appoint legal representation to the Commission if the DEP and Department of Treasury did not place the new staff members on the payroll.
Having an independent regulatory land use program and board is critical not only for water quality but also for properly dealing with land use issues that affect the canal and the 400-square mile watershed. Diminishing staff at the DEP is ill-equipped to handle the additional workload eliminating the commission would result in and would not review localized and cumulative impacts to the park as thoroughly as the commission.
The commission has established their own standards and review procedures for projects to consider natural, historic, and recreational resources of the park, and the DEP only considers regulated program areas in issuing permits.
Less than 10 percent of projects considered by the DRCC would require DEP Land Use approval and the State Historic Preservation Office only has authority over projects in the Park that receive state or federal funding and cannot protect the scenic and recreational qualities of the Park.
Re-Creation: Come Sit a Spell, North from Mapleton Aqueduct, cfe
The commission also holds and monitors conservation easements for stream corridors prohibiting any future development, a land preservation technique that involves no expense to the state.
The 70-mile canal spans 22 municipalities in Mercer, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, and Monmouth counties. Fifteen of these municipalities and Mercer County have adopted resolutions opposing the elimination of the DRCC.
A scientist, Chernobyl-experienced, may not be lying: Any time you have a nuclear facility that size that is not meeting requirements for cooling, you have a real emergency on your hands.”
Ron Chesser, Center of Environmental Radiation Studies
For days now, arresting lines from a poem by James Haba ring in my head - I paraphrase:
An official is speaking on the radio
He is lying
An earthquake of nearly impossible magnitude,
followed by tsunami destruction beyond human comprehension,
fill our world,
dominating even the great floods of New Jersey rivers and streams in this spring of discontent.
My heart aches along with the people of Japan, people of the globe, shattered by these multiple disasters.
On television, officials play down the seriousness of explosions and escaped vapors. They want us to see it as mere steam. They want us to deem it harmless. They tightrope around the word ‘meltdown.’
The true tragedy is that — as in Katrina, as with BP’s oil disaster off our shores, nobody knows what to do.
We are being given the nuclear equivalent, in translated phrases, and by the Japanese Ambassador to the United states, of BP’s “500 gallons a day” admission. You remember –I asked NJ WILD readers from first hours, if you believed it. (You know the outpouring ultimately climbed into millions.)
We are assured that only a handful of people ‘reveal levels of radiation’, as 100,000s of thousands are evacuated. [And what happens when your home has been suffused with radioactivity - what hope ever of return?]
One official blithely announced that any radiation would simply float out to sea. Wonderful. First we oil our amniotic seas. Then we radioactivate them, and air currents above.
In pictures of damaged American harbors, we have been given vivid proof of the very short distance between the shores of Japan, the coasts of Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington. Not only wave energy makes that journey.
In turbulent times, especially in times where deception is the norm, I turn to the past, as NJ WILD knows.
Lately, I’ve been leaning on Eleanor Roosevelt, that consummate truth-teller. We know that even her husband did not always welcome Eleanor’s integrity.
I came across a new paperback of her legendary My Day columns. She wrote them even on her lap in uncomfortable planes flying to visit American troops in the Pacific. My Day appeared in hundreds of newspapers in the days of healthy journalism.
Eleanor ceased turning in her columns for a mere four days around President Roosevelt’s death. In Depression, War, and now on the morning after peace, Eleanor told the truth to America.
The VERY FIRST My Day WORDS I read this morning, [Sunday, the 13th of March, while a tsunami of images of submerged houses and flattened cars and overturned boats and mud-inundated fields and severed highways and empty roadways and far too few official anybodies rescuing anyone, surge through my head,] were:
The new atomic discovery has changed the whole aspect of the world in which we live. It has been primarily thought of in the light of its destructive power. Now we have to think of it in terms of how it may serve mankind in the days of peace.
This great discovery was not found by men of any one race or any one religion and its development and control should be under international auspices. All the world has a right to share in the beneficence which may grow from its proper development.
If we allow ourselves to think that any nations or any group of commercial interests should profit by something so great, we will eventually be the sufferers.
