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Environmental Alert

 

By Leona Fluck,leona@pineypaddlers.com

 

 

Alert flags ready to tell boaters water's bad

 

Monday, May 14, 2007

 

By Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 

The recreational boating season has opened and that means the orange "CSO" flags, indicating poor water quality caused by combined sewer overflows, will soon be flapping in the breeze along Pittsburgh area rivers.

 

The Allegheny County Health Department's daily river water advisories will begin Wednesday.

 

The alert flags will fly from poles at 32 locations along the Allegheny, Monongahela, Ohio and Youghiogheny rivers whenever rainfall causes a combination of storm water and raw sewage to overflow into those rivers.

 

A "CSO alert" doesn't prohibit recreational activity on the rivers, but cautions people to minimize water contact if they have weakened immune systems or open cuts or wounds that are vulnerable to infection, said Dr. Bruce Dixon, Allegheny County health director.

 

This is the 13th year that the county has issued the water quality advisories, and the frequency and duration of the alerts are directly tied to the amount of rainfall the region receives.

 

Last summer, which was relatively dry, 10 alerts were issued and lasted an average of 51/2 days each, or 55 days total. In 2004, by comparison, there were just six alerts issued, but they lasted a record high 125 days.

 

In 1997, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency threatened to fine the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority and its member municipalities $275 million if they continued to discharge sewage into the rivers, but it hasn't followed through on the threat or reached an agreement with the sewer authority on how to address the problem.

 

There are 414 combined sewer overflows in Allegheny County, 279 of them in the Alcosan service area. There are also 50 sanitary sewer overflows in the Alcosan system.

 

Eliminating sanitary sewer overflows and limiting the combined sewer overflows to a half-dozen days or fewer annually will cost Alcosan an estimated $1 billion, and its member municipalities and the city another $2 billion.

 

If boaters and others using the rivers don't want to look for the flags or wait until they get to the rivers to find out about water quality, they can get that information from the Health Department's river water advisory hot line at 412-687-2243, or the department's Web site at www.achd.net.

 

 

Is global warming to blame?

 

By: BRIAN SCHEID (Thu, Jun/29/2006)

 

Environmentalists believe the Delaware River's recent proclivity for flooding might not be a fluke, but a sign of things to come.

If development continues to flourish in Bucks County and global warming trends continue, flooding on the Delaware might become even more frequent, according to interviews with a half-dozen environmentalists Wednesday.

“It feels like the 50-year-flood is becoming the every-other-week flood,” said David Masur, director of PennEnvironment, a statewide advocacy group.

His comments came Wednesday, as riverfront communities braced for the third major flood since September 2004.

However, just two months ago, the river was flowing near all-time low levels and the state was mired in a drought watch.

Those rapid extremes on the river and the frequency of major flooding could be signs of the impact of global warming in Bucks, according to Kert Davies, a research director for Greenpeace, one of the world's best known environmental action groups.

“Global warming is like putting the weather system on steroids,” Davies said. “It makes droughts more intense, floods more intense and storms more intense and all of it more frequent.”

Masur said the intensity of this week's flooding may have been accelerated by the county's development boom. As more wetlands, farmlands and river and stream banks are paved over, the amount of rainfall absorbed is slashed, forcing more storm runoff into rivers, creeks and streams.

“If you take away the sponge and replace it with concrete and asphalt, then it makes sense that the water has no place to go and you'll have these problems,” Masur said.

“We've just decreased the land's ability to slow the flow of water when you have a heavy rain,” said Janet Milkman, president of 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, a statewide nonprofit conservation group.

Jeff Schmidt, director of the Sierra Club's Pennsylvania chapter, said several municipalities statewide are beginning to address the problem by building better stormwater retention basins and considering requiring parking lots that can absorb rainwater and minimize runoff.

Still, Schmidt admitted, the problem is getting worse, not better.

“Every community wants to get this water away from them, but they're not thinking about what's happening downstream,” Schmidt said. “Everybody lives downstream from somebody else.”

Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, said there is no way to stop flooding, even with dams or levies. She said the only way to stop flood damage is to end development in the flood plain, including in some of the most vulnerable riverfront communities — such as Yardley and New Hope.

“I'm not saying that because of development we would not have had this flood, but absolutely, development makes the problem worse,” van Rossum said. “The only way communities are going to be protected from these floods is if they're not there and that is, for some, a painful reality.”

Brian Scheid can be reached at 215-949-4165 or bscheid@phillyBurbs.com.

 

 

 

Emergency Coal Waste Basin at PPL Martins Creek Power Plant Springs a Leak; Coal Fired Units Shut Down!

 

Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) was notified last night that the back up basin that was being used by PPL to store the coal fly ash from the company's coal fired units and to hold the fly ash from the clean up of the polluted sludge from its disastrous blowout 14 days ago has "sprung a leak".As a result, PPL has shut down its coal-fired units at the facility.

 

DRN has advocated for the shut down of the coal fired units since the blow out occurred August 25 and for the company to stop using the back-up basin for the coal waste because the basin is not built to present-day standards.

 

"We are outraged that PPL and PADEP allowed the use of this substandard basin for the coal fly ash and other industrial wastes that they may deposit there", said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper."This new breakage in the back-up basin is absolute proof that there is inadequate oversight on this site by the company and the PADEP.Action must be taken to get control of this site in an environmentally safe manner immediately before there's a repeat of the basin blowout," said van Rossum.

 

"At this point the entire facility should be shut down and the use of all basins must cease", said Tracy Carluccio, Director of Special projects for DRN."The PPL plant is a continuing disaster and the Delaware River and the river communities must not be subjected to any further disasters.This facility has to be taken completely off line", said Carluccio.Carluccio reported that she was unable to reach any personnel form PADEP for information.

 

Both van Rossum and Carluccio are investigating the site today.

 

 

 

Lure of river has ebbs, flows for pro fisherman

 

Monday, September 12, 2005

By SARA LEITCH

The Express-Times

 

When the dam on a PPL Corp. ash basin at its Martins Creek power plant failed, dumping millions of gallons of sludge into the Delaware River, it was the fishermen who noticed first.

 

"It's brutal, it's really ugly," professional fisherman Blaine Mengel, 36, said nearly two weeks ago, shortly after the five-day spill began.

 

For Mengel, who offers fishing trips on the Delaware, Schuylkill and Susquehanna rivers through his Backwoods Angler service, a toxic spill can mean lost revenue. He had to reschedule a few customers and these days is going upriver of Martins Creek before he lets customers drop their hooks.

 

"I've had to go above the spill, in the lower portion of the Water Gap, to run my trips," he said. "We averaged 40-plus smallmouth a trip."

 

Mengel's customers are catch-and-release fishermen, especially when it comes to the smallmouth bass. While the Delaware is also known for shad and walleye, the smallmouth is Mengel's favorite fish.

 

"It has more fight and scrappiness about it than just about any freshwater fish of its size," he said. "Because they live in the river, they live in the current, that makes them that much stronger."

 

Mengel, who lives in Bethlehem, should know. He grew up fishing in the Poconos with his grandfather, then started trout fishing on the Bushkill Creek when he was a teenager.

 

"That just got displaced when I caught some smallmouth out there. I was hooked from that point," he said.

 

Although he's been fishing for decades, Mengel has only been doing it professionally for the last six years. He began in 1999, taking fishermen on day trips while working as a certified ophthalmic assistant at the Lehigh Valley Eye Center. After a couple of years, he decided to quit his job and guide full time.

 

"It came to the point, when I had no vacation days or personal days left to use, I had to make a decision," Mengel said. "It's not good for patients when the person that's working on their eyes is thinking about fish."

 

It was a risky and difficult decision, he said, and one that his wife, Karen, 37, wasn't too excited about. But, Mengel said, after a lot of thought and soul-searching, he knew it was a chance he had to take.

 

"I tried to look at it in a spiritual way," he said. "I didn't listen to all the lies in my head, I listened to the people God put in my life."

 

While his career switch has worked out well -- and Mengel admits he shouldn't complain about fishing for a living -- he adds that being a river guide can be just as demanding as any desk job.

 

"My job is a lot of work," he said. "It's a lot more than fishing. I do trade shows all winter long. It's a 12-month-a-year deal."

 

In the weeks since the Martins Creek spill, Mengel said he's seen plenty of PPL workers out in the river cleaning up ash. And he's seen plenty of fish, too, although he worries about possible long-term impact on the river's ecosystem.

 

"Today I put my boat in at Sandt's Eddy and had 10 fish before I started the outboard," Mengel said Wednesday. "There's a gray matt of silt in the calmer water areas, it seems the faster water areas, the rapids and riffles, have been filtered out."

 

Mengel and others like him can help environmental advocates develop a sense of what's happening on the river, said Tracy Carluccio, of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, an organization devoted to protecting and restoring the river.

 

"Today we reported new information to PPL and to the Pennsylvania DEP about the ash slurry now being found in the deeper pools of the river at Bull's Island," Carluccio said.

 

Bull's Island is about nine miles south of Frenchtown. That's the farthest south anyone has reported seeing ash from the spill, Carluccio said.

 

"We're getting great information from these fishermen who are on the water and experience what's happening on the water firsthand," she said. "These are the folks that know what's going on hour by hour.

 

The riverkeeper network has been collecting reports and passing them on to PPL and the DEP to be used in the study of the leak. Reporter Sara Leitch can be reached at 908-475-8044 or by e-mail at sleitch@express-times.com.

 

 

 

New Orleans has become part of the Gulf of Mexico

Sidney Blumenthal Friday September 2, 2005 The Guardian


Biblical in its uncontrolled rage and scope, the storm has left millions of Americans to scavenge for food and shelter, and hundreds reportedly dead. With its main levee broken, the evacuated city of New Orleans has become part of the Gulf of Mexico. But the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina may not entirely be the result of an act of nature.

A year ago the US army corps of engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken. After a flood killed six people in 1995, the Congress created the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project. Operated by the corps of engineers, levees and pumping stations were strengthened and renovated. In 2001, when George Bush became president, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report stating that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely potential disasters - after a terrorist attack on New York City. But by 2003 the federal funding essentially dried up as it was drained into the Iraq war. By 2004, the Bush administration cut the corps of engineers' request for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than 80%. By the beginning of this year, the administration's additional cuts, reduced by 44% since 2001, forced the corps to impose a hiring freeze. The Senate debated adding funds for fixing levees, but it was too late.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which before the hurricane published a series on the federal funding problem - whose presses are underwater and can now only put out an online edition - has reported: "No one can say they didn't see it coming ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."

The Bush administration's policy of turning over wetlands to developers almost certainly has contributed to the heightened level of the storm surge. In 1990, a federal task force began restoring lost wetlands around New Orleans. Every two miles of wetland between the Crescent City and the Gulf reduces a surge by half a foot. Bush promised a "no net loss" wetland policy, which had been launched by his father's administration and bolstered by President Clinton. But he reversed the approach in 2003, unleashing the developers. The army corps of engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency announced they could no longer protect wetlands unless they were somehow related to interstate commerce. In response to this potential crisis, four leading environmental groups conducted a study that concluded in 2004 that without wetlands protection New Orleans could be devastated by an ordinary - much less a category four or five - hurricane. "There's no way to describe how mindless a policy that is when it comes to wetlands protection," said one of the report's authors. The chairman of the White House's council on environmental quality dismissed the study as "highly questionable", and boasted: "Everybody loves what we're doing."

"My administration's climate change policy will be science-based," President Bush declared. But in 2002, when the Environmental Protection Agency submitted a study on global warming to the UN, reflecting its expert research, Bush derided it as "a report put out by a bureaucracy", and excised the climate change assessment from its annual report. The next year, when the EPA issued its first comprehensive Report on the Environment, stating: "Climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment", the White House simply removed the line and all such conclusions. At the G8 meeting in Gleneagles this year, Bush stymied any common action on global warming. But scientists have continued to accumulate impressive data on the rising temperature of the oceans, producing more severe hurricanes.

In February 2004, 60 scientists warned in a statement, Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policymaking: "Successful application of science has played a large part in the policies that have made the US the world's most powerful nation and its citizens increasingly prosperous and healthy ... Indeed, this principle has long been adhered to by presidents and administrations of both parties in forming and implementing policies. The administration of George W Bush has, however, disregarded this principle . The distortion of scientific knowledge for partisan political ends must cease..." Bush ignored the statement.

In the two weeks preceding the storm, the trumping of science by ideology and expertise by special interests accelerated. The Federal Drug Administration announced it was postponing sale of the morning-after pill, despite overwhelming scientific evidence of its safety and approval by the FDA's scientific advisory board.

The UN special envoy for HIV/Aids in Africa accused the Bush administration of responsibility for a condom shortage in Uganda as a result of pushing its evangelical Christian agenda of "abstinence". The chief of the board of justice statistics in the justice department was ordered by the White House to delete its study that African-Americans and minorities are subject to racial profiling in police traffic stops. He refused to concede and was forced to quit. When the army's chief contracting oversight analyst objected to a $7bn no-bid contract awarded for work in Iraq to Halliburton, she was demoted despite her superior professional ratings.

On the day the levee burst in New Orleans, Bush delivered a speech comparing the Iraq war to the second world war and himself to Franklin D Roosevelt: "And he knew that the best way to bring peace and stability to the region was by bringing freedom to Japan." Bush had boarded his very own Streetcar Named Desire.

· Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is author of The Clinton Wars

 

 

Plant's pollutants head downriver

Ash spill reported in Frenchtown. Officials say it will take time to determine its effects.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
By SARA LEITCH
The Express-Times

HARMONY TWP. -- The true impact of the ash spill from PPL Corp.'s Martins Creek power plant may not be known for some time, environmental officials said Monday.

The leak, which began Aug. 23 and was stopped early Saturday morning, dumped more than 50 million gallons of water from a settling basin for ash from the plant's coal-fired units into the Delaware River.

Normally, the ash settles into sludge at the bottom and clean water at the top of the basin flows through a pipe into the Delaware River. But before workers stopped the leak, sludge was flowing through the pipe as well.

The material has spread downriver as far as Frenchtown, said Tracy Carluccio, of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, an organization devoted to protecting and restoring the river.

"This is a huge disaster for the river and for the people who live along the river," Carluccio said. "People shouldn't be out there in the water and catching fish in the water."

The ash is composed of fine particles of dust and soot from burning coal or oil. It can contain arsenic, mercury, lead and other potentially harmful materials. Arsenic is easily absorbed by water. Arsenic exposure has been linked to several types of cancer.

PPL is taking water samples every two hours at points between Martins Creek and the intake for the Easton Suburban Water Authority, PPL spokesman Paul Wirth said. The company is testing for a wide range of materials, including arsenic, he said. Results show the water is safe for drinking.

A test of river water in Easton at 3:15 p.m. Friday found a reading of 43.4 parts per billion, Wirth said. Two hours later, the number was down to 31 ppb and by 10:30 p.m. it was at 21 ppb, Wirth said. Tests of treated water in the Easton plant could not detect any arsenic.

Current federal drinking water standards limit arsenic to 50 parts per billion, but that number will fall to 10 parts per billion in January. At the same time, New Jersey's limit will decrease to 5 parts per billion.

To make sure no more ash gets into the river, PPL has removed the ash left on its cornfields and roads, Wirth said. The company has also removed ash from a dry streambed and placed a dam at the end so rainwater won't carry any remaining ash into the Delaware River.

"We've done pretty much anything we can," Wirth said. "Any place where ash was deposited on the land the cleanup is under way."

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is overseeing the process, Wirth said. He invited people who worry the spill affected their wells or property to call PPL at 800-DIAL-PPL. The company will clean up boats and docks and test wells, he said.

"We're going to do what it takes to make it right," Wirth said. "That's just the way PPL does business."

The Pennsylvania DEP is the lead agency responding to the spill. Over the weekend, the DEP made sure the company removed ash on its property before it dried and became airborne, spokesman Mike Bedrin said.

"They had a fleet of about 30 dump trucks working over the weekend," Bedrin said.

Any cleanup plans for the river itself will have to wait until Normandeau Associates, a New Hampshire-based consulting firm that has worked for more than 50 power companies, finishes its assessment of the spill, Bedrin said.

"Those kinds of decisions will in part be made after we get this more thorough assessment of what's actually happening with this material in the river," he said.

Wirth said PPL wasn't sure how long the assessment would take to complete.

Environmental advocate Carluccio said it might take time for the full impact of the spill to become clear. Though Bedrin said observers have reported no kills of fish or waterfowl, Carluccio said fish might start dying if the ash that settled at the riverbed covers plants they feed on.

"Whenever there is a sediment coating deposited on the bottom of the river it has adverse environmental impacts on the life of the river," Carluccio said.

In addition, chemicals in the ash could leach into the water to be ingested by fish, she said.

"Then they're transformed into toxic pollutants that make their way up the food chain to the human being that finally eats the fish," Carluccio said.

Milford resident Don Hardy, who has lived on the Delaware River since 1976, said he was disgusted by the spill.

"There's a gray carpet coating the whole bottom of the river," Hardy said. "This is a major mess. Twenty-five years of effort of cleaning up this river has just gone down the tubes."

PPL spokesman Wirth said the company planned to redesign the drains on other ash basins so a similar uncontrollable leak wouldn't happen again.

"There was a malfunction of the drain mechanism in this basin," Wirth said. "We intend to fix it, not only on this basin but on any other basin at any other plant that has the same situation."

Hardy said he hoped the power company would punish those who allowed the spill to happen.

"Somebody was asleep at the wheel and caused irreparable damage," he said. "The people who are responsible are going to feel no pain in this. The people who are going to feel it are the people paying for the electricity."

 

Reporter Sara Leitch can be reached at 908-475-8044 or by e-mail at sleitch@express-times.com.

 


 
© 2005  The Express Times
© 2005 PennLive.com All Rights Reserved.

 

 


 

PPL says water safe as workers try to stop leak
 

Fly ash from pipe turning Delaware River milky gray. Crews working around the clock.
 

Friday, August 26, 2005
By SARA LEITCH
The Express-Times
 

 

HARMONY TWP. -- Downstream from PPL Corp.'s Martins Creek power plant, neighbors looked at the milky gray water flowing past their homes Thursday and wondered what was happening to the Delaware River.

"It looks like chalk," said Christina Christison, who lives beside the river on Davidson Lane. "It's not right."

Across the river and a few hundred yards upstream, a dozen workers in white hardhats and yellow boots were spreading straw inside a floating boom made of long orange balloons. They were trying to contain the fly ash pouring into the river from a nearby pipe connected to a settling basin at the plant.

The leak began about 10 or 11 p.m. Tuesday when a wooden gate inside the man-made lake, which is more than 1,500 feet long and several hundred feet wide, sprang a leak. About 28 million gallons of water have poured from the basin each day since the leak began, spokeswoman Connie Walker said.

The power company uses the basin to turn the fly ash from its coal-fired units into sludge that can be taken from the site. As sludge settles out, clean water at the top of the pool is released through a pipe into the Delaware River. Usually, the gate inside the pond controls the flow through the pipe.

The increased flow created turbulence inside the pond, stirring up fly ash that had settled to the bottom and making it hard for PPL crews to stop the leak, Walker said.

"We're having some problems, but we're working around the clock," Walker said. "We believe the leak is 150 feet into the pond; it's not like we can just walk out there."

Divers weren't able to stop the leak Wednesday. On Thursday afternoon, PPL planned to use a crane to lower a 3,000-pound metal plate across the leak. But the helicopter called in to assist was unable to place the metal plate, she said.

As of 9 p.m. Thursday, the helicopter was able to help workers put 6 one-ton sands bags across the leak, Walker said. PPL workers planned to continue placing the sand bags throughout the night.

Water samples taken by PPL and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection showed preliminary results with low levels of arsenic. The state's safe drinking water standards allow for 50 ppb of arsenic; the preliminary results of Thursday's tests showed 16 ppb.

Walker also said the two residential wells nearby that were tested Thursday came back with clear results.

In the meantime, Walker said, the company was offering bottled water to neighbors of the plant. She said people who want to swim in the river should use common sense.

"At this point we would say take the extra precaution, if the water looks really dirty, of probably not going in right now," she said.

The Easton Suburban Water Authority put a mandatory water restriction in effect Thursday night so the system could operate on stored water supplied until the leak is fixed. Authority officials called this a precautionary step and said there were no concerns regarding water quality, only quantity of stored water. The water restriction will remain in effect until further notice.

The DEP said its investigation would continue after the leak was fixed.

"Obviously it's had a visual impact on the river, but until we get a chance to review our results and PPL's, it's going to be hard to speculate on what short-term or long-term impact this might have," DEP spokesman Mark Carmon said. "We haven't heard of any fish kills. It's a big river, there's a lot of water. You never know if this might have some type of aquatic impact on either plant life or fish or the insects."

Fly ash contains metals like mercury. In previous incidents, the DEP has found the ash doesn't dissolve in the water but silts out.

"Fly ash is relatively inert and the metals will tend not to come out in solution with the water," Carmon said. Because it is a solid, silty material we re going to need some short- and long-term biological profiles. PPL s also going to have to deal with the material on the ground as it flowed down to the river you ll have a nuisance, dust problems. Repo"



© 2005 The Express Times
© 2005 PennLive.com All Rights Reserved.
 

 

 

 


 

 

CHARGE STANDS IN FELLING OF 600 TREES

Date: 040831
From: http://www.northjersey.com/

By Kibret Markos, Staff Writer, August 31, 2004

A Hackensack judge on Monday refused to throw out charges against a
Fort Lee currency trader accused of cutting trees on public parkland
to build a tennis court.

In a written opinion, state Superior Court Judge John Conte sided with
prosecutors' argument that the destruction of the trees constitutes
theft.

The lawyers for Andrew Krieger had contended that cutting trees
amounts to the less serious offense of criminal mischief.

"This is the first time in the history of this state that an
individual has been charged with stealing where the underlying facts
are cutting of trees," Krieger's lawyer, Jay Fischer, had said during
a Feb. 23 hearing.

However, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Michael Maher had argued
that the damage done was in excess of $75,000, which makes it a
second-degree offense that, upon conviction, carries a penalty of up
to 10 years in prison.

Krieger is accused of taking down more than 600 trees and plowing a
mile-long trail on a tract of land adjacent to his $4.2 million
mansion in Alpine. Prosecutors said Krieger ordered the trees cut
after he failed to secure a deal to buy the land from the Palisades
Interstate Park Commission.

Conte additionally denied a request that the case be heard outside
Bergen County. Krieger's lawyers argued that The Record's coverage of
the arrest, indictment, and court proceedings has created hostile
publicity that could deny Krieger a fair trial.

They also argued that The Record and the Palisades Interstate Park
Commission could "contaminate the jury pool" because Malcolm A. Borg,
publisher of The Record, is a member of the commission.

Conte disagreed.

"This case simply is not one of those relatively rare instances in
which realistic likelihood of prejudice exists or actual prejudice has
been demonstrated," he said. "Defendant has failed to present evidence
that, as the result of pretrial publicity, trial before a fair and
impartial jury could not occur in Bergen County."

Fischer has said he will challenge Conte's rulings in appellate court.

Conte scheduled the next hearing for Oct. 25.

* * *

Email: markos@northjersey.com
Copyright (c) 2004 North Jersey Media Group Inc

 


 

 

 

Bush Changing all the rules

 

Click here if your stomach can take it!

 

 


 


Raptor folks thrilled 

Monday, February 09, 2004

By JEAN JONES 
Staff Writer 

COMMERCIAL TWP. -- Winter loosened her hold on South Jersey Saturday just in time for the 4th annual Winter Raptor Festival. 

The day dawned sunny and relatively mild, compared to recent temperatures and, although it turned colder later in the day, those who turned out early had just about ideal conditions. 


"It was the most beautiful sunrise I've ever seen," said one participant in the 7 a.m. sunrise birding trip to Turkey Point, in Downe Township. 