It is a challenge to us. For, unless we develop spiritual greatness commensurate with this new gift, we may bring economic war into the world and chaos instead of peace.
The greatest opportunity the world has ever had lies before us. God grant we have enough understanding to live in the future as “one world” and “one people”.
These are excerpts from an undated column, with a New York dateline, at the time when “word was flashed that peace had come to the world again.”
Eleanor reveals a great heaviness: “I had no desire to go out and celebrate. The weight of suffering which has engulfed the world during so many years could not be so quickly wiped out.”
Always in touch with the larger picture, Eleanor leapt quickly to concerns over the nuclear wand which scientific wizardry had brought into the world.
Her words of long ago prove profoundly prophetic. We are a world united. However, not by peace. Unfortunately we have become ONE in the unparalleled pursuit of technology. Events of recent days have united us in horror and grief. And impotence.
Officials, not only in battered Japan, insist on “no harm to human life” from white clouds issuing from severely compromised nuclear reactors.
Where are the experts on our own Three Mile Island, on Russia’s Chernobyl? Who is drawing parallels and lessons?
Among the few who address the perils of catastrophic climate change, are many who insist that the only solution is increased construction of nuclear power plants. Many of our existing ones are built dirctly upon faults. We are being urged to build more when we don’t know how to resolve disaster in those already in use.
What radio announcement on the New Jersey Turnpike triggered Jim Haba’s poem, we do not know. The universality of his response reverberates into this new century:
An official is speaking on the radio
He is lying…
Eleanor’s prophecy: We will eventually be the sufferers.
It is now Sunday Evening: from AOL
KORIYAMA, Japan - Japanese officials warned of a possible second explosion Sunday at a nuclear plant crippled by the earthquake and tsunami as they raced to stave off multiple reactor meltdowns, but they provided few details about whether they were making progress. More than 180,000 people have evacuated the area, and up to 160 may have been exposed to radiation.
Four nuclear plants in northeastern Japan have reported damage, but the danger appeared to be greatest at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, where one explosion occurred Saturday and a second was feared. Operators have lost the ability to cool three reactors at Dai-ichi and three more at another nearby complex using usual procedures, after the quake knocked out power and the tsunami swamped backup generators.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Sunday that a hydrogen explosion could occur at Dai-ichi’s Unit 3, the latest reactor to face a possible meltdown. That would follow a hydrogen blast Saturday in the plant’s Unit 1.
“At the risk of raising further public concern, we cannot rule out the possibility of an explosion,” Edano said. “If there is an explosion, however, there would be no significant impact on human health.”
FROM MY SCIENCE DAILY E-ALERTS:
Ron Chesser, director for the Center of Environmental Radiation Studies at Texas Tech University, was the first American scientist allowed inside the exclusion zone in 1992 following the Chernobyl disaster. He can discuss issues that Fukushima workers may be facing in light of the cooling system troubles.
Chesser said that though reports have stated the reactors were shut down safely, the reactors still must be cooled constantly to avoid a meltdown of the core.
All four reactors have been shut down at Fukushima Daini.
“The fact they’re having trouble cooling the reactors is going to trigger an emergency,” Chesser said. “There are certain trigger points for declaring an emergency at nuclear reactors. Reduction in cooling capacity would be one of those. Release of radiation would be another. Reactors are not like your car that you can turn off and walk away. They’re going to continue generating a great amount of heat until the core is disassembled. Without cooling water, then you stand a real chance of a meltdown of core that could result in a large release of radiation, potentially.”
However, Chesser, who has toured a smaller Japanese nuclear power plant in Chiba, said Japanese designers put many precautionary measures and contingency plans in place to ensure reactor safety in the event of an earthquake.
“I was very much impressed with the amount of attention to safety, especially regarding potential of earthquakes,” he said. “I was a little bit surprised when I saw they had a looming crisis at the Fukushima power plant just because of all the great attention the Japanese pay to earthquake safety.”
Also, the Fukushima reactors appear to have containment vessels over them unlike Chernobyl, he said.