By 9 a.m., birders were gathering at the observation sites in four areas -- one on the Maurice River Township side of the Mauricetown bridge, one at Newport Landing, two at Dividing Creek, at the Maple Avenue impoundments and Turkey Point, and one at Port Norris, at the PSE&G wetlands restoration project off Strawberry Avenue. 

The bald eagles most people came to see didn't disappoint. 

At the Mauricetown bridge, one adult sat immobile in a tree with a spotting scope trained on him for a good bit of the morning, immediate gratification for those mainly interested in eagles. 

Others flew over, an immature pair circling, swooping and tumbling in the air, engaging in play. 

"Watch and you may see them lock talons," said Lloyd Shaw, one of the Cape May Bird Observatory guides present at each observation site. 

The guides pointed out the various birds as they appeared -- a Great Blue Heron, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Black Backed and Herring Gulls, a Northern Harrier and other hawks and shorebirds, described their identifying marks and pointed those with binoculars toward the best sights. 

There was ice spanning the Maurice River, but Friday's rain and milder temperatures left open water in places. The buff brown stalks of phragmites, or reed grass, blew in the breeze, their tasseled heads tattered by recent winds. 

It was a good day to be birding. 

Steve Clare of Franklinville said he and sons Steve Jr. and Travis wanted to take pictures. Shaw directed Travis to stand on a box and look at the perched eagle through the scope. 

"The first time you saw a bald eagle?" he asked, Travis nodded his head. Shaw gave him a "high five" and Travis left smiling. 

Shaw told visitors to come back for the Purple Martin Festival in August, describing the incredible number of birds that staged here last year during their migration. 

"It was more birds than I ever saw in one place at the same time in all my life," he marveled. 

Mary Jane and Chuck Slugg were CMBO guides at the Maple Avenue site, but stopped by the bridge before moving on. 

Slugg later said her group watched two eagles tending a nest all day. There also were eagles on a nest at Newport Landing, she said. 

"They weren't incubating yet," she said, "but both were at the nest." 

Attendance at the lectures was standing room only. Steve Eisenhauer's slides giving a raptor's eye view of the area provided new perspective for old scenes. Taken by radio-controlled kite, blow-ups of several of the pictures were given as awards later at the evening dinner. 

Pat Sutton's keynote talk on her 26 years of exploring Cumberland County made the inevitable comparison with Cape May, the birding Mecca of the Eastern U.S. 

Cape May County has the draw -- the birds, the lighthouse and the historic district -- but it also has the crowds, she said. Cumberland County has its natural wild areas minus the crowds. 

Clay Sutton spoke not only of "All About Eagles," his lecture title, but also about raptors in general and identification tips for distinguishing between them. 

The annual shorebird migration was the topic of David Misrohi and Karen Williams told her audience how to create habitat for not just birds, but other wildlife as well. 

Jane Morton Galetto concluded the day of lectures with "Eggs to Flight: the Maurice River Osprey Colony." 

The Maurice River colony is the most productive in the state, thanks to the many osprey nest platforms erected by Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and its Tributaries, of which Galetto is president. 

She also assists the Endangered and Nongame Species Program in banding the chicks. 

In addition to the lectures, the fire house truck bays housed the food concession. Firemen prepared a variety of seafood platters, as well as the more common hot dogs and hamburgers. 

In the other half of the facility, vendors and exhibitors shared space with live raptors brought by the Cohanzick Zoo, the Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge and wildlife rehabilitator Steve Serwatka. 

Serwatka brought a Kestrel, a Barn Owl, Screech Owl, Great Horned Owl, a Barred Owl, a Red-tailed Hawk, tarantula and a king snake, which happened to shed its skin during the festival. 

Nine-year-old Brooke Decker of Millville was fascinated, 

"It shed right before her eyes," said mom Barbara Decker. "She didn't want to let it go." 

Serwatka's Great Horned Owl twittered angrily at being removed from its cage and the Barn Owl was even more irate, as he displayed and described each species. 

While many visitors were from the surrounding area, others came from some distance to participate. 

Scott Eves, of the Commercial Township Environmental Commission, which manned the reception table and sold souvenir T-shirts, said some came from North Jersey and others from Pennsylvania. 

One man listed his address as San Francisco. 

The crowd has grown each year, as former visitors return, usually bringing friends. 

"I'm going to go and look at the outside birds now," said Leslie Nerz, of Richland. 

"This is just wonderful," said Barbara Vance, of North Wildwood. as she also browsed the displays. 

Cumberland County Public Information Officer Glenn Nickerson estimated easily 1,000 people participated. 

Children could make a free raptor magnet while parents shopped, compliments of the Cumberland County Cultural and Heritage Commission. 

There were birdhouses, jewelry, prints and photographs, paintings and bird-themed clothing. Falcon Tours of Costa Rica tried to lure people to sign up for a trip to warmer climes. 

"This is no doubt the biggest crowd I've seen. It just gets better and better," said freeholder director Doug Rainear.

 


 

 

N.J. leaders want more public comment on nerve agent disposal 

The Associated Press 
1/15/2004, 11:35 a.m. ET 

CARNEYS POINT, N.J. (AP) — Several top New Jersey officials want the public to have more say on a U.S. Army plan to discharge the neutralized residue of a deadly Cold War-era nerve agent into the Delaware River.

U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine and U.S. Reps. Rob Andrews, D-Haddon Heights, and Frank LoBiondo, R-Vineland, sent a letter to the Department of the Army on Wednesday asking for more time for public comment on the plan to bring remnants of a stockpile of VX nerve agent in Indiana to a DuPont facility in Salem County.

Gov. James E. McGreevey made a similar request on Wednesday.

"Given the current apprehension and the uncertainty about the safety of this process I urge you to hold a public hearing as a first step to open a dialogue with the government and citizens of New Jersey on this important matter," McGreevey's letter said.

DuPont's Secure Environmental Treatment operations has placed a bid to dispose of the VX liquid. Army officials say the earliest a contract could be awarded is Jan. 21.

The nerve agent was produced before President Nixon issued a moratorium on chemical weapons production in 1969.

A single drop of liquid VX can cause paralysis and death within a few minutes. After the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the government has sped up the disposal of such chemicals for fear they might be targeted in future attacks. More than 1,200 tons of the liquid are stored at the Newport Chemical Depot in Indiana, where it was produced.

Under the proposal that would bring it to New Jersey, the material would first be neutralized in Indiana by mixing it with hot water and sodium hydroxide. The resulting chemical would be hydrolysate, which scientists compare to liquid drain cleaner.

That substance would be hauled to New Jersey where DuPont would remove remaining chemicals from the liquid and dump what's left into the Delaware River.

Terry Arthur, a spokeswoman for the Newport depot, said the residue that would go into the river would be virtually pure water.

"What we want to make perfectly clear is that we are not shipping nerve agent for treatment anywhere," Arthur told the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill.

If DuPont gets the contract, the liquid would come in on trucks and trains late in the year. The disposal project would take about a year.

Previously, there was a plan to discharge the hydrolysate into sewers in Dayton Ohio, but a public backlash prompted the Army to give up on the idea.

Environmentalists have been gearing up already to contest the New Jersey disposal.

"This sounds like a very dangerous process with the possibility of harm to the river, to aquatic life in the river and to the people who depend on the river," Maya van Rossum of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network told the Courier-Post.

Information from: Courier-Post


 

 

GOVERNOR MCGREEVEY THANKS NJ VOTERS 

FOR SUPPORTING OPEN SPACE

Successful ballot initiative will help stop sprawl, save open space, drinking water, farms, parks

November 5, 2003


(FORT LEE) - After spending weeks advocating for the passage of Public
Question No. 1, Governor James E. McGreevey today celebrated its passage
as a victory for open space, farmland, drinking water and parks. The
initiative, which will provide an additional $150 million for open space
and park projects, is part of the Governor's ongoing efforts to stop
sprawl and improve the quality of life.

At General Van Fleet Park in Fort Lee, the Governor was joined by the
Coalition for Conservation, Department of Environmental Protection
Commissioner Brad Campbell, Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus,
and local athletes and students as he thanked New Jersey's voters for
approving the measure.

"Today is a good day for our families, for our environment and for our
future," said McGreevey. "Yesterday, the public voted against sprawl and
in support of open space, farms and parks. The passage of Public
Question No. 1 is a great victory for not only our drinking water and
open space, but most importantly, for our children and generations to
come. Thank you for your support."

Yesterday, voters approved an additional $150 million for open space
purchases and community park improvements. Public Question No. 1, a
constitutional amendment, will increase the bonding capacity of the
Garden State Preservation Trust to $1.15 billion, an increase of $150
million from the $1 billion voters approved in 1998. The increased
capacity will place no additional tax burden on New Jersey taxpayers.
The sales tax dedicated in 1998 to pay off Garden State Preservation
Trust bonds will cover these additional bonds by taking advantage of
today's lower interest rates.

Also yesterday, voters approved 32 out of 38 local open space ballot
questions, including the two county questions in Bergen and Hudson and
30 out of 36 local questions.

Instrumental in the initiative's passage was the newly formed Coalition
for Conservation, a broad base of statewide and local groups
representing land conservation, parks and recreation, and farmland
preservation interests.

Michael Catania, Chairman of the Coalition for Conservation said, "Once
again, the voters of New Jersey have demonstrated their concern for
maintaining our quality of life by preserving open space, farmland and
community parks. On behalf of the Coalition, I'd like to thank all those
who supported Public Question # 1 and the benefits it will provide to
communities across the Garden State." 

With the passage of Public Question No. 1, at least $50 million will be
used to create and improve parks in cities and suburbs as part of
Governor McGreevey's reforms to the Green Acres program. In addition, a
minimum of $50 million would be spent on open space purchases and
farmland preservation in the Highlands, a critical environmental
resource that is the source of drinking water for more than a third of
New Jersey's residents.

"Voters yesterday couldn't have been more clear in their support for
Governor McGreevey's open space initiatives," said Campbell. "A large
portion of the extra $150 million voters approved will help local
governments create and upgrade community parks like this one, parks that
are so important to the quality of life in our urban and suburban
communities."

"New Jersey is a national leader in farmland preservation, with more
than 13 percent of the state's agricultural land permanently protected,"
said Kuperus. "The passage of Public Question No. 1 allows us to build
on that success to save even more farms, protect the quality of life in
our communities and keep New Jersey green and growing." 

Last year, the State could provide only $1 in Green Acres funding for
every $8 requested by local governments to acquire and upgrade local
parks. This additional money will help meet New Jersey's growing demand
for open space.

In 1998, voters approved a constitutional dedication of $98 million
annually from sales and use tax revenue over the next 30 years to
provide a stable source of funding for open space purchases, farmland
preservation and historic preservation. Currently, the state may borrow
up to $1 billion over the first 10 years, using the $98 million to pay
off the debt. With today's low interest rates, $98 million is sufficient
to cover payments on $1.15 billion in debt, allowing the state to expand
its open space and farmland preservation efforts.

In his State of the State speech, Governor McGreevey set a goal of
creating or improving 200 community parks. The Green Acres program now
places a higher priority on acquiring and upgrading parks in communities
with at least 35,000 residents or population densities greater than
5,000 people per square mile. 

Fort Lee, with a population of 35,461, is an example of this focus. 
Already, $600,000 in loans and grants for improvements to Van Fleet and
Monument parks has been approved by DEP and the Green Acres program, and
is awaiting final approval by the legislature.

"Since taking office, we have worked hard to protect open space and
preserve farms all over New Jersey," said McGreevey. "We've acquired
over 1,977 acres of open space and over 1,160 acres of farmland per
month since January 2002."

Since Governor McGreevey took office last year, the state Green Acres
program has acquired 43,492 acres of open space, and the State
Agriculture Development Committee has preserved 312 farms covering
25,676 acres. This includes 216 acres of farmland and more than 800
acres of open space in Bergen County since January 2002. The Governor
has also placed the highest protection possible-C1 designation-on 40
percent of the state's drinking water, including the Oradell Reservoir,
which serves 750,000 Bergen and Hudson residents.

###

 

 

 

 

 


NEW JERSEY SUES BUSH ADMINISTRATION ON GLOBAL WARMING

Challenges EPA's Refusal to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 

Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General

Division of Law 
Paul P. Josephson, Director

For Immediate Release: For Further Information October 23, 2003

Contact: Peter Aseltine (609) 292-4791

TRENTON - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey has joined with Attorneys General from 10 other states, the District of Columbia and American Samoa to formally challenge the Bush Administration on its failure to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, the leading cause of global warming. California, two major cities and a group of prominent environmental organizations are filing separate challenges today against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Today's suit is the latest in a series of actions that New Jersey has taken with other states to compel the Bush Administration to address the ever-increasing problem of global warming. The coordinated actions against EPA involve the largest coalition of states, cities and environmental groups to collaborate on this issue to date. While acknowledging the negative impacts of global warming, the Bush Administration has yet to take any concrete action to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"Once again, the Bush Administration has turned its back on the environment and the health of Americans by deliberately undermining the Clean Air Act," said Governor James E. McGreevey. "We will not turn our backs on this issue. We're going to fight to protect New Jerseyans and our precious natural resources." 

"The Bush Administration erroneously claims that it lacks the statutory authority under the Clean Air Act to address the very real threat that greenhouse gases and global warming pose to our environment, our health and our future," said Attorney General Harvey. "In fact, two prior EPA General Counsel have said EPA does have such authority. What we have is not a lack of authority, but a complete abdication by EPA of its responsibility to protect the environment." 

"In light of the Bush Administration's retreat on regulating CO2 emissions, Governor McGreevey is leading a multi-state, bipartisan effort to establish a regional cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Northeast. New Jersey, as a coastal state, has long recognized the threat that global climate change presents not only to the environment but also to the economy and the health of our citizens," said New Jersey Environmental Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell.

Today, New Jersey and the other participating parties filed legal challenges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to two decisions that EPA issued on August 28. In the first ruling, EPA concluded that it has no statutory authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. This ruling expressly contradicts EPA's conclusion - repeatedly voiced to Congress in 1998, 1999 and 2000 - that the agency does, in fact, have the legal power to regulate such emissions. 

In the second ruling, EPA denied an administrative petition that several environmental groups had filed in 1999 requesting that the agency regulate greenhouse gases from cars and other "mobile sources." In its decision, EPA relied in part on its conclusion that EPA lacked authority to regulate greenhouse gases. EPA also cited its belief that regulating greenhouse gases is bad policy and relied in part on its separate conclusion that it is prohibited from mandating decreases in greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles by the federal law that sets fuel efficiency standards. 

The states argue that EPA has clear statutory authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, as the agency earlier concluded; that there is no prohibition on EPA's mandating reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from cars; and that the agency has failed to justify its policy of inaction.

New Jersey was among 11 states that raised their concerns about global warming in a July 2002 letter to the Bush Administration. In that letter, Attorneys General for the states identified climate change as the "most pressing environmental challenge of the 21st century." Pointing to a May 2002 report confirming the dangers of global warming, the state Attorneys General urged President Bush to act immediately and take a "strong national approach" to the problem. The report, U.S. Climate Action Report 2002, confirms the dangers of global climate change and projects that its primary cause, emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide produced from the combustion of fossil fuels, will increase by 43 percent by 2020.

According to the U.S. Climate Action Report, global warming can result in:

· Increased Temperatures. Average temperatures have already increased by one degree Fahrenheit over the past century, and are projected to increase by five to nine degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. The increase could dramatically change weather patterns in every state and will likely destroy some fragile ecosystems. 

· Rising Sea Levels. Sea levels have already risen four to eight inches over the last century and are projected to rise another 4 to 35 inches during the next century because of global warming. New Jersey's coastline, made up primarily of low-lying barrier islands, is particularly vulnerable to the increased flooding and erosion caused by rising sea levels. Increased coastal flooding could obliterate coastal wetlands and barrier islands. EPA expects the sea level at Atlantic City to rise by 27 inches over the next century, almost double the current rate of sea level rise. 

· Increased Health Risks. The effects of global warming can result in illnesses and deaths associated with temperature extremes, storms, air pollution, water contamination, and diseases carried by mosquitoes, ticks and rodents. A study published last year in the journal Science warns of increased risks from insect-borne diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. Higher temperatures and increased frequency of heat waves may increase the number of heat-related deaths and the incidence of heat-related illnesses. New Jersey, with its irregular, intense heat waves, is particularly susceptible, EPA has noted. 

In response to the lack of initiative at the federal level, some states, including New Jersey, are taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the state level. In August, Governor McGreevey and Commissioner Campbell announced that New Jersey had joined with eight other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to commence a cap and trade program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the participating states.

The 10 states that joined today's petition with New Jersey are Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. 

Three other legal challenges are being filed in court today against EPA by California; two cities, New York City and Baltimore; and a coalition of environmental groups. The environmental groups named in the fourth legal challenge include Bluewater Network, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Center for Technology Assessment, Conservation Law Foundation, Environmental Advocates, Environmental Defense, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, National Environmental Trust, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists and US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). 


New Jersey Seeks Compensation for Natural Resource Damages at Ciba-Geigy Superfund Site

Subject: DEP Press Release: October 2, 2003

For Immediate Release Contact: Fred Mumford
10/02/03 (609) 984-1795

(03/139) Trenton—Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell and Attorney General Peter C. Harvey today announced that New Jersey is pursuing compensation for natural resource damages for ground water contamination at the Ciba-Giegy Superfund site in Dover Township, Ocean County. 

"This action seeks compensation from companies responsible for damages to the Toms River watershed caused by Ciba-Geigy’s dye and resin manufacturing operations,” said Commissioner Campbell. “Ground water is one of New Jersey’s most critical natural resources and contamination at Ciba-Geigy’s site has resulted in lost drinking water supplies for residents in the Toms River area. Accordingly, restoration for Dover has been a high priority for the McGreevey Administration.” 

Under Governor McGreevey's leadership, DEP and the Attorney General’s Office in the Department of Law and Public Safety last week announced a large-scale policy directive to address more than 4,000 potential claims for natural resource damages statewide. The McGreevey Administration has taken aggressive action against responsible parties requiring assessment and restoration of natural resource injuries from contaminated sites across the state.

“We intend to vigorously pursue the state’s claims for natural resource damages,” said Attorney General Harvey. “Where companies have polluted our land or waters, we will hold them responsible for compensating the people of this state and restoring our environment. Working with the Department of Environmental Protection, the Attorney General’s Office will pursue these important environmental claims.”

The state requested that Ciba Speciality Chemicals Corporation and Novartis Corporation, which are liable for discharges of hazardous substances at the Ciba-Geigy site, resolve their natural resource damage liability without the need for judicial action to avoid the time and expense of litigation. The representatives have 10 days to respond upon receipt of the notification, which was sent via certified mail September 30. Ciba-Geigy’s representatives can seek an amicable resolution and meet with the state within a reasonable period of time to discuss preliminary assessments of the companies’ liability and appropriate measures to compensate the public.

If Ciba-Geigy’s representatives fail to respond in the initial 10-day timeframe or if settlement discussions do not prove successful, the state will pursue civil prosecution. This will result in litigation to recover all natural resource damages, penalties, costs, interest and other relief to which the state is legally entitled.

Working to recover compensation on behalf of the residents of New Jersey for the lost use of natural resources caused by industrial pollution, the McGreevey Administration has demonstrated substantial success in addressing natural resource damage claims. During the first year of the Administration, recoveries exceeded the total for the six prior years combined. The state’s newly signed policy directive outlines an accelerated process needed to pursue the thousands of outstanding and potential claims.

"We have aggressively begun pursuit of settlements from polluters beyond cleanup work, finally addressing reparation to the state and its residents for injuries to our natural resources,” said Commissioner Campbell. "An accelerated effort is needed to ensure that a statute of limitations for outstanding claims does not expire and result in the loss of the public's right to compensation."

Natural resource damage is the dollar value of the total restoration that is necessary to compensate the residents of New Jersey for the injury to natural resources. Injuries can be both ecological injuries to wetlands, wildlife, ground water or surface water and human use injuries such as the closure of a waterway to fishing, a beach to swimming or an aquifer to drinking water supply. In addition, restoration may include compensation for the natural resource services lost from the beginning of the injury through the full recovery of the resource.

Ground water injuries are calculated with a formula that estimates the volume of contaminated ground water, the value of the water and duration of the injury to arrive at a settlement amount. New Jersey's Spill Compensation and Control Act requires any entity that has discharged hazardous substances onto the land or into the waters of the state is liable for cleanup and removal costs, as well as the cost of restoring or replacing natural resources injured by the discharge.


Site Background

The Ciba-Geigy site was placed on the National Priorities List of Superfund sites in 1983 due to extensive soil and ground water contamination. An on-site ground water treatment plant began full-scale operation in March 1996. The plant treats approximately 2.5 million gallons per day of contaminated ground water with on-site recharge.

Additional cleanup work is underway at the site that calls for bioremediation of approximately 145,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils and the excavation and off-site disposal of about 32,000 drums. Bioremediation of some ground water and containment of some source areas were also part of the selected remedy.

The Ciba-Geigy Chemical Corporation site is presently owned and operated by the Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation. The site encompasses approximately 1,400 acres, 320 of which are developed, with the remainder consisting of cleared areas, pine barrens and wetlands. >From 1952 to 1990, Ciba-Geigy manufactured dyes, pigments, resins and epoxy additives. In 1988, pigments and dyestuffs manufacturing operations ceased and in December 1990, resins and epoxy manufacturing ceased. The manufacturing buildings were subsequently demolished. All commercial operations at the site ceased in December 1996.

 

Article from the 6/7/2003 issue of the New York Times

June 7, 2003
Sizing Up a Leaky Pipe, From Inside Robot
By ANDREW C. REVKIN


CARMEL, N.Y., June 6 — Slightly battered, but still emitting coded chirps, a small camera-studded robotic submarine was raised from the Delaware Aqueduct this morning after a 15-hour trip seeking leaks in the 58-year-old upstate water tunnel, vital to New York City's water supply.

In coming days, city engineers and consultants will determine if the torpedo-shaped device succeeded in its mission: to photograph every foot of a 45-mile stretch of the aqueduct where water is escaping and — most important — help determine if the seepage threatens the tunnel's integrity.

The aqueduct, hewn over six years from solid rock, is one of the most important links in the city's far-flung system of 19 reservoirs, with the tunnel typically carrying more than half of the water used each day by 9 million people in the city and some of its suburbs.

Leakage of up to 36 million gallons a day was detected starting in 1991. The leaking stretch lies somewhere between the Rondout Reservoir in the Catskills and the West Branch Reservoir, a way station for city-bound water here in Putnam County.

The escaping water is just a small percentage of the 1.3 billion gallons supplied by the system each day, but still equals the daily consumption in Rochester.

Water percolating upward hundreds of feet from tunnel leaks has created wetlands and damp areas in Ulster and Orange counties that endure even in the region's worst droughts.

But the main impetus for the $2.2-million inspection project, city officials said, was the need to determine if the leaks could erode the aqueduct walls and overlying rock.

"Risk analysis using existing data shows we're O.K.," said William Meakin, the chief of facilities improvement for the city Department of Environmental Protection. But, he added, "as with most things, anything engineers build or mankind makes, it deteriorates."

The leaks increased from 1991 to 1997, but in a news release today, the department said they had not grown since then. The department said that "independent engineering analyses have confirmed that the aqueduct is not in danger of collapse."

The statement made it clear, though, that finding and repairing the faulty spots was essential. "If not fixed," the department said, "over many years the leaks could develop into threats to the aqueduct."

Using data and images gathered by the probe, the city will update its risk calculations in coming months. Over all, Mr. Meakin said, "We're confident that something isn't suddenly going to happen."

The project that unfolded over the last 24 hours took three years of planning, tinkering, experimentation and trial runs.

In 1999, city engineers concluded that a new survey was needed. The last inspection took place in 1958, when the 13-foot-diameter tunnel was drained and engineers examined it by driving through its length in a Jeep.

But the risks of draining the tunnel again without knowing the extent of any damage were too great; without the supporting pressure of the water, a wall weakened by the seepage might crumble.