Though there is cause for concern, Chesser said he thought workers at the plant must have some cooling capacity available, since the evacuation radius from the plant was only 1.9 miles and affected 3,000 people. [most recent t.v. reports reveal 200,000 now - late Sunday night]
“I think that sounds like that’s a low-level alert,” he said. “It didn’t sound like there were that many people being evacuated. At Chernobyl, when it went, they eventually were evacuating people 18 miles away from the reactor. It doesn’t sound like there’s an imminent issue, but it is serious. Any time you have a nuclear facility that size that is not meeting requirements for cooling, you have a real emergency on your hands.”
According to the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) website, the Fukushima Daiichi plant has six functioning nuclear reactors with two more that are scheduled to come online in the next two years. Recent reports from the company have said reactor Nos. 1, 2 and 3, were shut down because of the quake, but 4, 5 and 6 were down because of regular inspections.
At Fukushima Daini, all four reactors have been shut down, according to the website.
According to the 2008 World Factbook, Japan ranks third in the world for electricity production. A recent story on the United Nations University’s website states that 30 percent of Japan’s energy is produced from nuclear power.
“My great hope is that they are going to be able to rectify this quickly enough that they can maintain cooling capacity,” Chesser said. “I think that a reactor meltdown could be a major disaster, especially in a highly populated country such as Japan. It would be a real setback when we are battling to find alternatives to fossil fuels considering the potential that nuclear energy has.”
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Texas Tech. The original article was written by John Davis.
Someone who doesn’t read NJ WILD regularly wrote, “I don’t understand what Rush Holt has to do with NJ WILD.” I figure any of you could answer her - however, here is the connection:
if RUSH didn’t do all he does for the environment, there wouldn’t be any nj wild places left to enjoy
NJ WILD readers know how deeply I honor the character and accomplishments of our Representative, Rush Holt.
I pray that all your splendid faculties be fully restored, and that your vision and eloquence are given new impetus by everyone’s awareness of all that you’ve accomplished, stood for, forwarded over the years before this dire tragedy.
May the lessons of all the people who sprang to your aid that day include above all, for the world, new awareness of the POWER of DIVERSITY.
STUNNED TO HAVE READ THAT our president held only 4 Press Conferences in 485 days
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE?
The man currently in the White House seems more crippled by mysterious forces than Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The President of my childhood may have been confined by polio to his wheeled chair, but in no other way hampered in fulfilling his office in similarly critical times. Well do I remember the encouraging sound of his voice, in those days of radio, in his fireside chats. FDR was to America, as Churchill was to Britain, in dire financial times and escalating wars.
Where is our president? Why does he not preside?
Why did Barack Obama tiptoe with BP and backpedal and/or ignore the plight of the fisherfolk of Louisiana? Why does OUR Gulf belong to BP? Was President Monroe’s brilliant Louisiana Purchase not worth the paper it was printed upon?
What’s happened to the man we elected with such hope in 2008? It feels as though Barack Obama has been enchained, even gagged. By whom?
In the few appearances upon which I’ve happened, I have experienced little more than sound bites (Chilean earthquake, visiting BP-fouled beaches but only to tout tourism, not to declare “This must never happen again! - to our waters, our sands, our people whose lives depend upon this Gulf, let alone the fish, the grasses, loggerhead turtles, manatees… “) The verb our president brings to mind is ‘tiptoeing’.
Can you just see and hear what Harry Truman would have had to say and do and demand re BP’s perfidies and those of megacorporations in cahoots with them? To say nothing about the reality that, nowhere in the world did any oil company come forward with a solution for suffocating poisonous tides of oil within our waters, through our marshes, upon our sands?
or Franklin Delano Roosevelt?
let along Jack and Bobby?
I don’t want this to be true. I don’t want to be writing “Our Emperor Has No Clothes.”
I don’t want the shining miracle of America’s having elected a black man to be tarnished for all time.
I don’t want to think that Michelle Obama hasn’t lifted a finger or her voice since arranging to have an organic garden installed on White House Grounds. A great idea, grand gesture — is it working? Do they eat the foods? Are other homeowners following their leads? I have no sense of this.