So some means had to be found to survey the conduit while it was still filled with water. With existing technology four years ago, this was impossible.

There was no underwater remote-control robot with a tether longer than six miles.

Although one company offered to drop a piloted mini-sub into the aqueduct, city officials turned it down, saying the risk was too great to send a person on a voyage in a flooded tunnel cutting deep beneath the Shawangunk Mountains and 550 feet beneath the bed of the Hudson River.

The challenge was tackled by marine engineers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, on Cape Cod. Led by Ben G. Allen, the team there had built more than three dozen self-piloting submersibles, mainly for missions like finding mines or charting the sea floor.

Working with ASI Group, a tunnel-inspection company from St. Catharines, Ontario, the Woods Hole engineers devised a specialized device for the project and the means to get it down narrow shafts, one of which was 1,000 feet deep, and up again.

After 16 hours of listening for the probe from shafts along the aqueduct's length, the team now huddled in a cavernous chamber by the shore of the West Branch Reservoir as the 800-pound craft, rose dripping and chirping from a 300-foot-deep, water-filled access shaft.

There was scattered applause. This was the first time anyone had sent an untethered probe through such a long tunnel.

The device's two names reflect the extreme nature of its assignment. City engineers call it Uliisys (pronounced like Homer's hero), for Underwater Linear Infrastructure Investigation System, while its inventors, from Woods Hole, call it Persephone, after the Greek goddess of the underworld.

But there was no time for celebration. The trip through the tunnel had taken two hours longer than the 13 hours they had estimated, and everyone had a theory about what had gone wrong. Jaws were tight.

Immediately, Mr. Allen noticed that one of the eight whisker-like titanium wires radiating from the 9-foot long, 16-inch diameter craft's nose to soften collisions was broken off. A closer look revealed that it had been worn away as the probe apparently scraped along one wall of the tunnel.

The craft had been carefully designed and programmed, using navigational gear and acoustic beacons, to stay dead center in the tunnel so the five cameras ringing its nose could capture a 360-degree  view of its walls.

Had the systems failed before, or after, the probe passed the two regions where leaks were already known to exist?

Team members quickly plugged in a yellow cord to start loading the craft's enormous cache of data, including 160,000 digital  photographs, into computers. The cameras alone held 600 gigabytes of information — as much as 60 fairly capacious desktop  computers.

Roger Stokey, a Woods Hole engineer sitting in a control room in front of a five-foot array of computer screens, began  replaying the probe's trip. Animated graphics showed that the probe held its position in the center of the tunnel until the  point, six miles from the end, where it encountered a short left and right jog — about where it passed deep beneath Route 9  in Fishkill, Dutchess County.

There it collided with one wall and, perhaps through a programming glitch, its rudder stayed to one side, forcing the nose to push against that wall. It scraped along the final miles, not only shaving off one of its whiskers,but also cutting its speed sharply.

"Well, it needs to be a little smarter next time," Mr. Stokey said. "It's aform of insanity to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result."

Luckily, Mr. Stokey noted, it appeared that the earlier part of the mission went fine, including the spots west of the Hudson where the worst leaks were known to lie.

It would take nearly two days using a high-speed connection to transfer all the data from the submersible and many weeks to begin sifting the photographs, he said.

Many people are eager to see the results. Riverkeeper, a private environmental group that, among other things, monitors the city water supply, had been pressing the city for years to press ahead with the tunnel inspection and repairs.

"It's great that they've taken this important first step," said Marc A. Yaggi, the lawyer tracking water-supply issues for the group. "It's very critical that they keep on top of this. If the aqueduct were to collapse, the city could run out of water within 80 days."

At the shaft house near the West Branch Reservoir, the team worked into the night, watching bars bump up on the computer screens as data steadily flowed from the little submarine.

(Photo) Amy Kukulya of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution prepared a robot submarine for its trip back from Putnam County, New York, to Cape Cod yesterday after a 45-mile journey through an aqueduct.

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 6, 2003

CONTACT: Jack Kaskey

609-984-1795

 

 

DEP Urges Public to be Fire Wise as Spring Forest Fire Season Heats Up

 

 

(03/67) TRENTON - Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today warned that the danger of

wildfires is rising sharply as New Jersey's forests dry out from an

unusually wet spring.

 

The state Forest Fire Service has responded so far this year to 396

blazes that burned 790 acres. This is fewer than the 893 wildfires

reported during the same period last year, but the fire frequency has

increased in recent weeks as the forest floor has dried out.

 

"Fire danger is always highest this time of year when plants have not

yet leafed out, allowing the drying rays of the sun to strike the forest

floor," Campbell said. "People need to be particularly careful with

matches and lit cigarettes so they don't unintentionally cause a fire

that could threaten homes and lives."

 

Ninety-nine percent of all wildfires in New Jersey are caused by human

activity, usually carelessness or arson, he noted.

 

The largest wildfires this year include a 275-acre blaze on April 16 in

Waterford, Camden County, and a 90-acre fire on April 15 in Old Bridge,

Middlesex County. On Monday, the Forest Fire Service responded to a

three-acre fire in Monroe Township and a one-acre fire in Waterford

Township, both in Camden County.

 

The fire danger is currently moderate to high, signifying that fires

will start from a lighted match and spread rapidly in dry grass.

DEP Chief State Firewarden Maris Gabliks said wildfire risks increase

with every new structure built in or adjacent to forests. Wildfires can

spread quickly in New Jersey, threatening homes, property, natural

resources and human lives.

 

"Wildfires have the potential to affect entire communities and the

quality of life New Jersey residents enjoy in our forests and open

spaces," Gabliks said.

 

To reduce the risk of fires, people should follow these guidelines:

* Use ashtrays in vehicles. Discarding cigarettes, matches and smoking

materials is a violation of New Jersey law.

 

* Drown campfires. Obtain necessary permits. Don't leave fires

unattended.

 

* Keep matches and lighters away from children and explain to them the

dangers of fire.

 

* People living in the forest should maintain a defensible buffer by

clearing vegetation within 30 feet of any structures. Also, make sure

firetrucks can pass down your driveway.

 

* Report suspicious vehicles and individuals. Arson is a major cause of

forest fires in New Jersey.

 

* Check with your local Forest Firewarden about burning conditions.

Fire permits are required for recreational fires, as well as for

agricultural burning. The New Jersey Air Pollution Control Act prohibits

open burning of rubbish, garbage, trade waste, buildings, fallen timber

and leaves or plants. For information on obtaining permits for

recreational or agricultural burning, call the nearest DEP Forest Fire

 

Office:

 

* Northern Forest Fire Headquarters in Franklin, Sussex County, (973)

827-6100

* Central Forest Fire Headquarters in New Lisbon, Burlington County,

(609) 726-9010

* Southern Forest Fire Headquarters in Mays Landing, Atlantic County,

(609) 625-1121

 

Unintentional violations of forest fire laws carry a maximum penalty of

$5,000 for each offense, plus all fire suppression costs. Arson and

other willful violations are subject to a maximum penalty of $100,000

for each offense plus all suppression costs.

 

For more information on wildfires and fire safety, please visit the New

Jersey Forest Fire Service web site at

www.state.nj.us/dep/forestry/parknj/forestfire/firesafety.htm 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: April 29, 2003

CONTACT: Micah Rasmussen

PHONE: 609-777-2600

 

MCGREEVEY PROPOSES NEW CLEAN WATER PROTECTIONS IN HUNTERDON

 

New list of ecologically sensitive waterbodies follows his Earth Day

promise to expand protections statewide

(STOCKTON)-Following last week's Earth Day announcement when he

announced protections for 15 waterways throughout New Jersey, Governor

James E. McGreevey today recommended strengthened water quality

protections for portions of five ecologically sensitive stream segments

that are part of the Delaware River watershed in Hunterdon County.

 

"This is not the time to congratulate ourselves on protecting 15

waterbodies and then to forget about the rest of our water resources,"

McGreevey said. "Protecting New Jersey's high quality water resources

must be a continuing priority in our smart growth agenda. Today, we are

taking another step forward in this effort as we announce additional

waterways in Hunterdon County that we are proposing for the highest

level of protection."

 

McGreevey proposed that the five ecologically sensitive streams receive

"Category One" (C1) designation, the highest form of water quality

protection afforded by the state. This designation would prevent any

measurable deterioration in existing water quality, limiting development

impacts and discharges to the streams.

 

During today's event on the banks of the Delaware River, the Governor

discussed the importance of water resource protection to sustaining

economic development and promoting smart growth statewide. Joining him

at the event was DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell, as well as local

mayors, environmental advocates and community activists.

 

"Through his leadership, the Governor has made it clear that protecting

water supplies must be an ongoing priority for state, municipal and

community partners in order to save our ecologically sensitive habitats

and drinking water for New Jersey's families and communities," said

Commissioner Campbell. "These five streams are only the latest step in a

continual process to increase water quality protection statewide."

 

Governor McGreevey directed the Commissioner to work with Hunterdon

County municipalities to determine the specific segments of the five

streams that should be nominated for C1 classification.

 

Today's announcement follows last week's signing of rules that

designated nine reservoirs and six stream segments around the state as

C1 waterways. Included in this round of C1 designations were four

waterbodies serving Hunterdon County-South Branch Rockaway Creek, Sidney

Brook, Round Valley Reservoir, and Beaver Brook.

Governor McGreevey has also pledged to provide other waterbodies with

C1 protection, including the Metedeconk and some of its tributaries and

many of the waterbodies that feed into the Oradell Reservoir, including

Lake Tappan and Woodcliff Lake.

 

All C1 proposals will undergo a formal rulemaking process to afford the

public ample opportunity for comment.

 

Below is the list of the five streams, and the towns they flow through

in Hunterdon County, that were proposed today for C1 protection:

 

Wickecheoke Creek - Stockton, Delaware, Raritan, Kingwood, Franklin

Lockatong Creek - Kingwood, Franklin

Nishisakawick Creek - Frenchtown, Kingwood

Little Nishisakawick Creek - Frenchtown, Kingwood, Alexandria

Harihokake Creek - Alexandria

 

Photos and audio and video clips from Governor McGreevey's press

conferences are available on the Governor's web page at

www.state.nj.us/governor    

Links are located in the Governor's Newsroom section of the page.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

This message has been sent by the New Jersey Department of

Environmental Protection. To unsubscribe from this list, please go to:

www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/unsub.htm 

 

 

 

Assiscunk gets special protection from state

 

 

By KATHLEEN CANNON

Burlington County Times

 

 

TRENTON - At least one Burlington County waterway, where bald eagles nest,

swamp pinks grow and bog turtles swim, will remain as clean as it is now.

The water quality of the headwaters of the Assiscunk Creek in Mansfield and

Springfield townships cannot be degraded, under a new rule signed by Gov.

James E. McGreevey last week.

 

Portions of the Rancocas Creek flowing through Rancocas State Park might be

next on the list of waterways around the state eyed for this highest form of

protection

 

If yet another measure proposed by the state Department of Environmental

Protection becomes a rule, nothing could be built within 300 feet along the

banks of protected sections of the waterways.

 

But for now in the county, special Category One protection applies only to

Assiscunk Creek, from its headwaters to the confluence of Barkers Brook, not

far from the Homestead at Mansfield retirement community.

 

Category One designation prohibits any specific pollution source from

further fouling the existing quality of the water. Development could still

occur, but only if any resulting wastewater was minimized or sufficiently

treated before it flowed into the waterway.

 

The governor selected Earth Day last week to sign off on the rule protecting

the Assiscunk and a dozen more waterways and reservoirs around New Jersey.

Meanwhile, a section of the Rancocas Creek is being studied to determine if

it too deserves Category One designation.

 

Specifically, the state DEP is examining the north branch that flows toward

the Delaware River through the state park near the juncture of Mount Laurel,

Hainesport and Westampton.

 

It could be months before the state decides whether to formally propose the

Rancocas for Category One protection, and months after that before it could

become final.

 

Time also will tell whether the state will prohibit development within 300

feet of the banks of any Category One river. The separate-but-related rule

is meant to diminish the threat of so-called nonpoint source pollution -

runoff from paved areas and storm drains.

 

Taken together, the new rules, both proposed and final, will help improve

New Jersey's water quality, according to David Pringle of the New Jersey

Environmental Federation.

 

"Category One ensures that things don't get worse,'' he said. "The problem

is, as great as Category One is, it's not foolproof. The storm water rules

and the 300-foot buffer are the most important steps to making Category One

foolproof.''

 

Pringle said his group and other environmental organizations would be

disappointed if the Rancocas Creek does not survive the preliminary state

review process. It's been nominated in large part because it flows into the

Delaware River just upstream of a major drinking water intake source.

DEP spokeswoman Amy Cradic said Friday it's too soon to say what sections,

if any, of the Rancocas would be protected.

 

Email: kcannon@phillyBurbs.com 

 

 

Tell your representative to support Representative Dingell's hydropower amendment to the energy bill 

 

This bill will uphold existing standards for protecting rivers and fish! PLEASE ACT TODAY - the House of Representatives is aggressively moving an energy bill, and the full House is expected to vote on the bill next week.

 

 

Take action today:

 

http://amriversaction.ctsg.com/wac/index.asp?step=2&item=2573 

 

The hydropower title (Title III) of the proposed Energy Bill will undermine basic environmental protections for our nation's rivers and will only further complicate hydropower dam licensing. Legislative action isn't necessary - collaborative efforts already underway will improve the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) licensing process without harming rivers. The approach taken in Title III will have environmentally harmful consequences and won't fix anything. Because hydropower dam licenses last 30 to 50 years, the results of this bill are critical to the long-term health of our rivers.

 

 

Please urge your member of Congress to oppose this unnecessary and misdirected legislation! Urge your Representative to support the Dingell amendment!

 

Visit http://amriversaction.ctsg.com/wac/index.asp?step=2&item=2573

 

Representative Dingell's (D-MI) amendment would remove the energy bill's ill-conceived hydropower title, which will make hydropower licensing slower, more expensive, and worse for the environment. Instead, the amendment would replace the hydropower title with straightforward process changes - a compromise struck last year between Chairman Tauzin and Congressman Dingell, and between the environmental community and the industry.

 

 

Specifically, the hydropower title of the proposed energy bill creates several problems:

 

1. It would decrease protection for public resources including public land, fish, and wildlife by lowering the standard for agency conditions;

 

2. It would vastly increase the red tape, time and expense of the relicensing process; and 

 

3. By excluding all parties except the hydropower applicant, the proposed hydropower title would skew licensing outcomes toward hydropower interests and shut out all other users of the river.

 

Please visit:

 

 http://amriversaction.ctsg.com/wac/

 

to read more and contact your Representative.

 

Thank you-

 

American Rivers' Running Rivers Campaign

 

http://www.amrivers.org/hydropowerdamreform/default.htm 

 

*************************************

Thank you lfluck@mohawkcc.com for helping to protect and restore America's rivers, and being a part of American Rivers' River Action Center     http://www.americanrivers.org/takeaction/ To contact American Rivers, email us at outreach@amrivers.org

 

 

Blood Money
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Thursday 27 February 2003

"In the counsels of Government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military Industrial Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."
- President Dwight Eisenhower, January 1961.

George W. Bush gave a speech Wednesday night before the Godfather of conservative Washington think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute. In his speech, Bush quantified his coming war with Iraq as part of a larger struggle to bring pro-western governments into power in the Middle East. Couched in hopeful language describing peace and freedom for all, the speech was in fact the closest articulation of the actual plan for Iraq that has yet been heard from the administration.

In a previous truthout article from February 21, the ideological connections between an extremist right-wing Washington think tank and the foreign policy aspirations of the Bush administration were detailed.

The Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, is a group founded in 1997 that has been agitating since its inception for a war with Iraq. PNAC was the driving force behind the drafting and passage of the Iraqi Liberation Act, a bill that painted a veneer of legality over the ultimate designs behind such a conflict. The names of every prominent PNAC member were on a letter delivered to President Clinton in 1998 which castigated him for not implementing the Act by driving troops into Baghdad.

PNAC has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to a Hussein opposition group called the Iraqi National Congress, and to Iraq's heir-apparent, Ahmed Chalabi, despite the fact that Chalabi was sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian court to 22 years in prison on 31 counts of bank fraud. Chalabi and the INC have, over the years, gathered support for their cause by promising oil contracts to anyone that would help to put them in power in Iraq.

Most recently, PNAC created a new group called The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Staffed entirely by PNAC members, The Committee has set out to "educate" Americans via cable news connections about the need for war in Iraq. This group met recently with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice regarding the ways and means of this education.

Who is PNAC? Its members include:

* Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the PNAC founders, who served as Secretary of Defense for Bush Sr.;

* I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's top national security assistant;

* Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, also a founding member, along with four of his chief aides including;

* Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, arguably the ideological father of the group;

* Eliot Abrams, prominent member of Bush's National Security Council, who was pardoned by Bush Sr. in the Iran/Contra scandal;

* John Bolton, who serves as Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security in the Bush administration;

* Richard Perle, former Reagan administration official and present chairman of the powerful Defense Policy Board;

* Randy Scheunemann, President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, who was Trent Lott's national security aide and who served as an advisor to Rumsfeld on Iraq in 2001;

* Bruce Jackson, Chairman of PNAC, a position he took after serving for years as vice president of weapons manufacturer Lockheed-Martin, and who also headed the Republican Party Platform subcommittee for National Security and Foreign Policy during the 2000 campaign. His section of the 2000 GOP Platform explicitly called for the removal of Saddam Hussein;

* William Kristol, noted conservative writer for the Weekly Standard, a magazine owned along with the Fox News Network by conservative media mogul Ruppert Murdoch.

The Project for the New American Century seeks to establish what they call 'Pax Americana' across the globe. Essentially, their goal is to transform America, the sole remaining superpower, into a planetary empire by force of arms. A report released by PNAC in September of 2000 entitled 'Rebuilding America's Defenses' codifies this plan, which requires a massive increase in defense spending and the fighting of several major theater wars in order to establish American dominance. The first has been achieved in Bush's new budget plan, which calls for the exact dollar amount to be spent on defense that was requested by PNAC in 2000. Arrangements are underway for the fighting of the wars.

The men from PNAC are in a perfect position to see their foreign policy schemes, hatched in 1997, brought into reality. They control the White House, the Pentagon and Defense Department, by way of this the armed forces and intelligence communities, and have at their feet a Republican-dominated Congress that will rubber-stamp virtually everything on their wish list.

The first step towards the establishment of this Pax Americana is, and has always been, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the establishment of an American protectorate in Iraq. The purpose of this is threefold: 1) To acquire control of the oilheads so as to fund the entire enterprise; 2) To fire a warning shot across the bows of every leader in the Middle East; 3) To establish in Iraq a military staging area for the eventual invasion and overthrow of several Middle Eastern regimes, including some that are allies of the United States.

Another PNAC signatory, author Norman Podhoretz, quantified this aspect of the grand plan in the September 2002 issue of his journal, 'Commentary'. In it, Podhoretz notes that the regimes, "that richly deserve to be overthrown and replaced, are not confined to the three singled-out members of the axis of evil. At a minimum, the axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya, as well as 'friends' of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, along with the Palestinian Authority, whether headed by Arafat or one of his henchmen." At bottom, for Podhoretz, this action is about "the long-overdue internal reform and modernization of Islam."

This casts Bush's speech to AEI on Wednesday in a completely different light.

Weapons of mass destruction are a smokescreen. Paeans to the idea of Iraqi liberation and democratization are cynical in their inception. At the end of the day, this is not even about oil. The drive behind this war is ideological in nature, a crusade to 'reform' the religion of Islam as it exists in both government and society within the Middle East. Once this is accomplished, the road to empire will be open, ten lanes wide and steppin' out over the line.

At the end of the day, however, ideology is only good for bull sessions in the board room and the bar. Something has to grease the skids, to make the whole thing worthwhile to those involved, and entice those outside the loop to get into the game.

Thus, the payout.

It is well known by now that Dick Cheney, before becoming Vice President, served as chairman and chief executive of the Dallas-based petroleum corporation Halliburton. During his tenure, according to oil industry executives and United Nations records, Halliburton did a brisk $73 million in business with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. While working face-to-face with Hussein, Cheney and Halliburton were also moving into position to capitalize upon Hussein's removal from power. In October of 1995, the same month Cheney was made CEO of Halliburton, that company announced a deal that would put it first in line should war break out in Iraq. Their job: To take control of burning oil wells, put out the fires, and prepare them for service.

Another corporation that stands to do well by a war in Iraq is Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Ostensibly, Brown & Root is in the construction business, and thus has won a share of the $900 million government contract for the rebuilding of post-war Iraqi bridges, roads and other basic infrastructure. This is but the tip of the financial iceberg, as the oil wells will also have to be repaired after parent-company Halliburton puts out the fires.

More ominously is Brown & Root's stock in trade: the building of permanent American military bases. There are twelve permanent U.S. bases in Kosovo today, all built and maintained by Brown & Root for a multi-billion dollar profit. If anyone should wonder why the administration has not offered an exit strategy to the Iraq war plans, the presence of Brown & Root should answer them succinctly. We do not plan on exiting. In all likelihood, Brown & Root is in Iraq to build permanent bases there, from which attacks upon other Middle Eastern nations can be staged and managed.

Again, this casts Bush's speech on Wednesday in a new light.

Being at the center of the action is nothing new for Halliburton and Brown & Root. The two companies have worked closely with governments in Algeria, Angola, Bosnia, Burma, Croatia, Haiti, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Somalia during the worst chapters in those nation's histories. Many environmental and human rights groups claim that Cheney, Halliburton and Brown & Root were, in fact, centrally involved in these fiascos. More recently, Brown & Root was contracted by the Defense Department to build cells for detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The bill for that one project came to $300 million.

Cheney became involved with PNAC officially in 1997, while still profiting from deals between Halliburton and Hussein. One year later, Cheney and PNAC began actively and publicly agitating for war on Iraq. They have not stopped to this very day.

Another company with a vested interest in both war on Iraq and massively increased defense spending is the Carlyle Group. Carlyle, a private global investment firm with more than $12.5 billion in capital under management, was formed in 1987. Its interests are spread across 164 companies, including telecommunications firms and defense contractors. It is staffed at the highest levels by former members of the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations. Former President George H. W. Bush is himself employed by Carlyle as a senior advisor, as is long-time Bush family advisor and former Secretary of State James Baker III.

One company acquired by Carlyle is United Defense, a weapons manufacturer based in Arlington, VA. United Defense provides the Defense Department with combat vehicle systems, fire support, combat support vehicle systems, weapons delivery systems, amphibious assault vehicles, combat support services and naval armaments. Specifically, United Defense manufactures the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M113 armored personnel carrier, the M88A2 Recovery Vehicle, the Grizzly, the M9 ACE, the Composite Armored Vehicle, the M6 Linebacker, the M7 BFIST, the Armored Gun System, the M4 Command and Control Vehicle, the Battle Command Vehicle, the Paladin, the Crusader, and Electric Gun/Pulse Power weapons technology.

In other words, everything a growing Defense Department, a war in Iraq, and a burgeoning American military empire needs.

Ironically, one group that won't profit from Carlyle's involvement in American military buildup is the family of Osama bin Laden. The bin Laden family fortune was amassed by Mohammed bin Laden, father of Osama, who built a multi-billion dollar construction empire through contracts with the Saudi government. The Saudi BinLaden Group, as this company is called, was heavily invested in Carlyle for years. Specifically, they were invested in Carlyle's Partners II Fund, which includes in that portfolio United Defense and other weapons manufacturers.

This relationship was described in a September 27, 2001 article in the Wall Street Journal entitled 'Bin Laden Family Could Profit From Jump in Defense Spending Due to Ties to US Bank.' The 'bank' in question was the Carlyle Group. A follow-up article published by the Journal on September 28 entitled ' Bin Laden Family Has Intricate Ties With Washington - Saudi Clan Has Had Access To Influential Republicans ' further describes the relationship. In October of 2001, Saudi BinLaden and Carlyle severed their relationship by mutual agreement. The timing is auspicious.