Barack Obama has lost his fire.
Why and how?
What can be done?
How could this impassioned candidate, who reached out so effectively in person and through electronic media and phones, justify FEWER press conferences than George W. Bush? Grids on television the night of this year’s mid-term elections showed that young, black and Hispanic voters declined to pre-2008 levels. Disenchanted anew. Even by this man. Let down again. This is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.
Our Ship of State at the Culmination of 2010
Published May 27, 2010
On Thursday, for the first time in 308 days, President Obama will confront the White House press corps in a full-blown news conference, taking the best shots that reporters have to offer on the topics of their choosing.
Obama’s lengthy absence from reporters’ crosshairs has exceeded President George W. Bush’s longest gap of 204 days.
As a candidate two years ago, Obama, then a senator, mused aloud about holding a news conference every month.
As president, Obama has held just 4 prime-time news conferences in the first 485 days of his term, but that is equal to the total number that his last three predecessors – combined – had held by the same point in their first terms. The Bushes had each held one; Bill Clinton, two.
Obama, however, has stood for fewer news conferences in which reporters were free to ask him questions on the topic of their choosing.
The dwindling frequency of these East Room extravaganzas stems in part from the fragmentation of the prime-time TV viewing audience, said analysts of the presidency and the news media. It is now split between broadcast and cable, video and on-demand options, and has hundreds more channels to choose from than the three networks that solemnly aired President Kennedy’s winning quips, or Dan Rather’s confrontations with President Nixon.
As evidence of how Americans can tune out the leader of the free world, consider that Obama’s first prime-time news conference drew an estimated audience of 49 million – and that his last, some 308 days ago, drew an estimated 20 million.
It is equally clear, though, that the unusually long gap since Obama’s last prime-time news conference – held back on July 22, 2009 – owes to Obama’s preferences and style in the realm of rhetoric and communications.
Historian Martha Joynt Kumar of Towson State University, who compiles data on presidential media appearances, said the figures reveal that Obama tends to utilize formats where he can expound at greater length. She breaks down presidential exchanges with the news media into four categories: primetime news conferences; news conferences held alone or jointly alongside a foreign head of state; brief Q-and-A sessions, which typically transpire in the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room, or similar settings; and one-on-one interviews.
Where George W. Bush held 186 brief Q&A’s – the daily bread and butter for the White House press corps, particularly wire service reporters – and gave only 56 personal interviews, Obama has done almost exactly the opposite. He has held only 56 Q-and-As, and granted 188 personal interviews.
“He prefers explaining a particular issue, and so what he likes to do is do interviews,” said Kumar, author of “Managing the President’s Message.” “And those kinds of events which are pooled in the Oval Office or Roosevelt Room, Cabinet room, at the top or bottom of the meeting, and the wires get a couple of questions — he wants to go into detail and that’s not a good setting for it.”
Kumar noted that President Eisenhower was the first chief executive to place press conferences on the record and also the first to televise them.
“And at the start of one of them, he talked about how he’s going to climb the weekly cross and you drive in the nails,” she said. “And I think that most presidents have regarded press conferences in a similar way.”
Dana Perino, who served as press secretary to George W. Bush during his final sixteen months in the White House, told Fox News that Obama’s lack of primetime events is a “mystery” to her.
“Obviously, President Obama does well in communicating, and if he had an opportunity to answer lots of questions, it would show the breadth and scope of all that he has to cover in a given day,” she said. “In some ways, you have to wonder what are they afraid of.”
The answer to that question may be no different for any occupant of the Oval Office, regardless of his political persuasion or party affiliation.
For the record, the White House counts the nuclear summit in April as Obama’s last news conference. On that occasion, eight reporters asked questions, and Obama’s lengthy opening statement accounted for 30 percent of the roughly 5,000 words exchanged.
Fox News’ James Rosen contributed to this report.