There are a number of depths to be plumbed in all of this. The Bush administration has claimed all along that this war with Iraq is about Saddam Hussein's connections to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, though through it all they have roundly failed to establish any basis for either accusation. On Wednesday, Bush went further to claim that the war is about liberating the Iraqi people and bringing democracy to the Middle East. This ignores cultural realities on the ground in Iraq and throughout the region that, salted with decades of deep mistrust for American motives, make such a democracy movement brought at the point of the sword utterly impossible to achieve.

This movement, cloaked in democracy, is in fact a PNAC-inspired push for an American global empire. It behooves Americans to understand that there is a great difference between being the citizen of a constitutional democracy and being a citizen of an empire. The establishment of an empire requires some significant sacrifices.

Essential social, medical, educational and retirement services will have to be gutted so that those funds can be directed towards a necessary military buildup. Actions taken abroad to establish the preeminence of American power, most specifically in the Middle East, will bring a torrent of terrorist attacks to the home front. Such attacks will bring about the final suspension of constitutional rights and the rule of habeas corpus, as we will find ourselves under martial law. In the end, however, this may be inevitable. An empire cannot function with the slow, cumbersome machine of a constitutional democracy on its back. Empires must be ruled with speed and ruthlessness, in a manner utterly antithetical to the way in which America has been governed for 227 years.

And yes, of course, a great many people will die.

It would be one thing if all of this was based purely on the ideology of our leaders. It is another thing altogether to consider the incredible profit motive behind it all. The President, his father, the Vice President, a whole host of powerful government officials, along with stockholders and executives from Halliburton and Carlyle, stand to make a mint off this war. Long-time corporate sponsors from the defense, construction and petroleum industries will likewise profit enormously.

Critics of the Bush administration like to bandy about the word "fascist" when speaking of George. The image that word conjures is of Nazi stormtroopers marching in unison towards Hitler's Final Solution. This does not at all fit. It is better, in this matter, to view the Bush administration through the eyes of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, dubbed 'the father of Fascism,' defined the word in a far more pertinent fashion. "Fascism," said Mussolini, "should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."

Boycott the French, the Germans, and the other 114 nations who stand against this Iraq war all you wish. France and Germany do not oppose Bush because they are cowards, or because they enjoy the existence of Saddam Hussein. France and Germany stand against the Bush administration because they intend to stop this Pax Americana in its tracks if they can. They have seen militant fascism up close and personal before, and wish never to see it again.

Would that we Americans could be so wise.

-------

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times bestselling author of two books - "War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in May 2003 from Pluto Press. He teaches high school in Boston, MA.

Scott Lowery contributed research to this report.

© Copyright 2003 by TruthOut.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Politics, money pave way for Palmyra Cove


By EILEEN STILWELL
Courier-Post Staff
PALMYRA

What started as a simple walk in the woods for Palmyra nature lovers has evolved into an $11 million project that includes the borough in name only.

 

The simple part began about 10 years ago when a handful of residents proposed making a section of largely undevelopable Delaware River waterfront more user-friendly, with paths for bikers and birders.

 

The Burlington County Bridge Commission has since allocated millions in regional toll collections and tax dollars to turn the site into an environmental education center and a political showcase for dredge material and the proposed Delaware River deepening project.

 

How the transformation occurred provides a lesson in power politics: how an out-of-the-way project can pull in millions of dollars when political goals are aligned, and how party loyalists benefit when the money is spent.

 

Tucked away on 350 acres of tidal marshlands and 70 years worth of dredge spoils scooped from the Delaware River, Palmyra Cove is a desolate spot visited primarily by the occasional dirt biker or beer-drinking teenager. It is situated just south of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, between Route 73 and Pennsauken Creek. Most of the property belongs to the state, except for a few acres owned by the Burlington County Bridge Commission.

 

As a result, few questions have been raised about the value of spending $11 million on the project, more than twice Palmyra's municipal budget of about $5 million. Burlington County College officials said it could provide a valuable laboratory for their students. But borough officials are uncertain whether the community of 7,500 will benefit.

 

Republican project

 

The long-stalled Palmyra Cove Nature Center got a jump- start in January with a series of developments. Then-Acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco, a Republican, signed legislation giving economic development authority to the Republican- controlled bridge commission. That cleared the way for the commission to take charge of the project.

 

Then the Republican-controlled Delaware River Port Authority, eager to show the value of dredge sites, provided $5 million of its own toll collections to the upriver bridge commission. That cleared the way for construction of a 9,500-square-foot nature center featuring a classroom; a public space for exhibits on area fauna, flora and river dredging; and offices. Low bidder Magnum Inc. of Warminster, Pa., was awarded a $3.9 million construction contract.

 

To run the center, the bridge commission turned to Clara Ruvolo, a newly appointed DRPA commissioner who is active in Burlington County Republican politics. She is on the payroll as the center's director at $40,000 a year, a full year before the scheduled opening. A retired nurse and freelance writer, Ruvolo is president of Riverton's borough council and a former 7th District running mate of state Sen. Diane Allen, R-Burlington.

 

Using bridge tolls, the commission created a $204,000 operating budget to run the center, though it is unclear how it will be spent. So far, the budget includes Ruvolo's salary and $20,000 for the Audubon Society to identify birds using the habitat.

 

George Nyikita, the bridge commission's executive director, said Ruvolo was hired to run the center despite a lack of managerial or environmental experience because of her "tremendous connections" in the county's river towns.

 

"I knew her from local politics and that she was looking for a new line of work," he said. "I believe she knows how government works, which will be useful in getting school kids and Scouts and YMCA groups to come to the center."

 

Local support varies

 

Palmyra Mayor Robert Leather, who has not been part of the planning of the project, has raised questions about the project's value to the borough, given the preserve's location. Visitors must pass under the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge in a confusing warren of roads for access. The bridge commission and the county have moved to condemn land along Route 73 to create a more convenient jughandle, a process that is expected to cost at least $1.5 million.

 

"The Cove is very difficult to get to as it is now. So it is essential to create access from Route 73," Leather said. "Whether or not the Cove could generate future development in Palmyra remains to be seen, because adjacent lands have so many problems - environmentally and otherwise - that development could be difficult."

 

Chris Klabe, a Palmyra resident for nearly 10 years, wondered if the project is not a bit of overkill.

 

"It's a beautiful area, but I'd rather see it in its natural state than spend millions on so-called improvements. Once governments get involved, they start telling you what you can and can't do there."

 

Carolyn Mortgu, owner of Grace's Florist in Palmyra and an outdoors enthusiast, said she is thrilled with the planned improvements.

 

"I don't need any more strip malls or movie theaters," Mortgu said. "I think this is a wonderful use of public money, regardless of the source. As to the cost, I'm just a working stiff with no concept of what $1 million can buy, let alone $11 million."

 

Cash connections

 

The Cove project might have sunk if Glenn Paulsen, head of Burlington County's Republican Party, were not vice chairman of the DRPA. His law firm, Capehart Scatchard of Trenton and Mount Laurel, got $90,000 worth of business from the Cove.

 

But the biggest politically connected winner so far appears to be Carol Beske, president of ACT Engineers of Robbinsville, Mercer County. As project manager, the firm will receive $1.9 million by year's end when construction is completed.

 

A former DRPA commissioner, Beske abstained - as did Paulsen - from voting on two DRPA resolutions that awarded the Cove $5 million.

 

The bridge commission chooses professional services based on qualifications and recommendations, not through competitive bidding. Also receiving fees from the Cove project, according to commission records, are:

 

•DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick and Gluck, a Trenton law firm: $90,000.

 

•Vitetta Architectural Group of Cherry Hill and Philadelphia: $920,000.

 

Dredging on display

 

The notion of turning a remote dredge site into a nature center probably also would have sunk like a stone if the DRPA had not been at war with environmentalists over the proposed deepening of the Delaware River channel from 40 feet to 45 feet. Opponents object to stockpiling muck along the riverbanks, a long-standing practice in maintaining a sufficient depth for commercial ships.

 

The DRPA saw turning the Cove into a public nature area as an opportunity to put a positive spin on dredging. Because the Cove is an existing dredge site, the DRPA could justify supporting a Burlington County project with money it collects from commuters downriver.

 

To solidify the Cove's role as a model dredging project and to improve its funding prospects, the bridge commission invited Rutgers-Camden to take samples from the Cove and to experiment with finding alternative beneficial uses.

 

Part of a $1.5 million demonstration project, the study found nothing new, concluding that river dredge spoils could be mixed with compost to create a cheap topsoil or added to paper sludge to cover landfills.

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had previously spent in excess of $7 million proving that Delaware River spoils meet state and federal environmental standards.

 

"If our testing is redundant, it just gives people an extra comfort level," Nyikita said.

 

More than 1,000 truckloads of muck from the Cove were taken 18 miles to the Occupational Training Center, a private nonprofit organization in Columbus with which the county has a long business relationship. The training center has sold 3,000 cubic yards of pure muck - out of the Cove's estimated 5 million - to area builders at $5.56 a yard for clean fill, as opposed to the going rate of $10. Recently the center also began advertising a muck sale - mixed or straight - via direct mail to about 250 potential users.

 

"We've got a few inquiries, and I'm encouraged," said Isaac Manning, the training center's director of government contracts. "But any additional work we do will have to pay for itself because we've exhausted the $1.5 million for the demonstration project."

 

In a separate project, the DRPA provided $1.1 million to cover a 130-acre golf course at the new Riverwinds Community Center in West Deptford, Gloucester County, with six inches of dredge spoils taken from a site at National Park.

 

"The Delaware River hasn't been cleaner since Ben Franklin, and towns are wise to maximize their use of riverfront land whether it be natural or man-made, said West Deptford Township Manager Jerry White. "The key is to mix public and private participation and not to overbuild."

 

Other opinions

 

Robert Messina, president of Burlington County College, said he views the Cove as a natural laboratory for college students to study ecology, whether the bridge commission spends $11 million or not. Having a rainy-day classroom helps, he said.

 

"Students need to get outside to study vegetation, birds and aquatic life," Messina said. "The Cove also offers safe access to the river, which is tough to find around here."

 

Next year the college will offer a diverse course of study that includes fieldwork at the Cove, Chatsworth and Mansfield, where Rutgers has an experimental testing station.

 

"Environmental education is in high demand," Messina said. "It's about time Burlington County takes advantage of its resources and offers a solid program."

 

Parks are difficult to oppose, said Gina Carola, chairwoman of the West Jersey Sierra Club. But she raised questions about turning what she considers a brownfield site into a public attraction. Brownfields are abandoned or idled industrial or commercial sites where any use of the property is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.

 

"I am very much in favor of turning brownfield sites into good use, but it must be done right," said Carola of West Deptford.

 

"Unlike the Riverwinds projects in West Deptford, where they built a community center in order to stop future dumping of dredge spoils, this nature center will not do that," she said. "The site will continue to be used, and I fear be turned into a commercial for the Delaware River deepening project, which we strongly oppose."

 


 

After 30 years of success in cleaning up our nation's waters, federal officials are now putting corporate polluters and developers first

and taking steps to significantly limit the types of waters protected by the Clean Water Act. Urge the Administration to put clean water

before the interests of corporate polluters and developers and ensure that all of our waters are protected by the Clean Water Act!

Take Action! Visit:

 

http://amriversaction.ctsg.com/wac/index.asp?step=2&item=2454 

 

Public Comments must be submitted by March 3, 2003.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) are currently accepting public comments on whether

to limit the types of waters protected under the Clean Water Act. Tell these agencies not to mess with this landmark law and to

withdraw their proposal so that all of our nation's waters - including the creeks, streams, small ponds, and wetlands in your

backyard - continue to be protected from pollution and development.

 

On January 15, 2003 the EPA and the Corps issued "guidance" and an advance notice of a "proposed rule" that have critical implications

for the types of wetlands, streams, lakes and ponds that are entitled to federal protection under the Clean Water Act. Stripping those

waters of protection will open the way for developers, industry, and other polluters to discharge their pollution into, and fill in and

develop, many kinds of wetlands, small streams, ponds or other waters, without any of the protections we have relied upon for

30 years.

 

Learn more about what is being proposed, and what you can do by visiting: http://www.amrivers.org/takeaction/default.htm 

 

We strongly encourage you to send this to friends and family to stop this attack on our rivers and wetlands and the weakening of one of

our nation's landmark environmental laws.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Call to Action...

Help Protect the Horseshoe Crabs of Delaware Bay --

Before they Disappear

 Research shows a steep decline in the Delaware Bay population of horseshoe crabs and the migrant shorebirds that depend upon them for survival.  In response, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, American Littoral Society, New Jersey Audubon Society, and the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club have launched a campaign to secure a moratorium on all harvest of horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay. 

 Please write a letter to NJ Governor Jim McGreevey and/or DE Governor Minner asking for the following:

 

 

 

Studies are showing a significant decline in the Delaware Bay population of horseshoe crabs.  Research is also showing that the bird species dependent upon the horseshoe crab eggs to fuel and sustain their annual migration are also, as a result, in decline.  As one who cares about the Delaware Bay and the ecosystems it sustains, including the State’s ecotourism industry, I urge you to institute an immediate moratorium on all harvest of horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay, that you support critical research into the cause and effect of this decline, and that you undertake efforts to secure similar protections from, and with, the State of Delaware/New Jersey.

 

The Honorable James McGreevey

Governor of New Jersey

State House, PO Box 001

Trenton, New Jersey  08625-0001

 

Cc:  Commissioner Bradley Campbell

NJ Dept of Environmental Protection

P.O. Box 402, 7th Floor

Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

 

Honorable Governor Ruth Ann Minner

Tathall Bldg, 2nd Floor

William Penn Street

Dover, DE, 19901

 

Cc:  Secretary John Hughes

DNREC

89 Kings Highway

Dover, DE 19901

 

And please send us a copy too:

Maya van Rossum

the Delaware Riverkeeper

P.O. Box 326

Washington Crossing, PA 18977

More of the facts:

 Delaware Bay is home to the world’s largest population of horseshoe crabs worldwide.  As a result, each year the Delaware Bay is also host to the second largest population of migrating shorebirds in North America. 

 Birds including sanderlings, sandpipers, red knots, ruddy turnstones and others arrive from South America to this area in late May and use it as resting and feeding grounds. Over 10 to 14 days, migrating birds gain up to 50% of their body weight in fat primarily by feasting on horseshoe crab eggs. The new body fat helps fuel the birds for the next part of their journey northward to breeding grounds in the Arctic, a flight which may include non-stop distances as long as 3,000 miles. Researchers have found 1/3 of the total number of sanderlings that live in the western hemisphere on the beaches of Cape May and up to 70% of the North America red knots on the shores of the Delaware Bay on a single day.

There is a multi-million dollar ecotourism industry that has evolved around the dramatic arrival and feasting of the migrating shorebirds.  If the crabs go, the birds go, and the ecotourism and all who depend upon it will go as well.  The Delaware Bay ecotourism industry has been valued at $34 million per year.  Because much of these expenditures occur in the off-season, it is particularly valuable to the local economy. 

Last year about 280,000 crabs were taken from NJ’s spawning beaches alone.  Studies are showing a marked decline in both the horseshoe crab populations and in shorebird populations they sustain.  Delaware trawl data has shown a 75% decline in the number of horseshoe crabs in 11 years.  NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) research shows a statistically significant decline in the number of horseshoe crab eggs available to shorebirds from 2000 to 2002. And data from NJ DEP conclusively links the rapid disappearance of Red Knot, a state threatened species, and other shorebird species to the overharvest of horseshoe crabs. 

 Immediate action is needed to protect this irreplaceable link in the Delaware Bay ecosystem and the web of life.  If we allow harvesting to continue, it will quickly be too late for the crabs and the birds.

 Please take a moment to write Governors McGreevey and Minner about your concerns and the need for their and immediate action.

To Take Action to Help the Horseshoe Crabs check out News and Perspectives, our Horseshoe Crab Activities Page; and our

 Horseshoe Crab Fact Sheet


Big News on the Delaware Deepening -- Action Needed

 

In a letter dated September 30, 2002, NJDEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell stated he was “revoking” the Department’s “federal coastal zone consistency determination” for the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project.  The letter states that since the determination was first issued in 1997, "numerous reviews and subsequent developments have substantially changed the record for this project and may substantively affect the assumptions and conclusions that formed the basis for New Jersey's consistency determination in 1997." 

Commissioner Campbell has made the most responsible decision for New Jersey, which stands to lose the most if this project moves forward.  Just as the GAO study demonstrated that the deepening project would not benefit federal interests, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network is confident that New Jersey’s reevaluation will demonstrate that the project does not benefit South Jersey’s interests nor the vital health of the Delaware River ecosystem. 

This is a key new development in the fight against the main channel deepening.  If the Deepening project were to move forward it threatens Delaware River ecosystems, drinking water, aquatic species, agricultural irrigation water, air quality in the region, and will subject riverside communities, primarily in New Jersey, to 50 to 75 foot high piles of dredge spoils. 

And economically, this project cannot be justified.  An independent review by the GAO (the investigative arm of Congress) found that the Corps had misrepresented, miscalculated and/or manipulated the economics of this project and that in fact for every dollar spent on the Deepening, there is only 49 cents of benefit that is received.  (See gao.gov to see a copy of the report).

Please take a moment to write the Governor of New Jersey to show your support for this decision to withdrawal New Jersey approval for the project.  This support is critical to ensure that New Jersey continues to take a firm stance on this issue. 

(Here is a sample letter if you need one.)

 

Send your letter to:

Governor James McGreevey
State House, P.O. Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625-0001
 

And cc:  Commissioner Bradley Campbell at NJDEP, P.O. Box 402, Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

And cc:  Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper, P.O. Box 326, Washington Crossing, PA 18977



Fish the Delaware Estuary (the Delaware River or Bay below Trenton)?  

If you fish recreationally or commercially, we have a survey we need you to fill out.  

Please help us get a handle on how the Delaware River fishery is being impacted by the many uses of, and changes along, the Delaware River.  

You can find the survey here ===> Fish Abundance Survey

Please print out the survey or save it to your computer to print and complete later. You can mail or fax the completed surveys to our office at:

Delaware Riverkeeper Network

P.O. Box 326

Washington Crossing, PA  18977

Or Fax it to: (215) 369-1181

 


Delaware Riverkeeper Network has petitioned the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) for Special Protection Waters (SPW) Designation of the Wild and Scenic Lower Delaware River

The Lower Delaware River from the Delaware Water Gap to Washington Crossing has been named a Wild and Scenic River by Congress.  Special Protection Waters designation by the DRBC would provide the tool needed to give this designation the power needed to protect and improve the water quality of the river and its tributaries.  The Delaware Riverkeeper Network filed the Petition for SPW on April 26, 2001 and has been working with DRBC and the States to move the Petition forward.   Currently DRBC is considering interim action to protect existing water quality while they gather data and legal analysis necessary to support SPW designation.

 NOW IS THE TIME FOR YOU TO TELL THE DRBC THAT YOU SUPPORT THIS NEEDED DESIGNATION AND INTERIM REGULATIONS SO THAT THE WATER QUALITY AND UNIQUE NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE LOWER DELAWARE RIVER WILL BE EFFECTIVELY PROTECTED.  LET'S PUT TEETH IN WILD AND SCENIC.

 Please write:  Commissioners

    Delaware River Basin Commission

    P.O. Box 7360

   West Trenton, New Jersey  08628

           Email:  pbush@drbc.state.nj.us

            Fax:   609-883-9522  

 

Feel free to use the attached letter or to write your own.


ACTION ALERT!

Help Protect Woodlands in Haddon Township

Whether intentional or not, Haddon Township Commissioners are going to spend over $2,000,000 and destroy 1/3 of the woods at the MacArthur Tract to build athletic fields without first asking the majority of the township’s residents what their recreational needs are.  They didn’t ask the senior citizens, they didn’t ask the families of children not involved in organized sports and they didn’t ask the people that recognize the value of conserving open space in its natural condition.  That’s why:

 

It is so critical NOW for you and your neighbors to write the Mayor requesting a comprehensive open space and recreational plan be completed before any more trees are cut down at the MacArthur Tract.

If you don’t speak out today, tomorrow it will be gone!

 

At a recent meeting, the Commissioners declined to guarantee that even after the planned three athletic fields are built on 7 acres of the MacArthur Tract; the remaining 2/3 (including the 10 acres to be purchased from the Diocese of Camden) will NOT BE PROTECTED FROM FUTURE DEVELOPMENT!

What can I do to help? --Write letters, make phone calls, attend meetings/rallies and get your friends to do the same!

 

Check out this fact sheet for more details and then ...

 

1. WRITE:

Township of Haddon   (tel#  854-1176)           

Attention: William Park, Mayor                        

CC: Walter A. Eife, Commissioner &

Nicholas Laurito, Commissioner

135 Haddon Ave.                                                        

Haddon Township, NJ 08108                                      

 

SEND COPIES TO EVERYONE BELOW:

NJ DEP – Green Acres Program Camden County (tel#  225-5575)  
Attention: Mr. John Flynn  Freeholder Laurelle Cummings
Re: Acquisition MacArthur Tract 520 Market St.  11th Floor  
CN 412   Camden, NJ 08102
Trenton, NJ 08625-0412 
State Sen. John Adler &  (tel#  428-1358)
Camden County   (tel# 858-5241) CC: Assemblywoman Mary Previte
Attention: Jack Sworaski, Open Space Committee 231 State Highway 70 East  
20 N. Newton Lake Dr. Cherry Hill, NJ  08034
Oaklyn, NJ 08107   

 

2. ATTEND THESE MEETINGS AND VOICE YOU OPINIONS AND CONCERNS! 


Citizens for Responsible Open Space Planning

Rohrer Library (Camden County Branch )

MacArthur Blvd.

Wednesday, January 9th, 7PM

       


PADEP Wants to Dam the Rock Run Creek -- We Need to Speak Up Now

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, with support from the Lower Makefield Township Supervisors, is seeking to construct a dam across Rock Run Creek, in Lower Makefield, Bucks County, PA.  The 650 foot long, flood control dam will destroy woodlands, wetlands, and disrupt the natural flow of the creek.  The study being used by the DEP to support construction of the dam leaves unanswered many critical questions.  Of greatest concern is the DEP's failure to fairly consider other alternatives to the dam, alternatives which may be more effective for flood control as well as more protective of the environment, and their failure to fully consider the economic and environmental implications of this project.

Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum attended a November 6, 2000 public meeting to express our concerns.  We have also submitted substantial written comment expanding upon these and many other issues.  

We need you to get involved today.   Check out our fact sheets and action alert to see what you can do to help.

Rock Run fact sheet.

Rock Run action alert

 


 

Baldpate Mountain Ecosystems Threatened

 

The Mercer County Park Commission is proposing parking lots, trails and structures that threaten the sensitive and intact ecosystems of Baldpate Mountain.  

 

Call our offices today, ask for Tracy, to see what you can do to help.

 

To learn more about our concerns read our recently submitted comments.


 

 

 

 

Park Service Bans Jet Skis in Five Parks

By Cat Lazaroff

WASHINGTON, DC, April 17, 2002 (ENS) - The National Park Service has decided to uphold a Clinton administration agreement that will permanently ban personal watercraft, also known as jet skis, from five national parks. To the dismay of some conservation groups, however, the agency also ordered 16 parks to reopen their reviews of the effects of watercraft before barring the vehicles.

On Tuesday, the Park Service (NPS) announced that it will comply with its own final Personal Watercraft (PWC) Rule, as well as a court sanctioned settlement agreement with conservation groups, and permanently close the waters of five national park units to jet skis as of April 22, 2002.

jetski

Many personal watercraft use two stroke engines that cause air and water pollution. (Photo courtesy Jet Products)
Another eight parks will also close their borders to jet skis on April 22, but may have to allow the watercraft back in after a supplemental review is performed. At an additional eight parks, jet skis must be banned by September 15 unless special rules are put in place regarding their continued use.

"We are pleased with the Park Service's decision to abide by our court order and close these 13 parks to jet skis," said Sean Smith, public lands director for Bluewater Network and a former park ranger. "However, this may be a hollow victory if the Department of Interior undermines the professional judgement of its superintendents and forces jet skis back into parks where they have been found to damage park resources and wildlife."

Personal watercraft are small vessels that use an inboard motor powering a water jet pump as their primary source of power, and are operated by persons sitting, standing or kneeling on the vessel. Jet ski is a trademark name for one type of personal watercraft.

The NPS manages 385 units, including national parks, seashores, lakeshores and recreation areas. Just 87 of these units allow motorized boating.

Delaware Water Gap

As of April 22, no jet skis will be allowed in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border. (Three photos courtesy NPS)
A final NPS rule that went into effect on April 20, 2000, prohibited personal watercraft use in all but 21 national park areas. The rule established a two year grace period following the publication of the final rule to give the superintendents of the 21 park areas time to consider whether jet ski use should continue, based on the legislation establishing that park, the park's resources and values, other visitor uses of the area, and overall management objectives.

At five of those parks, the superintendents decided that jet skis should be banned, and the NPS has now agreed. The five sites scheduled for permanent closure to jet skis include: Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana; Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area along the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border; Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia; and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in California.

But in at least two other park areas, the NPS has ordered park superintendents to conduct additional reviews of jet ski bans that are already in place. Affidavits filed by the NPS in response to a lawsuit brought by the jet ski industry show that the superintendents at Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina and Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida and Mississippi will have to reopen a planning process that has already concluded that jet skis are damaging park resources and wildlife.

"Jet ski damage and safety hazards have been well documented in many National Parks," said Kristen Brengel of the Natural Trails and Waters Coalition, "While the Park Service is making the right move by implementing the deadlines, we are concerned that several parks will be forced to overturn prior decisions and allow jet ski mayhem into these special places."

A December 2000 settlement agreement in a lawsuit filed by the Bluewater Network stipulated that if any of these 21 park units were to allow jet ski use to continue past court ordered deadlines, each unit would have to issue park specific regulations, including environmental assessments of jet ski impacts on park resources.

Curecanti

Curecanti National Recreation Area in Colorado must ban personal watercraft in September unless new rules are issued by the park.
The settlement further extended the deadline until September 2002 for eight park units. If special regulations are not completed by these deadlines, jet skis must be banned until their work is complete.

"We are committed to protecting the National Park System's cultural and natural resources, so if personal watercraft are allowed at a site, it may be restricted to certain areas of that site," said NPS deputy director Randy Jones. "For example, at Padre Island National Seashore in Texas, the protection of the endangered Kemps Ridley sea turtle nesting areas will be a major contributing factor in determining appropriate management of personal watercraft use."

However, environmentalists are particularly concerned about the ban at Padre Island National Seashore, where as recently as five days ago, it appeared that the NPS would allow a jet ski ban favored by the superintendent to go forward. Now, jet skis could be allowed back in the park based on additional reviews ordered by the NPS.

"With strong public support, the superintendents at Cape Lookout, Gulf Islands and Padre Islands national seashores had announced their intent to ban Jet Skis in order to stem the threats these machines pose to park resources and visitors," noted Steven Bosak, director of motorized use programs at the National Parks Conservation Association. "Today's announcement shows that when political pressure is applied by a small, elite user group, this administration is willing to dismiss the best judgment of the professional, seasoned managers who work to protect parks for the majority of visitors."

Jamaica Bay

At Gateway National Recreation Area in New York and New Jersey, jet skis will be banned on April 22, but could be allowed back in after additional reviews.
The personal watercraft industry argues that new, cleaner engines make jet skis far less noisy, and less damaging to the environment. According to studies cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, two-stroke engines like those used in most personal watercraft discharge 25 to 30 percent of their fuel unburned into the water.

"We're not saying that personal watercraft should be allowed in every park," said Monita Fontaine, executive director of the Personal Watercraft Industry Association (PWIA). "Clearly, each park is unique, and motorboats may not be appropriate in some environments. But we are confident that objective, scientific studies will find that today's personal watercraft have come a long way from those sold just five years ago and are among the most environmentally friendly motorboats on the water."


 

 

Thanks to Senators Corzine www.senate.gov/~corzine  & Torricelli www.senate.gov/~torricelli  of New Jersey for their vote to protect the Artic.

 

 

Shame on Pennsylvania, your Senators voted against the protection of the Artic, let them know that you do not agree with their vote. Arlen Specter (R) www.senate.gov/~specter , Rick Santorum (R) www.senate.gov/~santorum 


Here is the rest of the recorded Senate vote. A "no" vote is a vote to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 54 voted "NO', and 46 voted 'YES.'
(Rollcall Vote No. 71 Leg. )

April 18, 2002  12:20PM

VOTE TITLE: Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Murkowski Amendment No. 31323

BILL NO.: S. 517
AMENDMENT NO.: S.Amdt. 3132

REQUIRED FOR MAJORITY: 3/5
RESULT: Cloture Motion Rejected


                              YEAS --- 46
  Akaka                   Frist                   McConnell
  Allard                  Gramm                   Miller
  Allen                   Grassley                Murkowski
  Bennett                 Gregg                   Nickles
  Bond                    Hagel                   Roberts
  Breaux                  Hatch                   Santorum
  Brownback               Helms                   Sessions
  Bunning                 Hutchinson              Shelby
  Burns                   Hutchison               Specter
  Campbell                Inhofe                  Stevens
  Cochran                 Inouye                  Thomas
  Craig                   Kyl                     Thompson
  Crapo                   Landrieu                Thurmond
  Domenici                Lott                    Voinovich
  Ensign                  Lugar                   Warner
  Enzi

                              NAYS --- 54
  Baucus                  Dodd                    Lincoln
  Bayh                    Dorgan                  McCain
  Biden                   Durbin                  Mikulski
  Bingaman                Edwards                 Murray
  Boxer                   Feingold                Nelson (FL)
  Byrd                    Feinstein               Nelson (NE)
  Cantwell                Fitzgerald              Reed
  Carnahan                Graham                  Reid
  Carper                  Harkin                  Rockefeller
  Chafee                  Hollings                Sarbanes
  Cleland                 Jeffords                Schumer
  Clinton                 Johnson                 Smith (NH)
  Collins                 Kennedy                 Smith (OR)
  Conrad                  Kerry                   Snowe
  Corzine                 Kohl                    Stabenow
  Daschle                 Leahy                   Torricelli
  Dayton                  Levin                   Wellstone
  DeWine                  Lieberman               Wyden

 

 

 

 

Environment

 

The U.S. Cut Greenhouse Gasses? When Pigs Fly

by Kelly Cogswell

 

DECEMBER 4, 2000. You can kiss global warming hello. The pro-industry, anti-regulatory, anti-science George W. Bush is probably headed to the White House. And two weeks of climate treaty talks fell apart November 25 at The Hague.

 

The participants were trying to agree on steps to implement the 1997 Kyoto Agreement which calls for developed nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions—the culprits in global warming. The sticking point was how to do it, with the European Union and the United States at loggerheads over a U.S. pay-to-pollute plan.

 

Almost ignored in the melee were the poorest, developing countries in the southern hemisphere which are those most affected by global warming's rising sea levels, hurricanes and floods, and the accompanying increase in diseases like malaria and dengue fever.

 

Fossil Fuel Junkies' Solution

The United States, which alone produces a whopping 23 percent of the world's greenhouse emissions, pushed for a plan which would have allowed it and others to buy pollution credits from nations who surpass their Kyoto emission targets.

 

Additional pollution credits would have been earned by reducing pollution in developing countries through improved power plant and factory technologies there. Carbon dioxide soaked up by forests—the so-called "carbon sinks"—would have also earned credits. In short, Washington wanted to do everything but lower emissions.

frank loy

The U.S. argues that it is cheaper and politically more viable to reduce emissions in developing countries than in the U.S., where citizens, business, and Congress are unlikely to go along with the extra costs. "Nations can only negotiate abroad what they believe they can ratify at home," said the top U.S. negotiator, undersecretary of state for global affairs, Frank Loy. The Kyoto agreement has not been ratified by the Senate, where a two-thirds majority is needed.

 

Second favorite argument was that the Kyoto agreement was unfair because it gave developing countries like China free rein to pollute, while everybody else had to foot the emissions bill.

 

In fact, both arguments may be false. In the midst of the conference, the U.S. Department of Energy released a report called "Scenarios for a Clean Energy Future," which asserts that emissions can be cut at little or no cost to the U.S. economy. A new study by a group of international organizations, called "Confronting Climate Change," reported that many developing countries, including Thailand, for example, have voluntarily and successfully taken steps to limit their already small share of greenhouse gases.

 

The Rest of the World

The only countries wholeheartedly supporting Washington's pay-to-pollute plans are Australia, Canada, and Japan, three other fossil fuel junkies. Members of the European Union, the specter of global warming fresh in their minds from recent deadly floods, were skeptical of Washington's plan.

 

The Europeans thought that the unadulterated plan practically guaranteed that U.S. emissions would continue at the same level, or increase. A small group of delegates brokered a last minute deal in which the U.S. agreed to significant compromises, but it collapsed when Germany and Denmark claimed that there were so many loopholes that no deal was better than a flawed one.

flying pig

These objections may have been given less credence had there not been another straw on the Hague camel's back—the immoral underpinnings of the deal. Allowing the U.S. to trade and buy credits in developing countries, while essentially refusing to tighten belts at home, is just a twenty-first century form of buying indulgences. Sin as much as you like if you've got the cold, hard cash to pay off the priest, while everyone else slips on the hair shirts.

 

The political consequences boil down to this: as long as Americans, the self-proclaimed leaders of the free world, snootily lead the way in environmental indulgences, delegates from the rest of the world can't return home and sell emission reductions to their citizens.

 

Rethinking Green

Climate Conference President, Jan Pronk, indicated a new round of talks may take place as early as May 2001. The prognosis for those talks is not good unless European hard-liners soften a little, and the U.S. agrees to cut some emissions at home, not just abroad, and to compromise on the "carbon sink" credits.

 

In the U.S., this means environmental activists will have to redouble efforts to persuade both American politicians, and the American people, that it is both necessary and possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Up until now industry has been extremely effective in dismissing global warming as a hysterical, expensive delusion, and in painting activists as elitist, puritanical party poopers.

 

Environmentalists reinforce that stereotype by seemingly ignoring national realities, like the simple fact that each small segment of American society has a wildly different and complicated relationship to the "environment," and that there has to be a myriad of solutions that take into account these cultural and social factors.

 

Bearing the Brunt

Developing nations were almost entirely eclipsed when U.S. "pragmatists" and European "moralists" slugged it out. "We will continue to be the victims of the adverse impacts of climate change,'' said Sani Daura of Nigeria, spokesman for the Group of 77, which represents most developing countries. The G77 almost walked out of the conference in protest.

 

The small island states in the Pacific are particularly vulnerable to the effects of global warming like rising seas, and increasingly violent storms. Fiji alone could suffer damage costing up to $52 million every year by 2050—equivalent to 4 percent of its current gross domestic product. For Kiribati, it could cost a third of its GDP.

 

Simad Saheed, the leading spokesmen for AOSIS, the Alliance Of Small Island States, explained the plight of the Maldives Islands in the Indian Ocean. "Eighty percent of our land area is less than one meter above sea level. If the sea rises by that much, there will be no Maldives." Instead of providing support, Saheed said representatives from some industrialized countries have callously told him, "Why don't you just move out?"

 

 

 

 

BUSH ADMINISTRATION WON'T HOLD UP

PERSONAL WATERCRAFT BAN IN 13 NATIONAL PARKS

 

By Robert Gehrke, Reuters, April 11, 2002

 

Washington - The Bush administration will not try to delay a ban on

personal watercraft scheduled to take effect April 22 in 13 national

parks and recreation areas.

 

The ban is a result of a Clinton-era rule that set a deadline for

parks to establish regulations governing the watercraft or impose a

blanket ban.

 

Personal watercraft, familiarly known by the trade name Jet Ski, are

high-speed, gas-powered vessels designed to be ridden by one person.

 

So far, 8 of the 13 parks have decided to ban the watercraft.

Superintendents at five other parks have decided some watercraft use

might be appropriate, but environmental assessments are still under

way and rules are being drafted at those parks, meaning they will be

forced to ban watercraft on April 22.

 

The National Park Service had considered trying to push back the

deadline at the five parks where rules were being crafted but didn't

have the legal authority to do so, said Kym Hall, regulations program

manager for the Park Service. "We are going to have to close

temporarily," she said. "We didn't want to have to do that, but we're

going to have to."

 

The Park Service plans to make an announcement Thursday to explain

the reasons for the closures to the public. Eight other parks have

until Sept. 15 to adopt rules for watercraft or ban them.

 

The National Park Service has already prohibited watercraft use on 66

of the 87 bodies of water under its jurisdiction.

 

Two factors could delay the April 22 ban. A federal judge in Texas

has been asked by a watercraft industry group to prevent the ban from

taking effect. The judge has scheduled a hearing for April 17. The

House also could vote as early as next week on a bill that would

postpone the ban until December 2004, although IT IS UNLIKELY THE BILL

WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THE DEMOCRATIC-CONTROLLED SENATE.

 

Steve Bosak of the National Parks Conservation Association said

personal watercraft are inappropriate in national parks and threaten

the entire park experience. "These are places that Americans go to get

away from the noise of their everyday lives and hear the waves lapping

against the shore without hearing the incessant buzzing of the Jet Ski

sound," Bosak said.

 

But Monita Fontaine, executive director of the Personal Watercraft

Industry Association, which sued the Park Service over the rule, said

it is premature to close bodies of water to the vessels before

environmental assessments have been done. "You have a disregard of

science, a disregard of legal procedure, and a disregard of public

opinion," Fontaine said. "We have the decision based on the whim of

the superintendent who happened to be stationed in that particular

park."

 

Kristen Brengel of the Wilderness Society said there is evidence that

personal watercraft damage the park environment and wildlife and are a

public safety risk. "These machines are designed for speed. They're

designed for pleasure that has nothing to do with viewing the scenic

value of these national parks," said Brengel. "The science and public

safety impacts are there, and we believe Jet Skis don't belong on our

national parks."

 

* * *

 

Copyright 2002, Reuters All Rights Reserved

Copyright (c) 2001 Environmental News Network Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://pa.lwv.org/wren/index.html

 

 

Personal watercraft ban eyed for Forsythe refuge

The Associated Press
12/29/01 10:19 AM

 

 

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- State environmental officials want to widen a ban on personal watercraft to include the sprawling Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Less than a year ago, the state created its first protected marine area for Island Beach State Park in Ocean County by putting jurisdiction of the parkland and surrounding bay waters under one plan.

 

"What we want to do is see if we can take that same idea and work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to apply that in Forsythe," Lawrence Schmidt, the Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Coastal Planning told The Press of Atlantic City for Saturday's editions.

 

A marine-protected area at Forsythe would apply to uses of motorized watercraft that are incompatible with fish and bird habitats.

 

Kevin DesRoberts, an assistant manager with the Barnegat division of the 46,000-acre federal refuge, said it's unclear how much of the mostly salt marsh refuge would come under the marine-protected area. It's also unclear when the restriction would be formally proposed.

 

The focus of the restriction is to protect the environmentally sensitive areas and the marine creatures that inhabit them from boat propellors and personal watecraft jets that churn up silt along the shallow bottoms.

 

The marine-protected area is one of the strategies contained in the recent Coastal Zone Management report to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

The DEP's report also proposes creating new rules giving the Great Egg Harbor and Maurice rivers greater protection from development. The two South Jersey rivers are being targeted for such protection because they are part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers program overseen by the National Park Service.

 

Those rules could be proposed within two year, Schmidt said.

 

The coastal report also includes other initiative, such as creating a set of indicators to measure whether the coastal environment is improving.

 

 

State environmental officials would use the indicators to assess the coastal program's success, replacing the traditional yardsticks of keeping track of how permit applications are reviewed or how many violation notices are issued.

 

 

 

 

 
TRR photo by David Hulse
Vast mud flats have now appeared at the Cannonsville Reservoir in Delaware County, as the 7,000-acre reservoir water levels continued to sink to levels unseen since its completion in 1965. (Click for larger image)

Drought impact apparent at Cannonsville

By DAVID HULSE

DEPOSIT - At the rate that it is draining, the 7,000-acre Cannonsville Reservoir could be technically empty by early next month.

 

Storage at the New York City reservoirs dropped inches below the formal drought line on November 26 and should it stay there until week's end, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) will likely declare the basin to be in a drought.

 

If you want to see drought impacts, take a drive to Delaware County and look at the hole where some 96 billion gallons of water filled the reservoir to overflowing last spring. Today there are mud flats and the eerie sights of roads and foundations of communities drowned by the reservoir's construction.

 

On November 27, Cannonsville stood at 3.4 percent of capacity.

 

Cannonsville has been taking the brunt of the drought for the system, which includes the Pepacton, Neversink and Rondout reservoirs. System storage Tuesday stood at 58 percent of normal, down some 152 billion gallons from this time last year.

 

Why has one reservoir been so completely drained?

 

Those familiar with New York City policy say that Cannonsville's West Branch waters are of a lower drinking water quality than those of the other three reservoirs in the system. "We prefer to think that we're providing the best drinking water for people in New York City, rather than saying we're dumping the lesser quality water downstream," said a spokesman who chose not to speak for attribution.

 

Cannonsville has the largest watershed-450 square miles-of the Delaware reservoirs and this statistically provides it the opportunity to refill the fastest, the spokesman added.

 

Without those releases the impact on the downstream main stem of the Delaware would have been much more apparent. With tributaries below the reservoirs drying up, "our releases have been making up about three-quarters of the Delaware's flow this fall.... There's not much you're going to do about a winter drought. You just have to get through it," the spokesman concluded.

 

Bill Douglass, executive director of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC), said council members have been debating taking a position about the massive pull-down at Cannonsville. "We're going to bring it up at the monthly meeting in December," he said.

TRR photo by David Hulse

A drowned road resurfaces at Cannonsville Reservoir. (Click for larger image)

Douglass said UDC staff believe that they need to know what impact that reservoir draw down will have on the downstream areas. "The lower it gets, the more concentration there is of any pollution that enters the river," Douglass said.

There is also a question of de-oxygenated "dead water" at the reservoir bottom, along with  nutrients concentrated in effluent from remaining flow, he said.

 

"Is there going to be a negative impact of the low volume going into the reservoir in winter season?" Douglass asked. "There are a lot of fish there. What are they feeding on.... There's a lot of questions that need to be asked," Douglass said.

 

A basin-wide drought declaration would further reduce federally directed releases that maintain downstream Delaware flow levels. At drought, the flow target at Montague, NJ, is reduced from 1,750 cubic feet per second (cfs) to as low 1,100 cfs, and New York City drinking water withdrawals shrink from 800 million gallons daily (mgd) to 520 mgd.

 

 

 

 

For Immediate Release

December 3, 2001

 

RESERVOIRS AT DROUGHT LEVELS - EMERGENCY HEARING SCHEDULED

 

(WEST TRENTON, N.J.) - Storage in three large water supply reservoirs at the headwaters of the Delaware River has dropped from drought warning to drought levels, automatically triggering additional reductions in the amount of water released from the reservoirs into the river and the amount diverted out of the Delaware River Basin to New York City and New Jersey.

 

The reductions are required under the Delaware River Basin Commission's (DRBC's) drought operating plan which is based on storage levels in the three reservoirs (Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink). The impoundments are located in New York State's Catskill Mountains region and owned by New York City.

 

A public hearing on whether to declare a drought emergency and implement additional water conservation measures is scheduled for December 18th at the commission's offices in West Trenton, N.J.

 

As of December 3, combined storage in the three reservoirs was 66 billion gallons, over 100 billion gallons below normal, and 24 percent of capacity.

 

Under the commission's drought operating plan, which has been implemented in stages over the past month, the allowable water supply diversions to New York City have been lowered from a normal of 800 to 520 million gallons per day (mgd), and diversions to northern New Jersey through the Delaware and Raritan Canal have been lowered from the normal of 100 to 65 mgd. In addition, minimum flow targets in the Delaware River have been lowered from 1,750 to 1,350 cubic feet per second (cfs) at Montague, N.J., and from 3,000 to 2,500 cfs at Trenton, N.J.

 

Smaller cutbacks in the out-of-basin diversions and flow targets automatically took effect on November 4 when falling reservoir storage triggered a drought warning.

 

"These water-conserving actions in place now save up to 540 million gallons per day of storage in the New York City reservoirs," noted Carol R. Collier, the DRBC's executive director.

 

Over 17 million people rely on the waters of the Delaware River Basin. New York City, which lies outside the watershed, gets roughly half its water from its Upper Delaware reservoirs.



In addition, Merrill Creek Reservoir, located near Phillipsburg, N.J., and constructed by a consortium of electric utilities in the late 1980s, has been releasing water to the Delaware River to replace evaporation losses caused by power generation. The releases are triggered by operating criteria approved by the commission.

 

Rainfall is approximately 10 inches below normal for the year in the upper basin. The last five months have been very dry in the central portion of the watershed, particularly in the Philadelphia area, central and southern New Jersey, and in extreme northern Delaware. Southern Delaware has not been as hard hit by the dry spell.

 

In response to the parched conditions, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania last month declared drought warnings in the Delaware River Basin counties of Chester, Lancaster, and Lebanon, and drought watches in Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Delaware, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, and Wayne counties. New Jersey declared a drought warning on November 21 for the portion of the state located within the Delaware Basin, mainly the counties that flank the Delaware River. New York State has declared drought watches for the eight counties in the Delaware River Watershed – Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Greene, Orange, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster.

 

Voluntary conservation measures are being requested in these areas, a move that is strongly supported by the commission.

 

The declarations by the states are based on comprehensive sets of drought indicators including precipitation, storage, and ground water and stream flow levels. The commission's drought plan is unique in that it is triggered solely by declining reservoir storage. The plan is designed to manage river flows to protect aquatic life and control the upstream migration of salty water, which can cause corrosion problems for riverbank industry and increase water treatment costs for municipalities.

 

"With cooler weather and generally reduced demand for water, the dry conditions are not as noticeable in day-to-day activities as they would be during the summer, " said Ms. Collier. "However, refilling the large reservoirs will require above normal rain and snow during the winter and spring. For this reason, additional conservation measures may be required if rainfall continues at below normal levels."

 

A drought emergency declaration by the commission on December 18 would enable it to enact special management provisions under its drought operating plan. These special actions are aimed at conserving storage in the regional reservoir system, and to provide for tighter control of salinity intrusion in the tidal Delaware River. They could include directing the use of storage in Lake Wallenpaupack, a hydropower facility located near Hawley, Pa., and the Mongaup hydropower reservoirs in New York State. Additional water could be stored in Francis E. Walter Reservoir, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' impoundment located at the headwaters of the Lehigh River which normally is designated exclusively for flood control.

 

In addition, Lake Nockamixon, a state-operated reservoir situated in Bucks County, Pa., could be used for supporting the Trenton flow target.

 

The commission's drought operating plan, which is designed for managing regional storage, complements the plans of the states which respond to local water supply conditions. Reduction in non-essential water use lowers water demand and subsequently will allow for better recovery of ground and surface water systems during the winter and spring period.



The Delaware River Basin Commission is an interstate-federal agency responsible for managing the water resources within the 13,539 square-mile watershed, which drains portions of New York State, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Commission members are the governors of those four states and a federal representative appointed by the President.

 

***

Contacts: Christopher Roberts, 609-883-9500 ext. 205, croberts@drbc.state.nj.us ;


Clarke Rupert, 609-883-9500 ext. 260, crupert@drbc.state.nj.us

 

***

 

 

For Immediate Release

November 6, 2001

 

DRY WEATHER DROPS RESERVOIRS TO DROUGHT WARNING LEVELS

 

(WEST TRENTON, N.J.) - Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Executive Director Carol R. Collier today announced that Upper Delaware Basin reservoir storage has declined to drought warning levels, triggering reductions in Delaware River flow targets and water diversions to New York City and New Jersey.