Media events by president as of May 20, 2010
Prof. Martha Joynt Kumar
Towson State University
|President/Event||George HW Bush||Bill Clinton||George W. Bush||Barack Obama|
|Joint and Solo News Conferences||47 (12, 35)||57 (39, 18)||30 (25, 5)||32 (19, 13)|
Filed Under (Activism, Animals of the Wild, Brenda Jones, Delaware Bayshores, Delaware River, Destruction, Disaster, Environment, Garden State, Government, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, Oceans, Politicians, Pollution/Poisoning, Preservation, Revolutionary War, South Jersey, native species, protection, rivers) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 04-11-2010
Historic D&R Canal Towpath, Haven of Beauty, Source of Water
A national organization just sent a bulletin of good news for our environment, all too scarce in MY book!
In fact, among all the ‘Talking Heads” to whose palaver I was subjected this week, I heard the word ‘environment’ but once, in a tragically dismissive tone.
Our Congressman, Rush Holt, is a friend of the environment without peer. As a naturalist and conservationist, I am profoundly relieved that he won this, his only narrow victory in all these terms.
While thankful to learn the news they conveyed, I felt compelled to write back to the national organization, alerting them to our Congressman Rush Holt’s ENVIRONMENTAL VIGILANCE in our state, in the Capitol. I share some of my response with NJ WILD readers.
As I bolded line after line in Rush’s web-page on environmental matters, –even I, loyal constituent so long as I have known this man–, learned ways in which our Rush Holt tends to Nature.
It is particularly significant that this former rocket scientist continues to instruct Washington to base environmental decisions upon sound science, not upon politics, not in reaction to special interest groups who continually despoil our land.
What I treasure about Rush is that he’s out there noticing what’s wrong, facing problems, solving problems, not merely reacting/vouchsafing sound bites, as do so many politicians…
Lavalette, New Jersey: Calm After Storm
You’ve read my anguished posts and my Packet article on the peril of birds in the wake of the BP disaster in the Gulf. (from his web-site) Rep. Holt has voted against allowing potentially disastrous oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). He also has cosponsored OCEANS-21, comprehensive legislation that would develop a national policy to ensure the health of our nation’s oceans for future generations.
He weaves the young into his work: Holt is a founding member and co-chair of the Children’s Environmental Health Caucus, which aims to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect health, particularly that of children.
(from his web-site) On May 14, 2009, the House of Representatives passed Holt’s Green Schools initiative as part of the School Modernization Bill. Natural Resources Committee
For this alone, I’d have voted for Rush: Rep. Holt is a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act and has consistently opposed attempts to weaken this law.
And this: Rep Holt is committed to the preservation of America’s natural treasures, including its parks. Recently, he helped pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146), historic legislation that combines more than 160 individual measures. Among its many provisions, the bill includes new wilderness designations, wild and scenic rivers, National Park units, hiking trails, heritage areas, water projects, and historic preservation initiatives.
And this: Rep. Holt does all in his power to oppose the destruction of environmentally fragile wilderness areas.
When I think of Rush, I experience him as listener – need I remind how rare that quality is in politicians in our time?
Our Congressman is also known for his strong historic perspective, terrifically important in this, our most populated state, where not even the events without which we would not be/have a nation, do not effectively protect sites where these events transpired.
Rush remembers and dynamically teaches the remarkable truth: Ours is the state in which the highest percentage of successful Revolutionary War battles took place, –two in nearby Trenton and the significant one here in Princeton on January 3, 1777.
How many realize that that sacred battlefield could be developed even now by of all entities, the Institute for Advanced Studies?
Rush also knows that lands held open for historic purposes also protects and enhances life chances for native species.
History & Beauty - Historic Batsto Preserve
Pine Barrens of New Jersey - Former Iron Forge Town
His commitment to clean water is vital, as our Canal serves the water needs of millions. Rush is well aware that New Jersey is the ONLY state with THREE coastlines - Atlantic, Delaware Bay and Delaware River. He is determined to maintain these treasures at the highest level, not only because of tourism dollars, but due to their essentiality to humans and native species on all levels.
Rush remembers, reminds others, and acts. All that, and he writes personal thank you’s, even for my minuscule contributions.