 

"These actions are required by the commission's drought operating plan, which is based on storage levels in three large reservoirs located in the Catskill Mountains at the basin's headwaters in New York State," said Ms. Collier. As of November 6, combined storage in the New York City-owned Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink reservoirs was about 91 billion gallons, 58 billion gallons below normal, and 33 percent of capacity.

 

Water supply diversions to New York City were lowered from 800 to 560 million gallons per day, and maximum diversions to New Jersey through the Delaware and Raritan Canal were reduced from 100 to 70 million gallons per day. In addition, minimum flow targets in the Delaware River were lowered from 1,750 to 1,550 cubic feet per second at Montague, N.J. and from 3,000 to 2,700 cubic feet per second at Trenton, N.J. Releases from basin reservoirs are used to meet these targets.

 

"These water-conserving actions save up to 370 million gallons per day of storage in the New York City reservoirs," said Ms. Collier.

 

Over 17 million people rely on the waters of the Delaware River Basin. New York City, which lies outside the basin, gets roughly half its water from the Upper Delaware reservoirs.

 

In addition, the Merrill Creek Reservoir, located near Phillipsburg, N.J. and constructed by a consortium of electric utilities in the late 1980s, is now releasing water to the Delaware River to replace evaporation losses caused by power generation. These releases are being triggered by operating criteria approved by the commission.

 

Rainfall during 2001 has been deficient in most areas of the basin except for the extreme south, where Sussex and Kent counties in Delaware have had above-normal precipitation. Rainfall is nearly eight inches below normal for the year in the Upper Delaware Basin, where the large New York City reservoirs are located. The last four months have been very dry in the central portion of the basin, particularly in the Philadelphia area and in central and southern New Jersey. October was extremely dry throughout the basin, with an average of less than one inch of rainfall.

 

In response to the dry conditions, Pennsylvania has declared drought warnings in the Delaware River Basin counties of Chester, Lancaster, and Lebanon, and drought watches in Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Delaware, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, and Wayne counties. New Jersey declared a drought watch for the entire state on October 30. New York State has declared drought watches for the eight counties falling in the Delaware River Watershed -- Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Greene, Orange, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster. Voluntary conservation measures are being requested in these areas.The designations are based on each state's comprehensive set of indicators including precipitation, storage, and ground water and stream flow levels. "The designations and the call for voluntary water conservation by the states are strongly supported by the commission," said Ms. Collier.

 

"With cooler weather and generally reduced demand for water, the dry conditions are not as noticeable in day-to-day activities as they would be during the summer, " noted Ms. Collier. "However, refilling the large reservoirs will require above-normal precipitation during the winter and spring. Additional conservation measures may be required if precipitation continues at below-normal levels."

 

The DRBC, founded in 1961, is an interstate-federal agency responsible for managing the water resources within the 13,539 square-mile Delaware River Watershed, which drains portions of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Its members are the governors of those four states and a federal representative appointed by the President.

 


Save Some For Tomorrow
By Carol R. Collier
July 20, 1999

 

Many of us take water for granted in this country. We turn on the tap and, whoosh, out it comes, a life sustaining substance that often costs less per year than a subscription to cable TV.

 

That's not true in some foreign lands. There, the water may come on at seven in the morning, then be turned off at two in the afternoon. There's just not enough to go around. And it may not be fit to drink.

 

Water isn't manufactured. We must wait for the rain and snow and hope enough falls to recharge our ground water supplies, replenish our reservoirs, and bolster flows in our streams and rivers.

In the Delaware River Basin, which drains portions of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, that hasn't happened lately. In fact, it's been so dry that some ground water levels and stream flows are at record lows. What little rain we've had has been mostly soaked up by thirsty vegetation.

 

We need your help.

 

Here are some things you can do to conserve until the rains return:

 

Remember that awareness is the first step in conservation.

 

Consider these facts and hopefully you will think twice about how you use water, especially during dry times:

 

Water conservation is a smart investment not only for now but for the future.

 

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), which manages the water resources within the 13,539 square-mile basin, has an ambitious program to reduce water demand. Recognized both nationally and internationally, it has resulted in significant cost savings, environmental protection, and improved drought preparedness.

 

Such programs make a difference, underscoring the fact that water is a finite commodity.

 

So when you turn on the spigot, don't take that whoosh for granted. Instead, think of ways to save some water for tomorrow.

 

Make conservation a lifelong habit.

 

(Ms. Collier, who has published widely on environmental and water-related topics, is the Delaware River Basin Commission's executive director. For more information on smart water use, visit the Commission's web site: www.state.nj.us/drbc/)

 

 


Bill would put damper on watercraft

04/20/01

By LISA CORYELL
Staff Writer

With warm weather perhaps here to stay, some residents along the Delaware River are dreading another harbinger of summer -- the high-pitched sound of personal watercraft criss-crossing the water.

This year, though, relief may be in sight.

State lawmakers are poised to enact legislation next month giving communities more power to regulate the gas-powered vessels better known by brand names such as Jet Ski and WaveRunner.

Officials in municipalities along the Delaware said they welcome the chance to impose restrictions.

"We've been trying for a long time to do something about Jet Skis, but we haven't been able to," said Lambertville Mayor David Del Vecchio. "This (legislation) appears to be consistent with what we've tried to do."

Those who enjoy the sport say legislators are going overboard with their regulations.

"It's just one more rule we have to follow," said Kevin Kennedy, who has been riding personal watercraft on the Delaware since 1989. "How many rules are they going to make? They let boats do whatever they want, and they single out the Jet Skiers. It's not fair."

The new law would allow municipalities to restrict operation of personal watercraft within 100 feet of houses, beaches, shorelines, fishermen, bathers and other boats. Current law requires them to be operated at an idled speed within 50 feet of either a bathing beach, swimmers or a shoreline area.

Violations of the local ordinance would be a disorderly persons offense.

Del Vecchio said separating the craft from other water activities is a good idea.

"It's not that they're doing anything wrong," he said. "It's just that it's like having a NASCAR vehicle on a road with bicycles. It's not a good mix. We have people who row, people who fish, people who take their boats out on the river, and Jet Skis are in conflict with that."

Burlington City Mayor Herman Costello agreed.

"I don't object to people operating Jet Skis in the middle of the channel, but when they come close to the shoreline they create problems," Costello said. "They move too fast and they cause turbulence in the water, which creates problems for the boats docked there. We've had some of our docking facilities damaged by big boats bumping into them. We need some way to control them."

For years, boaters and fishermen have complained that personal watercraft riders zoom in and out of river traffic in a daredevil fashion, ignoring common safety rules.

Kennedy, a service manager at Hamilton Yamaha where personal watercraft are sold, said the state now requires riders to be at least 16 and to have taken a safety course.

"I totally support that law," he said. "Things have really gotten a lot better. I think the laws we have now are adequate."

Besides making waves and creating a danger on the water, personal watercraft, with their high-pitched motors, are a source of noise pollution, Del Vecchio said.

"You can hear a constant drone whenever they're around," he said. "The people who live off the river say it's always a problem."

Kennedy said new models are quieter and more environmentally friendly.

"Besides, I don't know why Lambertville is complaining about the noise when 1,000 motorcycles and trucks drive through that town a day," he said. "There's noise everywhere. I don't see why they're picking on the Jet Skis."

In the past, communities such as Lambertville have lacked the jurisdiction to regulate activities on the waters that border them.

Legislation giving them such powers has failed in the past, said state Sen. Leonard Connors, R-Surf City, sponsor of the bill before the Senate.

"There wasn't enough public support before," he said. "Unless you lived on the water, chances are you weren't even aware that there were problems with Jet Skis."

Connors expects his latest bill and an identical measure before the Assembly to pass.

"The timing is right," he said. "More and more people are getting involved in Jet Skiing and there are more and more problems. It's like a boil that's finally come to a head. The purpose of this bill is to allow municipalities to take charge and enforce the law within 100 feet of their shoreline."

 

 

Mongaup still a burr under the river council’s saddle

By DAVID HULSE

NARROWSBURG — A perennial opponent to new development in the Mongaup area joined forces with a defender of the river management plan’s integrity last week in a new broadside against the state and federal governments and the Upper Delaware Council (UDC).

Phil Chase, who represents Deerpark on the UDC, charged that the council had been “riding the fence” on what Chase calls a dangerous boating access planned by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for just upstream of the confluence of the Delaware and Mongaup rivers.

He also used the opportunity to take a new shot at the National Park Service (NPS) for failing to intervene against an unsafe action. “They don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them,” Chase said claiming that NPS plans to inherit the property, along with the nearby acreage DEC is ceding to the feds for construction of an Upper Delaware visitors center.

But Chase, who has complained for years about the visitor center plan, appeared to gain new ground in recalling that the 1988 river management plan, the scenic river’s operations gospel, did not envision a boating access at the site, only a river rest stop accessible solely from the water.

TRR photo by David Hulse
George Frosch, left, and Phil Chase

An earlier challenge of the access produced a language change, referring to the access as “interim” rather than permanent, when the project was first challenged as a violation of the river plan. In that vein, Water Use Committee chair Charles Weiland said Chase was rehashing old issues, and that it had been agreed that Lumberland’s approval would “be the barometer” for the acceptability of the project.

“What was the vote on that?” Chase asked.

“That’s me,” Weiland replied.

“You’re running the council?” Chase retorted.

The exchange prompted George Frosch, the UDC’s senior river activist, to issue a warning. “Be very careful when you open that can of worms… If you can dump this, you can dump anything else,” Frosch said.

NPS Upper DelawareActing Superintendent Sandra Schultz denied that NPS had any designs on the access property, and initially was drawn into the area to deal with a chronic trash complaint stemming from informal use of the area.

The discussion highlighted a problem UDC plans to deal with this fall, said executive director Bill Douglass. With an eye toward beginning an updating process, the council plans a series of history discussions about the river plan’s controversial beginnings, mainly for the benefit of newer UDC members. That completed, members will be asked to suggest areas for change in the document as a first step in a formal revision, which would involve public hearings and approvals by all the participating governments and agencies.

 

 

 

Lake Roosevelt included in watercraft ban

 

By JOHN HEILPRIN
The Associated Press
4/13/01 4:48 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Only two more summers for personal watercraft in the national parks, including Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area in Washington state.

The small vessels that generally accommodate one or two riders are to be banned in all national parks and recreation areas by Sept. 15, 2002, unless the Park Service can prove the machines don't harm the environment on a site-by-site basis.

The gasoline-powered boats are already banned from 66 of the 87 parks, recreational areas and seashores where motorized boats are allowed.

But the settlement of a case accepted Thursday by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler affects the remaining 21, including Lake Roosevelt, actually part of the Columbia River in northeast Washington.

Kessler dismissed a challenge from watercraft manufacturers and vendors to the agreement negotiated last December by the Interior Department and the Bluewater Network, a San Francisco-based environmental group. The Bush administration endorsed the accord.

"This Jet Ski settlement is great news for the national parks," said Sean Smith, spokesman for Bluewater Network, which had sued the National Park Service. "It will better protect the visiting public as well as park resources and wildlife from these noisy, smelly and dangerous machines."

The Park Service agreed that each of the sites will be added to a list of personal watercraft-free zones in two years unless it can be shown the boats are harmless.

Last year, the Park Service banned them from two-thirds of the national parks and Bluewater Network filed a federal lawsuit to widen the ban to the remaining areas.

The Personal Watercraft Industry Association and the American Watercraft Association tried unsuccessfully to intervene.

Manufacturers and owners have argued that personal watercraft pollute less and are more maneuverable than motorboats, and that the nation's 1.2 million watercraft owners have a right to use public waterways.

Monita Fontaine, the industry association's director, said Thursday she was disappointed but still expected to get personal watercraft, which cost an average of $7,000, approved for use in the parks based on new technology that reduces noise and emissions.

Over the past three years, she said, the two-stroke outboard motors used in the boats have reduced their hydrocarbon emissions by 75 percent and their noise by 70 percent.

"If there is evidence that there is a substantial impact on the environment from Jet Ski use, they have the right to ban them," she said. "However, we believe that we will be able to pass any environmental assessment."

The 21 areas affected are:

--Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Arizona, Utah)

--Lake Mead National Recreation Area (Arizona, Nevada)

--Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (California)

--Curecanti National Recreation Area (Colorado)

--Cumberland Island National Seashore (Georgia)

--Gulf Island National Seashore (Florida, Mississippi)

--Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (Indiana)

--Cape Cod National Seashore (Massachusetts)

--Assateague Island National Seashore (Maryland/Virginia)

--Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Minnesota)

--Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (Montana)

--Cape Lookout National Seashore (North Carolina)

--Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (New Jersey, Pennsylvania)

--Fire Island National Seashore (New York)

--Gateway National Recreation Area (New York)

--Chickasaw National Recreation Area (Oklahoma)

--Amistad National Recreation Area (Texas)

--Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (Texas)

--Padre Island National Seashore (Texas)

--Big Ticket National Preserve (Texas)

--Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area (Washington)

 

------

On the Net:

Bluewater Network Web site: http://www.bluewaternetwork.org

National Park Service Web site: http://www.nps.gov

Personal Watercraft Industry Association Web site: http://www.pwia.org


 

 

 


DREDGING ACTION ALERT

 

240,000 CUBIC YARDS OF RIVER MUCK IS COMING

TO SOUTH JERSEY

 

THIS RIVER MUCK is going to be dredged from the docks of Tosco Refining Company (Trainer Boro) and Sunoco Refinery-Marcus Hook Facility and then dumped on South Jersey’s Oldmans and Pedricktown Dredge Disposal Sites.

 

IS THE RIVER MUCK CONTAMINATED?????  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Public Notices does not provide that essential information.  Riverkeeper is going on the assumption that it is contaminated because the docking areas to be dredged are the same areas where high volumes of petroleum products are transferred between ship and shore.

 

ONLY YOU CAN DEMAND A FULL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT AND A PUBLIC HEARING!!

 

THE RESPONSE DEADLINE IS FEBRUARY 21ST SO YOU NEED TO WRITE TODAY!!!

WRITE the US Army Corps at the address below.  Demand that no permit be issued until:

 

·        A full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is conducted to determine what contaminants are present and at what levels

 

·        The impacts on water quality during the dredging and disposal operation and the long-term impacts from stormwater runoff at the disposal site are known

 

·        The impacts the contaminated dredge spoils will have as a result of bioaccumulation in the area’s commercial shellfish, finfish and wildlife is known

 

WRITE – US Army Corps of Engineers, Attn Mr. David Caplan, Philadelphia District, 100 Penn Square East, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Reference CENAP-OP-R-200002407-46 or FAX your comments to (215) 656-6543.

 

The Clock is ticking so…ACT NOW !!

 

Delaware Riverkeeper® Network - with offices in the Schuylkill Watershed, Delaware Uplands and Estuary

PO Box 326  §  Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania 18977-0326

Phone: 215-369-1188                                                            Fax: 215-369-1181

E-mail: drkn@libertynet.org        Website: www.libertynet.org/~drkn/

An American Littoral Society Affiliate


Urge the Corps of Engineers to Reform Dam Operations to Save Endangered Species.

Last November, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Final Biological Opinion on the Corps of Engineers' Missouri River dam operations. That opinion concluded that if the Corps does not reform dam operations to include higher flows in the spring and lower flows in the summer, three Missouri River species will likely go extinct. The Corps issued a Draft Implementation Plan for that biological opinion in December, indicating how they intend to implement the Fish and Wildlife Service's recommendations. Unfortunately, in that draft plan, the Corps failed to commit to making changes to dam operations, in particular higher releases of water in the spring and lower releases in the fall. This suggests the Corps will continue to violate the Endangered Species Act and may very well not choose to reform dam operations when it releases a new preferred alternative for the Missouri River Master Water Control Manual ("Master Manual") this May.

The public comment period on the Draft Implementation Plan ends this Friday, February 16th. We need your help to make sure that as the Corps finalizes the implementation plan, it includes the dam operation changes suggested by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Make your voice heard for Missouri River endangered species by sending the e-mail below to Mike George, implementation plan project leader for the Corps of Engineers.

The Missouri River needs your help right away! To email Mike George, Project Manager, Omaha District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visit  www.americanrivers.org/takeaction/ and click on "Urge the Corps of Engineers to Reform Dam Operations to Save Endangered Species."

 

 

Make most of 'wild and scenic' Delaware River, congressman says
By: John Tredrea, The Beacon, (The Packet Group) February 07, 2001
   Backed by officials of the National Park Service, U.S. Congressman Rush Holt appeared at Washington Crossing Park Jan. 30 to call on area officials and residents to "get to work" on making the most of the opportunity provided by the recent federal designation of the lower Delaware River as "wild and scenic."
   "This designation does prevent damming of this section of the Delaware," the congressman said. "But most of the other benefits are on us (at the local level) to bestow. The designation does not explicitly or automatically give them to us."
   He added, "Wild and Scenic River designation encourages natural and historic preservation and helps preserve the future of ecologically sensitive recreation areas."
   The congressman called on area officials to accept invitations, to be sent out soon, for a regional forum on how to deal with the designation, as "wild and scenic," of a 65-mile stretch of the Delaware extending from the Delaware Water Gap in the northern part of the state south to Washington Crossing in Hopewell Township.
   The forum will be held in Prallsville Mills in Stockton.
   In 1978, 110 miles of the river extending north of the Water Gap were designated a Wild and Scenic River area by the federal government.
   Congressman Holt and Bill Sharpe of the National Park Service said the "wild and scenic" designation will aid communities by providing federal planning, technical and financial assistance to help protect the river.
   Federal money will not be used to buy land along the river and deed-restrict it against development, Mr. Sharpe said. Rather, federal assistance will be geared toward helping towns enact land-use regulations that would help preserve as much land along the river in its natural state as possible.
   Examples of local land use regulations that can help, Mr. Sharpe said, are limitations on the amount of ground near the river that can be covered with impervious surface, such as blacktop and transfer of development rights away from lands near the river. Aiding the work needed to enact such laws, he said, would be compilation of natural resource inventories by municipalities.
   "The lower Delaware River flows through the heart of one of the most heavily populated and industrialized corridors in our nation," Mr. Holt said. "Sprawl, increased runoff created from development and air pollution from more cars and heavy industry threaten the health of the lower Delaware. This designation" as a wild and scenic river will ensure "that the future environmental economic benefits of the lower Delaware River are protected."
   The federal designation of the 65 miles of the lower Delaware River as "wild and scenic" became law at the end of the last year.

 

 

New Jersey Audubon Society

Conservation Department

POSITION STATEMENT

 


December 27, 2000

 

GALE WARNINGS:

GOVERNOR WHITMAN NOMINATED FOR U.S. E.P.A ADMINISTRATOR

 

COMMENTS OF THE NEW JERSEY AUDUBON SOCIETY

By William R. Neil, Director of Conservation

 

On Friday, December 22, 2000, President Elect George Bush nominated Governor Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey to the nation’s top environmental job, Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

New Jersey Audubon feels compelled to speak out after participating intensively for seven years in many of the processes and proposals of her administration. We believe that the Governor of New Jersey is, by temperament, inclination, and management style, poorly suited for this position.

We give all due respect to the Governor’s achievements as a preserver of open space, the preservation of Sterling Forest in New York, and her 1,000,000 acre program, the idea for which originated in a policy memo drafted by New Jersey Audubon Society on March 4, 1996. But saving open space in a roll-of-the-dice pattern is quite a different thing than systematically controlling sprawl in New Jersey, where the Governor is visibly failing. That’s because she has been quite content with a toothless, voluntary State Plan that lacks standards, leaving zoning and building densities in the hands of municipalities which won’t zone to effectively protect even the most sensitive of the Garden State’s natural resources. Essentially, Governor Whitman is turning her back on our own best land-use history. In our Pinelands, which have been shielded since 1980 by one of the nation’s most innovative regulatory land-use systems, votes of the Commission overseeing its regulations now go 2-1 to weaken those protections, thanks to a spate of poor appointments by Governor Whitman. Saving open space is not, however, central to the mission of the USEPA, and it is the reluctance of Governor Whitman to build upon New Jersey’s good tradition of land use regulation, that offers us a strong clue about what is to come and worries us the most about her appointment to the USEPA.

We appreciate the views of New Jersey’s Senators and some national environmental groups who reason that, given President-Elect Bush’s environmental record and views, we should consider ourselves fortunate to have a moderate on the environment – we could do much worse, they say. While this certainly is a plausible position to take on the rather grim prospects for the environment under President Bush, we respectively disagree with this rather over-simplified fatalism.

Because of our first hand knowledge and experience under Governor Whitman, we feel that we must issue "gale warnings" to our representatives and the national environmental community. The primary mission of the USEPA is to issue regulations and standards governing the amount of pollutants that can be legally discharged to our air and water and to protect human health from at least some of the myriad of chemical products that appear in the marketplace. EPA also has important oversight duties concerning the regulation of wetlands. Thus regulatory concerns are at the heart of the matter. But it is on regulatory issues that Governor Whitman has serious philosophical and practical problems. It is her attempts to weaken wetlands and water regulations that have caused the greatest uproar in New Jersey. She herself set the stage for struggles in these areas by coming into office with barely disguised hostility toward environmental regulations. The code words used in the fall campaign by President Elect Bush – "command and control" - were heard early and often in the first years of the Whitman administration.

Her Administration spent a great deal of time promoting the Dutch model of environmental regulation which, among much else, sets long term goals and gives businesses the freedom to pick the methods. It sounded so good, until one stopped gazing at the Dutch "heavens" and focused on the ground-level attempts in Washington (the Contract with America and Congressman Schuster’s "Dirty Water" Bill) and Trenton to weaken water pollution standards. We said it at the time and we worry about it for the nation’s sake now: while everyone sat around Whitman’s "stakeholders" tables pretending they had no big differences and promising not to sue each other (at least that was the Governor’s hope), sophisticated lobbyists for industry were hell-bent on ripping out the floorboards of our national and state protective standards. While the Governor held a soothing green umbrella over the processes, reassuring the public of her commitment to environmental protection, and stressing the need for efficiency and cutting red tape, water and wetland protection standards were actually being weakened.

It was not as if clues were missing for what was about to unfold. The water battles had been preceded by other policy initiatives that should have given friends of the environment pause. As David Halbfinger wrote in the New York Times on December, 26, 2000 ("Two Grades, One Record," pps. 1& 26.):

…she cut its budget (NJDEP) by 30 percent and laid off hundreds of workers. She ordered that state regulations be no more stringent than federal rules. And she cut inspections, eliminated penalties and introduced grace periods for violators, to the point that collections of environmental fines plunged 80 percent.

Adopting the motto "Open for Business," Governor Whitman eliminated the environmental prosecutors Mr. Florio had introduced, and replaced a public advocate’s office, which had at times sued the state on behalf of environmental groups, with a business ombudsman’s office to guide businesses through the permitting process. And she sought to move away from punitive measures toward voluntary compliance. (P.26)

There has been a predictable pattern in Governor Whitman’s handling of environmental regulations. It began in early 1996 with the publication of a massive rewrite and weakening of water- related regulations, running to hundreds of pages in the February 5, 1996 issue of the New Jersey Register. The scope and sophistication of the technical changes and weakenings placed comprehension of the proposal out of the reach of most citizens. Thus began a long battle of official denial of increased pollution, op-ed and letter-to-the-editor debates and gradual retreat and withdrawal of the proposal for re-write under a growing storm of public protest, as the technical and "legal" cover for the weakenings was exposed. The same process, on a smaller scale, happened with the December 2, 1996 publication in the New Jersey Register of revisions to New Jersey’s Fresh Water Wetlands Protection Act rules, the nation’s strongest. Again, a storm of public criticism led to the rules withdrawal. They would re-emerge, four years later, in the summer of 2000, in a massive re-write that stretched to hundreds of pages, much larger than the original, and again have come under a hail of criticism that they are poor revisions and loaded with new General Permits that trouble conservationists.