From Congressman Rush Holt’s website page on Environment: http://holt.house.gov/ Issues - Environment:
John F. Kennedy said in March 1961, ‘It is our task in our time and in our generation to hand down undiminished to those who come after us, as was handed down to us by those who went before, the natural wealth and beauty which is ours.’” –
Rush Holt Rep. Rush Holt has stood up for our nation’s environmental crown jewels, and is committed to safeguarding our National Parks and Preserves. He supports efforts to clean up our air, land, and water, and to preserve open space.
A member of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, he is a leader in promoting environmentally sound alternative energy sources that do not harm our environment. For his work, Rep. Holt has earned a 100 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters.
Throughout his career, Rep. Holt has been a strong advocate for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and its State Assistance program, which provides matching funds to states and communities to preserve open spaces. Early in his career, he was able to restore the state-side grant portion of the program, and he has since fought to retain and increase funding for it.
In the 110th Congress, Rep. Holt led a bipartisan coalition that helped secure $125 million for the LWCF and $25 million for the state-side grant portion. He is leading the effort to secure LWCF in the current Congress as well. The LWCF State Assistance program has aided local recreation projects in over 98% of all U.S. counties, including the preservation of over 73,000 acres of land in New Jersey alone. This is land that otherwise may have been developed for private use or otherwise rendered unusable. Due to the crucial work done by the LWCF, Rep. Holt has fought for full LWCF funding every year.
In July, Rep. Holt voted for and the House passed the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act (CLEAR Act). In addition to fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, this bill would raise operations standards on offshore drilling, making it safer for workers, as well as for our environment.
Northern Gannet at Cape May -
CMBO Picture –
One of most devastated birds during and after BP Oil Catastrophe in Gulf
In light of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the CLEAR Act adopts a provision written by Rep. Holt to hold oil companies accountable for the damage they inflict, should an accident occur. The bill is currently awaiting approval from the Senate.
Black Skimmer Glory by Brenda Jones
Bird deeply endangered by oil in water - as it skims waves to feed on resident fish
Rep. Holt supports states’ rights to lead the way on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. He has supported legislation to allow states such New Jersey to create stronger regulations regarding vehicle emissions.
Rep. Holt strongly supports efforts to protect the Clean Water Act. He has cosponsored legislation that would reestablish the original intent of Congress in the 1972 Clean Water Act, ensuring that it applies to all water of the United States.
He also supports efforts to fully fund the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
Holt also is a founding member and co-chair of the Children’s Environmental Health Caucus, which aims to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect health, particularly that of children.
On his web-site, you can read Rep. Holt’s work on clean energy, including his efforts to increase automobile fuel efficiency standards for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Rep. Holt supports the “polluter pays” principle that the financial burden to clean up toxic pollution at Superfund sites should not fall on the backs of taxpayers. Congress created the Superfund in 1980 to clean up the nation’s worst toxic waste sites. Congress placed the financial onus for cleanups on polluting corporations. [This system worked as it was intended until 1995 when the 105th Congress let the Superfund revenue authority expire.]
Superfund still had funding until the Fiscal Year 2003 budget. Yet, the Bush Administration failed to request renewal of the Superfund taxes in any subsequent budget, resulting in the Superfund running dry. This has stalled cleanup efforts in Superfund sites throughout the country, including in Marlboro, NJ, which had waited for the clean up of the Imperial Oil Company site for more than 25 years, until finally receiving approximately $25 million for cleanup from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. Rep. Holt continues to work to reinstate the Superfund tax on corporate polluters.
Rep. Holt has led the effort in Congress to preserve historic lands, as he believes that preserving historic spaces is essential to educating the current generations and future generations and about our rich cultural heritage. This year, he reintroduced the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act, legislation that would help preserve open spaces by authorizing additional funding to protect historic sites dating from these two wars.
Pre-Revolutionary Blue Mill, Blue Mill Pond, Walnford Village NJ
Additionally, in 2007 Rep. Holt secured $150,000 in federal funding for the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area, which he helped to create in 2006. The Crossroads of the American Revolution highlights the role of New Jersey during the American Revolution and brings protection to many historic landmarks, including battlefields, lighthouses, mills, wells and the other Revolutionary War area sites in New Jersey. Crossroads of the American Revolution is headed by D&R Greenway Trustee Cate Litvack, who has become a friend and member of my Willing Hands Committee at the Land Trust, regularly arriving early for events to greet our guests.
Representing a state that is highly dependent on the ocean for its economy, tourism, and recreation, Rep. Holt is committed to ensuring that our coasts and oceans are clean.
Rep. Holt has voted against allowing potentially disastrous oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). He also has cosponsored OCEANS-21, comprehensive legislation that would develop a national policy to ensure the health of our nation’s oceans for future generations.
Where History and Waters Meet
Calling to Migrant Birds…
Cape May Light and Ocean Beach in Winter
Cape May Bird Observatory Photo
In January 2009, Rep. Holt reintroduced the School Building Enhancement Act, legislation that would help schools implement energy saving measures to reduce their energy costs. Energy bills are the second-highest operating expenditure for schools after personnel costs, with the annual spending by schools on energy at $8 billion in 2007. Holt’s bill would authorize $6.4 billion over five years for school construction, including funding to help schools become more energy-efficient.
On May 14, 2009, the House of Representatives passed Holt’s Green Schools initiative as part of the School Modernization Bill. Natural Resources Committee.
WILD (literally! & SCENIC DELAWARE RIVER, Brenda Jones
As a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Rep. Holt has worked to preserve America’s natural treasures, including its parks. Recently, he helped pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146), historic legislation that combines more than 160 individual measures. Among its many provisions, the bill includes new wilderness designations, wild and scenic rivers, National Park units, hiking trails, heritage areas, water projects, and historic preservation initiatives. The bill preserves New Jersey’s heritage as one of the leaders of the Industrial Revolution by creating the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park and the Edison National Historic Park.
Rep. Holt has led efforts to oppose the destruction of environmentally fragile wilderness areas, including: In 2007, Rep. Holt led an effort, with 86 of his colleagues, to urge the Secretary of the Interior to oppose increased snowmobile use – which can damage the air and land - in Yellowstone National Park.
In December 2007, Rep. Holt spearheaded a successful effort, with 57 other Members of Congress, asking the Obama administration to overturn a last-minute decision by the Bush administration to auction off pristine public land in Utah’s Wilderness to oil and gas companies.
In 2007, Rep. Holt successfully offered an amendment to the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act that would ensure that national parks are protected from the hazardous byproducts of hardrock metal mining.
Rep. Holt opposes proposals to drill for oil within sensitive environments like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He does not believe that we should harm irreparably the nation’s remaining wilderness in order to produce oil that will not meet the demand for energy.
Rep. Holt believes it is important for the federal government to designate and protect critical habitats that are vital to the continued survival of endangered and threatened species.
He strongly supports allowing scientists - not politicians - to identify what is needed to enhance and de-list endangered species. Holt is working to strengthen the Endangered Species Act and has participated in a number of hearings on this issue as a senior member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Fox on Ice, Carnegie Lake, Brenda Jones
Rep Holt believes that the humane treatment of animals is a mark of civilized society.Because of his efforts on behalf of animal rights, Rep. Holt was awarded an A+ from the Humane Society Legislative Fund in 2008.
Rep. Holt has cosponsored legislation to prohibit the use of birds in animal fighting, to ban the riding of captive elephants in road shows, and to require wounded livestock to be humanely euthanized, rather than be left to suffer a slow and painful death.
Rep. Holt is a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act and has consistently opposed attempts to weaken this law.
Rep. Holt has introduced the Fox-Penning Prohibition Act, legislation which would prohibit the transport of foxes and other animals for the purposes of “wildlife penning.” “Wildlife penning” is an inhumane treatment of animals by which they are put in fenced enclosures where wild animals are ripped apart by packs of dogs in competitive animal fights — they are torn apart by dogs in an escape-proof enclosure. “I have introduced legislation to stop this practice by outlawing the transport of animals for the purposes of fox penning.”