Most recently, this year, as the culmination of a process that has dragged out since 1996, Governor Whitman’s wastewater and watershed rule proposal, again running to hundreds of pages, was greeted with nearly universal incomprehensibility this past summer. Builders, the state Business and Industry Association, and municipal officials, all asked for more time to understand a rule that they had had months to digest. And with all the legal and technical help money can buy, they were still not sure they understood how the rule worked - or didn’t work. This was for a rule that was supposed to help control sprawl and lend itself to predictability and certainty in the crucial policy area of wastewater infrastructure planning. Much of the environmental community, while lauding the Governor’s goals, found the rule much too weak and lacking in the clarity and standards necessary to achieve this goal. As we write in December, the NJ Legislature is on the verge of declaring the proposal out of step with Legislative intent, very broadly defined. Our view is that despite having had nearly 4 years to decide what she wants to do, Governor Whitman has once again made nearly all parties dissatisfied and still has not made up her mind on key policy calls that are necessary to end its utter confusion.

That was what led us to make our "osprey" comparison. The osprey is a new Marine Corps hybrid aircraft that is both plane and helicopter, but which seems to do neither one very well, and crashes frequently. It looks like it has a design "identity crisis." So does Governor Whitman when it comes to environmental regulations. These are not good omens for someone heading into the top job at EPA.

Neither is the fact that the Governor keeps quite a distant, hands-off approach to these matters. In the four years of the watershed process, involving scores of meetings with stakeholders, the Governor never set foot in any of the meetings. In the first wetland regulations’ revision proposal, when it was withdrawn under withering criticism in 1997, the press accounts made it sound like the terrible rule must have been issued under some rogue administrator from a different administration, not her very own at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. It was as if she was totally unaware that her own DEP Commissioner was publishing gutting regulations that she would later have to disown. There seemed to be no connection, no responsibility. Indeed, throughout the numerous meetings we’ve attended through the Whitman Administration’s massive regulatory revision processes, we don’t ever recall seeing the Governor attend, sit down once and get her hands dirty and share her thoughts and ideas with all the suffering stakeholders. It may be one reason why these have been, despite her soothing sounds and wishes, time after time, rather fruitless stalemates that leave participants with a bitter aftertaste. And, we should note, these have ended in stalemates after conservationists have exhausted themselves in blunting the worst of the weakening provisions.

We have heard quite of few comments recently about how Governor Whitman has protected New Jersey’s coast. We think you should know that her revisions of New Jersey coastal law (called CAFRA) started out pretty well, weakened year by year as they dragged out between 1997-1999, and have ended with both builders and environmentalists suing on grounds so convoluted that they make the recent election issues in Florida seem straightforward. And the Governor flatly refused to campaign with us to get the Legislature to close an infamous coastal law loophole, which greatly compromises the effectiveness of the regulatory changes she proposed. Time after time on major environmental issues, this Governor has refused to take up any issue that might give her a difficult road in the Legislature.

Recently, in an interview with the Star-Ledger, (December 20, 2000, "Terms of Triumph and of Frustration," page 32, ) the Governor spoke some revealing and troubling words about her views of those that will be competing before her at EPA, and have been competing in the policy arena before her as Governor for the past 7 years. She said that

If you let it be seen that you can only have an either/or, we’ll lose to business, because they’ve got more gumption, more dollars to put behind efforts, more power to sway things. We’ve got to show that we can strike the balance, and we’ve done that and done that successfully. (Our emphasis).

Now that’s a marvelously revealing comment, and one that troubles us for someone heading into EPA. We thank Governor Whitman for her candor about who has more power and money, which is a frank and correct observation about this political era, as advocates for campaign finance reform never cease in telling us. But as for gumption, defined as courageous or ambitious enterprise, as opposed to just shrewd common sense (from the context it seems the governor meant courage and ambition), we can only note that based on the state of the environmental community in NJ over the past ten years, we might forgive her for this observation. That was not always the case however, because it took a lot of gumption to get the Pinelands legislation and the nation’s toughest wetlands protections passed, in 1979 and 1987, respectively. Since then, on land-use regulatory tools, the state’s gone South and West with a vengeance.

But it also seems that this is a clear personal and philosophical preference with a troubling implication: one can’t oppose business interests on major regulatory or legislative matters and it’s futile to try, we guess even when it’s in the public interest to do so. And on some matters of great importance at the EPA involving questions of human and ecosystem health, it is often necessary to impose substantial costs on business interests. Notice we didn’t say always or in every situation. But this Governor’s preference is clear, and it can well lead to a lack of necessary objectivity - objectivity which the EPA Administrator post demands.

We think that the Governor’s attitude translates all too easily into two classes of citizenship and standing before the regulatory bodies. We said as much in watching her Administration give the cranberry growers of New Jersey the go ahead to destroy 300 acres of wetlands even though more than 90% of the written comments from the public opposed her General Permit proposal and the industry was facing a known supply glut. Not only has her stance on this permit sanctioned the unnecessary destruction of wetlands, now taxpayers at the state and federal level now are kicking in some $73 million dollars to aid price-stricken growers and landowners in the cranberry industry, when it was the industry’s own relentless pursuit of expansion which caused their market to crash. Because of massive amounts of campaign contributions and the fact that the heads of the regulatory agencies are political appointees, we testified bluntly in 1999 that the environmental community implicitly did not have equal standing before the agencies considering the proposals.

We do think, however, that plenty of gumption was on display when one of the state’s largest political donors and cranberry growers, A.R. DeMarco Enterprises, Inc. was accused of filling 22 acres of wetlands without obtaining a permit so that he could expand his cranberry bog operations. New Jersey’s new Inspector General issued (November, 2000) a very critical report on New Jersey’s proposed settlement of this, the largest freshwater fill in the law’s history. And this under a DEP Commissioner who was trying to do something very generous for a industry to which he had very close ties. Governor Whitman had no problem with this, and never replied to our letter asking her to withdraw the permit because of Commissioner Shinn’s conflicts of interest. This also has some troubling implications for the role that she will play at EPA.

Similarly, in the face of overwhelming citizen opposition, the Governor has given her full support to the biggest proposed wetlands fill in the Clean Water Act’s history in the Northeast, more than 200 acres to be filled to allow a new massive new shopping mall to be build in the Meadowlands (Meadowlands Mills), just outside New York City. Here the common sense of citizens is on sounder ground than the Mills Corporation’s marketing experts: "just what New Jersey needs," citizen after citizen sarcastically remarked at the public hearings, "another shopping mall." The Governor just can’t seem to see that the EPA chief needs to bring a healthy skepticism to the table about some of the business community’s proposals. When we see how the cranberry industry has wrecked its own market, driving small growers under, and the trends in energy "deregulation" (where are those three consecutive years of lower prices we were all promised when it was being marketed in New Jersey?), we wonder whether the Governor knows that the bloom is off the rose of the era of deregulation?

We would be unfair to the Governor and to environmental history in New Jersey if we didn’t mention and thank the Governor for her rapid protection of the horseshoe crab from over-harvesting. Her actions stand in stark contrast to the horrendous anti-environmental positions of Virginia’s Governor James Gilmore III, who stonewalled, year after year, in limiting his state’s harvest of the horseshoe crab, before he finally relented this past year – the last holdout on the eastern seaboard.

But the full context of Governor Whitman’s action on the horseshoe crab issue needs to be stated. The business interests supporting continued massive harvesting were, by comparison to other issues, a narrow segment of public opinion, truly a special, special interest. So there was no huge political or financial fall-out to her decision. Compared to the financial stakes linked to decisions she will have to make at EPA, this was, as the saying goes, a "piece of cake."

We conclude with a plea to our Senators, to our delegation in Congress: be forewarned on what the Whitman record, relevant to EPA’s regulatory mission, has been in New Jersey. We wonder aloud whether we would not rather face someone going to EPA who was an upfront, open regulatory "gutter." Now we hope that we are wrong about what Governor Whitman will do at EPA, but we think our officials and our colleagues at the national environmental organizations are just a bit rosy eyed if they think, based on the historical record we have laid out, that this is a happy choice to head the federal EPA. We sincerely hope that Governor Whitman realizes the implications of her new role and does an about face from her regulatory history in New Jersey. But the record really cannot support that optimism.

So if you see that inviting green umbrella go up, or hear talk of the Dutch model, our advice is to get your magnifying glass out and legal funds ready, and brace yourselves for grand regulatory revisions - with stealthy weakenings buried deep within. And all done, mind you, with a gracious smile and long denials that anyone so environmental friendly would even consider such actions. Gumption indeed.

Respectfully submitted,

William R. Neil
Director of Conservation
New Jersey Audubon Society

 

 

 

Time travelers on the Delaware: a documentary

 By KRISTA GROMALSKI

 “Time travelers on the Delaware: a documentary” is included with the permission of Paul Kargo, Krista Gromalski and The River Reporter, Narrowsburg, NY.   The complete articles were published the week of December 14, 2000 and the week of December 21, 2000.   The River Reporter is  online at:   www.riverreporter.com

 MILFORD — How do you squeeze 400 million years of history into one hour? It’s complicated, according to award-winning documentarian Paul Kargo. “You end up playing God a lot,” he said. “Everything seems important.”

 Kargo, bureau chief for Channel 13 EyeWatch News operations in Wayne and Pike Counties, narrates and hosts “Down the Upper Delaware: A Sojourn through Time & Place,” a video documentary of the Upper Delaware River to be aired on the Discovery and Learning Channels.

 

The “waterline study of the river,” which captures “the scenic wonder of the Upper Delaware region, from churning whitewater to stunning works of natural art,” will see its premiere on Channel 13 in January and move onto the statewide Pennsylvania Cable Network before heading into the national market.

 

The following are the Channel 13 air times for “Down the Upper Delaware: A Sojourn through Time & Place”:

 

Premiers January 21 at 8:00 p.m.                                               January 30 at 10:00 a.m.
January 23 at 9:00 p.m.                                                               February 2 at 8:30 p.m.
January 24 at 4:00 p.m.                                                               February 3 at 4:30 p.m.
January 29 at 8:00 p.m.

 

Kargo also wrote the script for the documentary, which “explores the history, wildlife and ecological balance of the river valley from glacial formation to contemporary recreational playground.” The video was produced by Blue Ridge Communications, a Pencore company, in partnership with the Department of Interior. It includes local experts discussing the river’s history and ecology.

 

Cooperating organizations include the National Park Service (NPS), the Eagle Institute, Fort Delaware, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (NRA), the Upper Delaware Council (UDC), Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC), the National Canoe Safety Patrol (NCSP) and Kittatinny Canoes. The documentary also features interviews with local fishing guide Pocono Joe Zenes and Narrowsburg’s Floyd Campfield, eel weir operator.

 

In the spirit of keeping the operation local, Kargo enlisted the musical talents of singer/songwriter Gary Owen, of Shohola, to compose the documentary’s musical score. “He looked at raw footage from the documentary while arranging the music,” said Kargo, who has a background in music and assisted Owen.

 

Behind the scenes, chief project videographer Steve Tanczyn, along with Ken Miller, Rob Lasky and Robert Nell, shot and edited the abundance of footage into its final form of eight six-minute segments. The idea sprung from four years of video, which chronicled the annual River Sojourn, Tanczyn said.

 

One of the most difficult tasks was transporting equipment in a canoe, said Tanczyn. The crew packed every piece of equipment imaginable, including tools, he said, since they “had to fix things on the fly.” Lasky said his biggest challenge was collecting historical shots of “things that aren’t here anymore.”

 

As a companion to the documentary, Blue Ridge Communications also produced “Sojourn Behind the Scenes, Making the Delaware Story.” The half-hour segment, produced by Chris Andrew, follows the crew along the river and illustrates the process of creating a documentary. The special feature will run along with “Down the Upper Delaware” on Channel 13.

 

And for “Sojourn Behind the Scenes, Making the Delaware Story”:

 

December 20 at 4:00 p.m.                                                               January 5 at 7:30 p.m.
December 22 at 9:00 p.m.                                                               January 9 at 8:30 p.m.
December 26 at 4:30 p.m.                                                               January 14 at 11:00 a.m.
December 28 at 10:30 p.m.                                                             January 19 at 9:00 p.m.
December 30 at 11:30 a.m.

 

The entire video project was captured in still photography by Christina Geiger.

 

“Down the Upper Delaware” covers a 330-mile course of the river, “from its source in the Catskill Mountains to its estuary in the Delaware Bay.” During filming, Kargo said he and the crew encountered obstacles ranging from copperhead dens to torrential downpours.


The documentary will be for sale through Channel 13’s website at www.brctv.com. Negotiations are underway for possible video sales at NPS welcome centers and bookstores, as well as Kittatinny Canoes.

Kargo’s next documentary project will take a look at Lake Wallenpaupack and the town that lies beneath its waters.

 


 

January 9, 2001
 

In Challenge to Bush, Forest Chief Bars Logging of the Oldest Trees

By DOUGLAS JEHL

Kevin Moloney for The New York Times
Mike Dombeck, chief of the Forest Service, is seeking to protect old-growth trees prized by loggers.


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WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 — In a clear challenge to the incoming Bush administration, the head of the Forest Service issued a policy today barring the cutting of old-growth timber on public lands.

The policy statement by Mike Dombeck, the Forest Service chief, goes far beyond any other efforts to put the oldest and biggest trees in the nation's forests off limits from loggers and mills who prize them for their commercial value. If allowed to stand, the policy would reduce by 50 percent the amount of timber on federal lands that is due to come up for auction, Clinton administration officials said.

Unlike recent environmental rules issued by President Clinton, Mr. Dombeck's forest-management directive does not carry the weight of federal law. But unlike Mr. Clinton, Mr. Dombeck has the right to remain in office for 120 days after the inauguration of President-elect George W. Bush and his directive would remain in effect until reversed by a new Forest Service chief. Barring any change, managers at each of the scores of national forests must heed the new directive in drawing up plans for any timber sales.

People close to Mr. Dombeck described today's statement as a throwing down of the gauntlet for a new administration that has signaled its intent to take a very different position on the use of public lands.

"This is as strong a departure as I can remember from the timber-driven policy approach," said Andy Stahl, who heads an organization of current and former Forest Service employees and who said the policy could have an impact far greater even than that of the forest-protection plan that Mr. Clinton announced last week.

A spokesman for the timber industry, Michael Klein, criticized Mr. Dombeck's move as the latest in a series of steps taken by the Clinton administration that had "essentially made the national forest system off limits" to commercial logging.

Since 1989, the volume of timber cut on federal lands has declined sharply, from 12 billion board feet a year to about 3 billion, in large part because of court-ordered restrictions intended to protect the Pacific Northwest habitat of the spotted owl, an endangered species.

But in that region in particular, old-growth timber is still the biggest commercial prize, a valuable but increasingly scarce resource now believed to account for just 3 percent of the nation's forests. The wide planks cut from big old trees are highly sought by timber retailers and command prices beyond those of smaller, more common trees.

The exact extent of old-growth timber has never been mapped, despite directives to do so under the last Forest Service policy statement, issued in 1989. The new guidance from Mr. Dombeck includes a call for more precise mapping.

In his statement today, Mr. Dombeck described the old-growth policy as an important final stage in a transformation that, under the Clinton administration, has already brought about an array of strict restrictions on logging and other development in national forests.

"Today, we are learning to use timber harvest as a tool to help restore healthier, more diverse, and more resilient forests — not simply to supply wood for society," Mr. Dombeck said in his policy address, at Duke University, in Durham, N.C. "In the future, we will celebrate the fact that national forests serve as a reservoir for our last remaining old- growth forests and their associated ecological and social values."

Mr. Dombeck, 52, who began his government career in 1978, is not entirely new to criticism. Under Mr. Clinton, he served for more than three years as the designated chief of the Bureau of Land Management but never won the required Senate confirmation to that post.

In 1997, Mr. Clinton named him instead as chief of the Forest Service, a post in which he is responsible for some 8 percent of American lands. In that post, he has been an important architect of the forest-protection plan that Mr. Clinton unveiled last week. The plan prohibits road- building and logging on about a third of the national forest land.

Mr. Dombeck also presided over the setting of less-noticed but parallel restrictions that will affect the vast network of roads already in place on the roughly 20 percent of the forest lands that have been developed.

Under those new rules, also announced last week, the current road network will shrink to a significant but still undetermined extent. The network, which is notoriously undermaintained, now extends about 386,000 miles, or 15 times around the earth.

The declared purpose of that change is not only to limit environmental harm caused by road-building and road maintenance but also to protect budgets that have never been adequate for the vast scope of forest- service roads.

Mr. Dombeck, a fisheries biologist, was named Forest Service chief in 1997 after serving as the acting head of the Bureau of Land Management. His appointment to the Forest Service job, which was not subject to Senate confirmation, was seen as a kind of consolation prize.

Under federal rules, Mr. Dombeck, as a member of the senior executive service, cannot be dismissed from his post until 120 days after a change of administration.

That sets him apart from the chiefs of other major land agencies.

People who have been watching the transition process have said there is little doubt that Mr. Dombeck would be replaced in a new administration. While emphasizing his belief in conservation, Mr. Bush has said he believes in restoring a balance that would pay more heed to the wise use of natural resources, including timber, energy and coal.

Even before Mr. Bush takes office, the names of a number of possible successors to Mr. Dombeck have circulated. All of those possible candidates have been less outspoken on behalf of conservation issues than the man who holds the job.

Still, in his speech today, Mr. Dombeck said nothing about the policies of the new administration and appeared to go out of his way to avoid a possible insult.

"Political affiliation made no difference to me or to the land," Mr. Dombeck said.

"Protecting wild and unfragmented landscapes is a bipartisan American tradition that rises above ideology."

A top aide to Mr. Dombeck, Chris Wood, said tonight that the Forest Service chief had no intention of resigning.

"Mike has stated publicly before, Mr. Wood said, "that as long as he is needed and useful that he would like to stay on as chief."


Clinton to announce national forest protections today

 

January 5, 2001
Web posted at: 05:24 AM EST


 


WASHINGTON -- President Bill Clinton is expected on Friday to announce new federal regulations to protect roughly one-third of the national forest system from road building and commercial logging.

The move applies to 58.5 million acres of roadless national forests in 38 states -- an amount larger than all the national parks combined. It is expected to be one of Clinton's last major environmental initiatives before leaving office, an administration official familiar with the plan told CNN.

But some Republican lawmakers are highly critical of the plan and are urging President-elect George W. Bush to scuttle it.

  MESSAGE BOARD
 

The new regulations, which the president plans to unveil during an afternoon speech at the National Arboretum in Washington, provide immediate protection to 9.3 million roadless acres in the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska, the official said. Environmentalists have been flooding the airwaves with ads, urging the president to protect the Tongass.

"The president pledged more than a year ago to protect these places, and this action fulfills that commitment," White House spokesman Elliott Diringer told The Associated Press. "It restores balance to our national forests and ensures strong protection of these extraordinary lands for future generations."

The action comes after Clinton called on the Agriculture Department and the Forest Service back in October 1999 to develop a plan to protect roadless areas in national forests.

After more than 600 public hearings around the country and more than one million comments, the president will announce the regulation is now final, the administration official told CNN.

If the Bush administration decides it wants to undo the new regulations, it would not be easy, said the official.

Some environmentalists say that efforts to overturn Clinton's forest plan "would come with a great deal of political liability for Bush. This has huge public support," maintained Kenneth Rait of the Heritage Forest Campaign, an Oregon-based environmental group.

GOP lawmaker calls plan 'fatally flawed'

The vast majority of roadless federal forests are in the West, including parts of Idaho's Bitterroot range and the Tongass, viewed by environmentalists as North America's rain forest. Smaller sections are scattered across the country from Florida's Apalachicola National Forest and Virginia's George Washington National Forest to New Hampshire's White Mountains.

Clinton's forest plan, largely intact from a proposal unveiled in November, has come under intense attack from mostly Republican Western lawmakers, and from energy, timber and mining industries as being too restrictive.

Last week, Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, the new chairman of the House Resources Committee, urged Bush to work with Congress to roll back the expected forest regulation.

In a letter to Bush and Vice President-elect Dick Cheney, Hansen called the ban on road building and the logging restrictions "one of the most egregious abuses by the Clinton administration."

Hansen also outlined other Clinton-era environmental actions that he thinks should be overturned -- from banning snowmobiles in parks to the president's string of monument designations.

Clinton advisers have argued that the impact on the timber industry would be minimal because the roadless areas -- although 31 percent of all federal forests -- account for only a small percentage of all timber taken from government-owned land.

Still, Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, called the plan "fatally flawed" and predicted it likely will be overturned by the courts. He has complained that the road-building restrictions would prevent the development of large reserves of natural gas, especially in the intermountain West. Timber, mining and energy industries already have threatened lawsuits against the forest plan.

Another of the plan's most vocal critics, Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, has promised "to leave no stone unturned" to find a way to block the Clinton regulation. Several senators have said they will use a never-been-invoked 1996 law that allows Congress to rescind a regulation within 60 days.

But rescinding the regulation may not be easy.

A coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans increasingly has opposed road-building in federal forests, said Rep. George Miller, D-California. As to those who want to overturn Clinton's plan, "they better bring their lunch to that fight" because it will be intense, said Miller.

Environmentalists may still have concerns

The administration official told CNN there was an "unprecedented effort" to inform the public about the plan and to get the public's input, hoping to quell critics who say this move is an example of a president trying to do too much, too quickly during his final 15 days in office.

While environmentalists are likely to be pleased, they could have two concerns. First, the regulations include a grandfather clause, allowing for timber sales "already in the pipeline" rather than requiring a complete ban on logging.

The official said that timber sales already under contract, and those sales already approved by the Forest Service and documented with a record of sale, would be allowed.

Also, in the Tongass, timber sales approved by the Forest Service but not yet documented with the required record of sale would still be allowed.

Secondly, the rule would allow for thinning out of small trees and underbrush when necessary to reduce the risk of forest fire or to preserve the health of the forest. Environmentalists may charge this is simply a loophole for logging, but the official said the administration believes the rule's restrictions will make it difficult to abuse.

Plan aims to ensure timber is available

The plan provides for a certain amount of assistance each year to communities to help redefine their economic base following any loss in timber sales. The official did not have a dollar figure.

The administration projects that six to seven years worth of timber supply would be available under the new rule, and said the long-term goal is to make sure there is timber available for additional years in the future.

The administration official said the president still has five additional monument proposals to consider from Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, signaling that Friday's move may not be the last environmental initiative before Mr. Clinton's term expires.

CNN White House Correspondent Kelly Wallace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Gale Norton nominated to be Secretary of Interior

Statement of Rebecca R. Wodder, president of American Rivers

For Immediate Release
December 29, 2000

Contact:
Peter Kelley, American Rivers
202-347-7550, Ext. 3057 (work)
202-270-8831 (cell)

President-elect Bush in nominating Gale Norton to be Secretary of Interior called her "a leader who will respect the land and honor our national commitment to conservation." Gale Norton herself has promised "to preserve our wonderful national treasures, [and] to restore endangered species." If the Senate confirms her nomination, she will have some extraordinarily tough challenges ahead, and the bar will be set very high by those who care about protecting and restoring our environment.

On her watch, for example, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must protect critical habitat for endangered wildlife like Missouri River sturgeon and Snake River salmon. On her watch we will decide whether to invade the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for the sake of a few months' worth of oil.

Since working for James Watt, the worst Interior Secretary we have ever had, Gale Norton has taken numerous positions that most conservationists disagree with. She worked to pass ill-considered "takings" legislation that would have required taxpayers to pay people not to wipe out critical wildlife habitat on their land. She has argued for giving far more leeway to corporations and state and local governments in deciding whether or not to follow our nation's basic environmental laws.

We believe that a strong economy and a healthy environment go hand in hand, and we welcome the opportunity to show how the new Administration can help protect and restore America's rivers, as many communities around the country have recognized that one of their most important economic assets is a healthy restored river.

We are deeply concerned about how fast freshwater species are going extinct--creatures that live in North America's fresh waters are as likely to become endangered as those that live in tropical rainforests, and five times as likely to be endangered as those that live on land. Wise leadership at the Interior Department will be needed to halt the silent scourge of freshwater extinction, and it will be up to Gale Norton to demonstrate that leadership.

As Americans explored our natural resources in the 19th Century, and harnessed them in the 20th Century, we believe we must spend the 21st century restoring our environmental assets to provide the highest quality of life for our people. The next Interior Secretary has an historic opportunity to lead that charge, not battle against it.

INTERNATIONAL PAPER AND THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ANNOUNCE HISTORIC CONSERVATION AGREEMENT FOR THE ADIRONDACKS

Date: 01/04/01

Thursday, January 4, 2001 (Albany, N.Y.) -- International Paper and The Nature Conservancy today announced a historic agreement that will conserve the forested character of the Adirondack Park, protect important ecological resources, create significant new outdoor recreation opportunities, and maintain the economic benefits of the region's working forests.

Under the agreement, which is one of the largest in the history of The Nature Conservancy’s program in New York State, the Adirondack Chapter of the Conservancy and the Adirondack Land Trust will purchase from International Paper approximately 26,500 acres of land for $10.5 million. The transaction will further critical links between existing conservation and working forest lands, thus perpetuating the unfragmented forest landscape of the Adirondacks.

The lands being purchased by The Nature Conservancy from International Paper are located primarily in the Hamilton County town of Long Lake.  Specifically, the Conservancy is purchasing three parcels:

1. The Nature Conservancy is acquiring the 9,926-acre "Round Lake" tract that includes two large remote lakes -- Round Lake and Loon Pond -- along with extensive wetlands and forests. The parcel is directly adjacent to the northern boundary of New York State's existing Whitney Canoe Area. Round Lake will be a major addition to this public canoe area, and this acquisition will reopen a historic canoe route, linking Little Tupper Lake to the Bog River and Tupper Lake.

2. The Nature Conservancy is acquiring the 15,536-acre Shingle Shanty Pond tract, which links New York State’s Whitney Canoe Area to the Pigeon Lake Wilderness and Lake Lila Primitive Area. The property also harbors extensive wetlands and is located adjacent to one of the largest roadless areas in the eastern United States.

3. The Nature Conservancy will acquire a 1,100-acre tract that encompasses two large undeveloped lakes -- Bog Lake and Clear Pond. This parcel will provide significant new canoeing opportunities, and includes a "canoe carry" foot trail linking New York's existing Lows Lake/Bog River Flow and Lake Lila public canoe areas, thereby opening up a tremendous recreational resource.

This land transaction advances specific purposes embraced by both organizations. "Being born and raised in the Adirondacks, I appreciate how important it is to have a balance between economic activity and conserving our natural resources," said John Dillon, chairman and CEO of International Paper. "International Paper’s 100-year history of forest stewardship in the Park is a terrific example of how these two goals have indeed worked together. And I believe today’s transaction with The Nature Conservancy allows us to continue along this path."

Henry Tepper, State Director for The Nature Conservancy in New York, said, "This unprecedented agreement protects four large lakes, more than twelve smaller ponds, over 4,000 acres of pristine wetlands, 85 miles of rivers and streams, and intact northern hardwood and spruce-fir forests. These forests harbor large mammals like black bear and moose, an extraordinary diversity of bird life, and habitat for thousands of plants, fish, and wildlife species." Tepper continued, "The Nature Conservancy is strongly committed to the conservation of the great northern forest of New York and New England. Toward this end, we are increasingly forging unique, far-sighted partnerships with companies like International Paper, that carefully balance increased ecological protection and recreational opportunities with sustainable forestry. This agreement simultaneously maintains a managed forest landscape, conserves ecological resources, and supports the local economy."

Edward McNeil, Chairman of the Adirondack Nature Conservancy & Adirondack Land Trust, said, "This land purchase protects several of the largest remaining undeveloped lakes and forest ecosystems in the heart of the Adirondack Park. The conservation of these lands has been a top priority for The Nature Conservancy and other environmental groups for decades. The Nature Conservancy is launching a major fundraising campaign to complete this initiative, and we will need the help of all who cherish the Adirondacks."

During the coming months, The Nature Conservancy will work with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and other stakeholders to complete a detailed planning process for the 26,500 acres. The Nature Conservancy will seek to convey carefully designed tracts, that protect major lakes and key ecological resources, to New York State for inclusion in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. In consultation with DEC, the Conservancy will also allow for the creation of a snowmobile trail on the Round Lake tract. Overall, the Conservancy’s purchase of these lands protects unique open space and ecological resources and creates major new opportunities for canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

In addition, The Nature Conservancy will assure that a significant portion of these lands remain available for private commercial working forest ownership. These lands will be subject to conservation easements that restrict future development and allow for sustainable forestry practices, thereby supporting the continued health of the Adirondacks' forest-based economy. As part of this strategy, The Nature Conservancy may retain ownership to a portion of these lands.

Dillon added, "International Paper continues its presence in the Adirondacks and the state of New York. With the recent realignment of our printing papers business, our Ticonderoga (N.Y.) Mill is taking on an expanded role which is important to that business. In fact, the Ticonderoga Mill is announcing a capital investment in one of its paper machines this afternoon."

International Paper is the world's largest paper and forest products company. Businesses include paper, packaging, and forest products. As one of the largest private forest landowners in the world, the company manages its forests under the principles of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFIsm) program, a system that ensures the perpetual growing and harvesting of trees while protecting wildlife, plants, soil, air and water quality. Headquartered in the United States, International Paper has operations in nearly 50 countries, employs more than 117,000 people and exports its products to more than 130 nations.

Founded in New York State fifty years ago, The Nature Conservancy protects plants, animals, and ecosystems by preserving the lands and waters they need to survive. With the support of over 70,000 members in New York State, the Conservancy has protected more than 350,000 acres of land in the state since 1951. The world's largest private conservation organization, The Nature Conservancy manages 180 nature preserves across New York State and more than 2,000 nature preserves in the United States. Established in 1971, the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy works in partnership with the Adirondack Land Trust to conserve lands important to both the ecological diversity and quality of life of the Adirondack region, including farmland and working forest.

 

Deal provides for protection of Crosswicks watershed
By Keith Hahn
Staff Writer for the Examiner,
serving Millstone, Upper Freeehold, Roosevelt.

UPPER FREEHOLD – A big step forward has been taken in the effort to keep the waters of Western Monmouth County clean.

Officials of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) have signed a contract to develop a comprehensive management plan for the Crosswicks Creek Watershed Management Area.

The plan for clean and plentiful water will cover watershed management region No. 20 which includes parts of Monmouth, Mercer, Burlington and Ocean counties. A watershed is a geographic area which drains into a specific body of water — in this case the Delaware River. A watershed may contain several sub-watersheds.

The contract awards the DVRPC $600,000 for the four-year plan of study. The plan will contain a 253 square-mile watershed that covers parts of 26 municipalities.

The watershed management plan will examine the condition of lakes, rivers and streams that are being used by surrounding areas. The study is expected to identify action that may be necessary to keep the waterways clean. Sampling of the water sources will give the DVRPC a baseline of data for analysis. Once the analysis is complete, action can be taken to correct any pollution or contamination of the water.

In a ceremony on Nov. 29 at Walnford Park in Upper Freehold Township, DEP Commissioner Bob Shinn presented a check for $120,000 to DVRPC Assistant Executive Director Barry Seymour for the first installment of the contract.

Shinn was optimistic about the plan.

"Working together we will produce a plan that will protect the Crosswicks Creek watershed’s many valuable natural resources by identifying strategies to reduce various sources of non-point source pollution. Experience has shown that money for watershed planning is a wise investment in our future, because clean water is no accident," Shinn said in a press release.

"These plans will take a holistic approach to water resource protection by specifying how we will restore and maintain our water quality, water quantity and ecosystem health," the DEP commissioner added.

Upper Freehold Environmental Commission Chairman William Metterhouse agrees that the protection of the watershed is vital to the quality of health in the region.

"The health of our streams is important to the health of our environment. The watershed will help to create an environment for all citizens to enjoy," Metterhouse said.

The DVRPC cannot complete the watershed management alone, however, and is looking to local governments and citizens for aid in this effort, Seymour said in a press release.

"Successful watershed planning requires a sense of partnership and collaboration across all levels of governments and between the public and private sectors. As we begin the plan for the Crosswicks Creek watershed, we will look to create an inclusive and participatory process, where all interests will be welcomed and all voices will be heard," he said.


Support the Owyhee-Bruneau Canyonlands National Monument! Visit American Rivers Online to email President Clinton and Secretary of Interior Babbitt and urge them to protect this unique ecosystem.

We need your help today to protect the Owyhee-Bruneau Canyonlands =96 the largest unspoiled, unprotected stretch of land in the lower 48 states. The Canyonlands is one of the most rugged, remote, and most spectacular high desert complexes in North America. Deep canyonlands, running streams and rolling hills provide critical habitat for wildlife such as desert bighorn sheep, sage grouse, and redband trout. The area supports more than 95 species of wildlife and includes more than 700,000 acres of potential Wilderness and 288 miles of wild and scenic rivers. The Canyonlands also offers unique geologic features and innumerable archeological and historical sites, such as the homesteader's cabin remaining on the East Fork Owyhee.

Only by preserving the Owyhee-Bruneau Canyonlands as a National Monument can we limit off-road-vehicle abuse, stop vandalism of archeological and historical sites, halt mining, and limit grazing. Visit American Rivers Online to take action now! Visit owyhee canyonlands for more information.

 

Drawn to America's Waterways

Restored Canals Offer Fans Chance to Glimpse Life in America's Past

By Kate Mulligan

During the workday, Rachel Stewart is a harried real estate attorney in a fast-paced Washington, D.C. office. But in the early morning hours, she moves at the leisurely pace of an earlier age as she walks along the towpath of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. As a volunteer "level walker," Stewart, 58, is part of a tradition that began in the 19th century when canal workers walked each section, or level, of a canal to check for problems.

photo of canal photo of level walker on the C&O canal
In Easton, Pa., park ranger Charles W. Derr, left, handles the tiller of the Josiah White II, a canal boat that carries tourists along the Lehigh Canal. Rachel Stewart, right, a "level walker" on the C&O Canal, enjoys a morning walk through Georgetown in the nation's capital.
Photos © Peter Keady, William Geiger

Whether it's for a moment of quiet, a glimpse of the past or even a chance to exercise, people like Stewart are rediscovering canals. These water highways that once totaled more than 4,000 miles were eclipsed by railroads and ultimately abandoned.

Now, from Rhode Island to Illinois, from Pennsylvania to Georgia, they are being restored and transformed into community assets and even tools for economic development.

"Canals have it all," says Gilbert Gude, 76, of Bethesda, Md., "They offer something to anyone interested in history, the environment or physical fitness."

photo of monocacy Aqueduct photo of a docent at the National Canal Museum
Carl Linden, far left, and Gilbert Gude seek to restore the Monocacy Aqueduct, background, which carried C&O Canal boats across Maryland's Monocacy River. Richard Ellis, right, is a docent at the National Canal Museum in Easton, Pa.
Photos © William Geiger, Peter Keady

Successful canal restoration efforts date from 1954, when U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas challenged journalists to walk with him the 184-mile length of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O) towpath to discover "a place not yet marred by the roar of wheels and the sound of horns." But the effort to preserve and restore these waterways hasn't been easy. It was 17 years before Gude, then a Maryland congressman, could push through legislation creating the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

Actually turning deteriorated canals into parks is also hard work. Outside Savannah, Ga., members of the Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Society use sweat equity to make their 16.5 mile canal a multipurpose park. "It's down-and
image of clean up of the Canal
Gerald Williamson (left), Iris Jones and Nancy Reed, clean up the Savannah-Ogeechee Canal.
Photo © Stephen Morton
-dirty work," says Bob Jones. "I cut trees; dig holes and trim bushes."

As a boy, Charles W. Derr, 56, regarded the Lehigh Canal, which runs past his family home in Freemansburg, Pa, only as a wonderful playground. Then early leaders of the canal restoration movement "showed up to examine the locks and other canal artifacts in the 1970s," he says, "and I began to understand the historic importance of what I had in my back yard." Now he's chief ranger at the Hugh Moore Historical Park in Easton, Pa.

Congress has taken note of this increased interest in canal history. In 1984 it made the Illinois and Michigan Canal Corridor the country's first National Heritage Area. It has since added areas celebrating canal history in Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Franny Buchholzer, 65, former director of Ohio's Department of Natural Resources, was part of the successful effort to gain the designation for the Ohio and Erie Canal in 1996.

The next year, she and four others took a six-day walk along the 87-mile length of the corridor from Cleveland to Zoar. "We were met by rallies at every stop. The whole campaign had been a real grass-roots effort."

Within two years, she says, "B&Bs started sprouting up along the route. It's been a tremendous boon for the little towns in the area." In a happy twist of fate, canals are once again bringing prosperity to the communities along their banks.

The following discussion is taken from Kate Mulligan, "Canal Parks, Museums and Characters of the Mid-Atlantic" (Wakefield Press, 1999) Reprinted with permission of author. All rights reserved.

The Canal Restoration Movement

By Kate Mulligan

Less than one hundred years after the Erie Canal's spectacular opening, vegetation and debris obliterated towpaths; historic structures crumbled and canal beds went dry. By 1925, only 700 miles of canals in the United States were in use [from a previous high of over 4,000 miles].

Stories of how these waterways came into being were also vanishing. A few books offered descriptions of the canal era, but their tone was often wistful, even defensive. The most eloquent of these early chroniclers, Alvin Harlow, wrote, "The history of our canals is a significant commentary upon American life and character-restless as it is, eager for speed, yearning to change, tearing down as soon as we have built."

Fast forward about 70 years to a hotel in downtown Providence, R.I. Participants at the World Canal Conference in 1997 fill the main dining room, where they hear greetings from local officials eager to tout the region's waterways. During the next three days, canal buffs, historians, park managers and tourism promoters board early-morning buses for tours of historic sites. The sophisticated display of the region's attractions is the work of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, which labored for nearly a year on the event.

Lobbying is so intense for the chance to host subsequent conferences that the board of directors appoints a special committee to select sites. Its members come up with a list-Illinois, France, New York, Ireland and Montreal-that diplomatically alternates North American and European locations. "It's a big change from what happened six years ago," says Dave Johnson. "The last day of the conference someone pointed at us and said 'let's go to the C&O Canal next year.' They probably made the decision in the bar the night before."

After years of neglect, canals have become a favorite tool for promoting economic development. Advocates point first to Lowell, Mass. Life was hard for its residents after its textile mills closed. But in 1978, designation of the Lowell National Historic Park spurred an economic transformation. The park, which includes a restored section of the Pawtucket Canal, preserves and interprets the history of the Industrial Revolution. For every $1 of public investment an estimated $7 has been pumped into the local economy.

According to Jim Amon, executive director of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission, proximity to the New Jersey canal park raises the value of homes and attracts business to the area. He adds, "Many New Jersey residents vacation near the canal, instead of leaving the state."

The National Canal Museum, which shares a site with the Crayola Factory in downtown Easton, Pa., had resulted in 100 new businesses and business expansions only a year after its opening. At the western end of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Cumberland, Md., the Canal Place Authority is working with a package of more than $20 million in federal and state funds for projects that will attract tourists interested in transportation history.

The federal government is giving a powerful push to these developments through its national heritage program. Congressionally designated national heritage areas are eligible for up to $1 million in federal funds annually for 10 years on a 50-50 cost-sharing basis. Technical assistance and management support are also provided.

In 1984, the Illinois and Michigan Canal Corridor became the country's first national heritage area. The Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, which encompasses the Blackstone Canal, received its designation in 1986. Two years later, Congress designated the Delaware and Lehigh Navigation Canal Corridor and in 1996, added the Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor.

Designation has become a hotly contested prize. Beginning in 1989, the Ohio and Erie Canal Corridor Coalition spent several years talking with anyone who would listen about their plans and hopes. Congressman Ralph Regula battled to get funds for a National Park Service study in 1990 to determine the feasibility of a canal heritage corridor.

The opening of the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area Towpath Trail in 1993 gave residents an idea of what the heritage corridor could offer and business leaders began to see the project in terms of benefits for their employees. The NPS study found that the area was sufficiently historical to receive designation. In 1994, the House of Representatives passed the necessary legislation, but the bill was killed by the Senate. Finally, in August 1996, both congressional chambers passed the legislation, which was signed by President Clinton in November.

What brought about this 20th-century version of canal mania? Head for a canal park to discover the simple answer to this question. The area offers something for just about everyone. For a city-dweller, it's a stretch of greenery-usually with the added bonus of peacefully flowing water. Visitors can hike, bike, stroll and, sometimes, ski down the towpath. Add a museum or a canal boat for a wonderful lesson in 19th-century history.

The more complicated answer is that a few individuals and voluntary organizations devoted themselves to preserving canals and their history until the rest of the country caught up with them. This hard-working group of enthusiasts includes amateur historians, engineers, environmentalists, community activists, naturalists and others who didn't want to wait around for tourism departments to discover the treasures in their backyards.

You'll find some of their stories throughout this book. Jim Lee, for example, was a railroad conductor who spent hours talking to Morris Canal boatmen as a teenager. He later bought and restored a plane-tender's house, amassed a collection of memorabilia and published several books about the canal, including "Tales The Boatmen Told" [Canal Press, Exton, Pa., 1977]. Lee shared his interests with Hugh Moore, a passenger on his route, who eventually purchased land for one of the country's first canal parks.

William Shank, an engineer whose ties to canal life go back four generations, researched and wrote "The Amazing Pennsylvania Canals" [American Canal and Transportation Center, York, Pa., 1981] at a time when most historians treated the canal era only as a brief precursor to the more famous period of western expansion by rail. In 1948, as a young navy ensign stationed in Washington, D.C., Tom Hahn began exploring the area around the C&O Canal and later published a mile-by-mile guide to the towpath, ["Towpath Guide to the C&O Canal"] now in its 14th edition.

The canal restoration movement owes a huge debt to the members of the American Canal Society. Hahn, Shank and William Trout founded the organization in 1972, shortly after the successful battle to enact federal legislation creating the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park. That struggle convinced Hahn that a national organization was needed to "represent the interests of all Americans concerning the preservation and restoration of the canals of the United States."

In short order, representatives of eight state canal societies joined the organization's board, 200 individuals signed up as members and a journal, American Canals, was launched. The second edition of the journal contained this modest proposal: "Get communities to restore sections. At least clear out saplings etc. and provide a path alongside. Restoration of locks for historical value." The society began a canal index and a list of restored areas.

The society has fulfilled Hahn's hopes that it could serve as a clearinghouse for information and stimulate restoration projects. In an issue of American Canals commemorating the society's 20th anniversary, Shank writes that the organization has grown "to an international organization of 860 members, whose advice and counsel is sought by individual canal researchers and historical agencies worldwide."

Most of the real work is done through state canal societies, where activities range from the glamorous to the gritty. In 1998, a canal restoration project headed by members of the C&O Canal Association ended up as national news. Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the Monocacy Aqueduct had been placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of America's most endangered historic places.

Canal society members sponsor cleanup days, restore historic artifacts, organize trips, produce publications, serve as museum docents, plan festivals and lobby for public funds. Try out one of the events and you'll discover a good mixture of hard-core canal aficionados who want to share their lore and newcomers who are eager to hear it.

Canal Parks

Augusta Canal National Heritage Area
P.O. Box 2367
Augusta, GA 30903-2367
(888) 659-8926
www.augustacanal.com

The 11.5-mile-long Augusta Canal, which parallels the Savannah River, was first built in 1845 and enlarged in 1852 and 1875. Today, the canal remains part of Augusta's water supply system and also supplies hydropower to textile mills. Planners envision a riverfront park, environmental learning center, restoration of an 1845 lock and headgates to provide a venue for a Petersburg boat fleet, a kayak run and numerous other efforts to interpret the area's history.



Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor
One Depot Square
Woonsocket, RI 02895-9501
(401) 762-0440
www.nps.gov/blac

This park, designated a national corridor in 1986, follows the Blackstone River from Providence in Rhode Island to Worcester in central Massachusetts. The first U.S. factory was built on its banks at Pawtucket, R.I., using water to power the Slater Mill producing cotton. The 45-mile Blackstone Canal, which opened in 1828, parallels the river. Visitors can walk along restored sections of the canal, leaving from the River Bend Farm Visitor Center near Uxbridge, Mass.



Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
P.O. Box 4
Sharpsburg, MD 21782
(301) 739-4200
www.nps.gov/choh

The 184-mile canal park begins in the picturesque Georgetown area of the nation's capital and passes by rural countryside and stunning Potomac River vistas until it reaches the small mountain town of Cumberland, Md. Canal boat rides are available at Georgetown and Great Falls, Md., and the entire towpath is suitable for walking and biking.



Delaware and Lehigh Navigation Canal National Heritage Corridor
10 East Church St., A-208
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 861-9345
www.nps.gov/dele

The heart of this heritage corridor is the Delaware Canal, which flows from Bristol to the Hugh Moore Historical Park in Easton, Pa., passing by scenic towns like New Hope and sites commemorating Revolutionary War history. From Easton, the corridor follows the route of the now-dry Lehigh Canal into the Pennsylvania mountains. The National Canal Museum (www.canals.org) is an attraction of the corridor.



Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor
15701 South Independence Blvd.
Lockport, IL 60441-6584
(815) 740-2047

www.nps.gov/ilmi

The 96-mile Illinois and Michigan Canal provided the first complete water route from the east coast to the Gulf of Mexico by connecting Lake Michigan to the Mississippi by way of the Illinois River. Public protest stopped the sale of the land by state officials and canal supporters helped created the 61-mile I&M Canal State Park from Rockdale to Peru. In 1984, Congress designated the canal park and some 40 additional miles as the first national heritage corridor. The corridor includes over 40 cities and towns, portions of five counties and nearly 20 Chicago neighborhoods.



Lowell National Historical Park
67 Kirk Street
Lowell, MA 01852-1029
(978) 970-5000
www.nps.gov/lowe

Lowell was the first site to demonstrate that canal history can have a contemporary economic payoff. The compact park offers nearly 6 miles of a restored canal system, the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, the Suffolk Mill Turbine Exhibit and an award-winning video about Lowell's history. Rangers lead a variety of boat tours on the Pawtucket Canal and Merrimack River.



New York State Canal Corporation
P.O. Box 189
Albany, NY 12201-0189
(800) 422-6254
www.canals.state.ny.us

In addition to the 363-mile Erie Canal, the New York State Canal System includes the Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Visitors can rent canal boats or join trips sponsored by commercial outfitters. Canal-related museums are located at Syracuse, Canastota, Chittenango, Lockport and numerous other towns. The 220-mile Canalway Trail offers opportunities for hiking, bicycling and cross-country skiing.



Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor
P.O. Box 609420
Cleveland, OH 44109
(216) 348-1825
www.uakron.edu/bustech/canal

The 87-mile corridor, which received its federal designation in 1996, runs from Cleveland to Zoar, paralleling the path of a canal built to connect Lake Erie and the Ohio River. Plans call for the extension of the original canal towpath trail from the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area to Cleveland's waterfront. Both Akron and Cleveland have water-filled canal sections.



Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Park
681 Fort Argyle Road
Savannah, GA 31419
(912) 748-8068
georgianetweb.com/socanal

The 16.5-mile canal linking the two rivers opened in 1830, an important trade route for cotton, rice and lumber. Despite bankruptcy, the advent of the railroad and Gen. Sherman, the canal never closed and lumber was being carried on the canal in the 1920s.

 

Now a part of the Chatham County Park System, the canal may be unique because the entire original route of the canal remains intact, with minimal disturbance by other construction projects.

There is an interpretive museum, nature trails and picnic facilities at the Ogeechee River end, while the downtown Savannah end, adjacent to the historic district, may feature mule-drawn barge rides in the future.