Alert flags ready to tell boaters
Monday, May 14, 2007
By Don Hopey, Pittsburgh
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.
County Health Department's daily river water advisories
will begin Wednesday.
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
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.
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.
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
Is global warming to blame?
By: BRIAN SCHEID
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
“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
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
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
“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
|Emergency Coal Waste Basin
Martins Creek Power Plant Springs a Leak; Coal
Fired Units Shut Down!
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
"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.
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.
of river has ebbs, flows for pro fisherman
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."
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
"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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Orleans has become part of the Gulf of Mexico
Sidney Blumenthal /fontfamily>
Friday September 2, 2005 The Guardian/fontfamily> /fontfamily>
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./fontfamily>
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./fontfamily>
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."/fontfamily>
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
"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./fontfamily>
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./fontfamily>
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./fontfamily>
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
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
Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is
author of The Clinton Wars
© 2005 The Express Times© 2005
PennLive.com All Rights Reserved.
Plant's pollutants head
Ash spill reported in Frenchtown. Officials say it will take
time to determine its effects.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
By SARA LEITCH
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
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
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
"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
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
"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
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,
By SARA LEITCH
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,
"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
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
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
"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.
STANDS IN FELLING OF 600 TREES
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
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.
"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.
* * *
Copyright (c) 2004 North Jersey Media Group Inc
Changing all the rules
here if your stomach can take it!
Raptor folks thrilled
Monday, February 09, 2004
By JEAN JONES
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
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
"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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Urges Public to be Fire Wise as Spring Forest Fire Season Heats Up
TRENTON - Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Bradley M. Campbell today warned that the danger of
is rising sharply as New Jersey's forests dry out from an
state Forest Fire Service has responded so far this year to 396
that burned 790 acres. This is fewer than the 893 wildfires
during the same period last year, but the fire frequency has
in recent weeks as the forest floor has dried out.
danger is always highest this time of year when plants have not
leafed out, allowing the drying rays of the sun to strike the forest
Campbell said. "People need to be particularly careful with
and lit cigarettes so they don't unintentionally cause a fire
could threaten homes and lives."
percent of all wildfires in New Jersey are caused by human
usually carelessness or arson, he noted.
largest wildfires this year include a 275-acre blaze on April 16 in
Camden County, and a 90-acre fire on April 15 in Old Bridge,
County. On Monday, the Forest Fire Service responded to a
fire in Monroe Township and a one-acre fire in Waterford
both in Camden County.
fire danger is currently moderate to high, signifying that fires
start from a lighted match and spread rapidly in dry grass.
Chief State Firewarden Maris Gabliks said wildfire risks increase
every new structure built in or adjacent to forests. Wildfires can
quickly in New Jersey, threatening homes, property, natural
and human lives.
have the potential to affect entire communities and the
of life New Jersey residents enjoy in our forests and open
reduce the risk of fires, people should follow these guidelines:
Use ashtrays in vehicles. Discarding cigarettes, matches and smoking
is a violation of New Jersey law.
Drown campfires. Obtain necessary permits. Don't leave fires
Keep matches and lighters away from children and explain to them the
People living in the forest should maintain a defensible buffer by
vegetation within 30 feet of any structures. Also, make sure
can pass down your driveway.
Report suspicious vehicles and individuals. Arson is a major cause of
fires in New Jersey.
Check with your local Forest Firewarden about burning conditions.
permits are required for recreational fires, as well as for
burning. The New Jersey Air Pollution Control Act prohibits
burning of rubbish, garbage, trade waste, buildings, fallen timber
leaves or plants. For information on obtaining permits for
or agricultural burning, call the nearest DEP Forest Fire
Northern Forest Fire Headquarters in Franklin, Sussex County, (973)
Central Forest Fire Headquarters in New Lisbon, Burlington County,
Southern Forest Fire Headquarters in Mays Landing, Atlantic County,
violations of forest fire laws carry a maximum penalty of
for each offense, plus all fire suppression costs. Arson and
willful violations are subject to a maximum penalty of $100,000
each offense plus all suppression costs.
more information on wildfires and fire safety, please visit the New
Forest Fire Service web site at
April 29, 2003
PROPOSES NEW CLEAN WATER PROTECTIONS IN HUNTERDON
list of ecologically sensitive waterbodies follows his Earth Day
to expand protections statewide
last week's Earth Day announcement when he
protections for 15 waterways throughout New Jersey, Governor
E. McGreevey today recommended strengthened water quality
for portions of five ecologically sensitive stream segments
are part of the Delaware River watershed in Hunterdon County.
is not the time to congratulate ourselves on protecting 15
and then to forget about the rest of our water resources,"
said. "Protecting New Jersey's high quality water resources
be a continuing priority in our smart growth agenda. Today, we are
another step forward in this effort as we announce additional
in Hunterdon County that we are proposing for the highest
proposed that the five ecologically sensitive streams receive
One" (C1) designation, the highest form of water quality
afforded by the state. This designation would prevent any
deterioration in existing water quality, limiting development
and discharges to the streams.
today's event on the banks of the Delaware River, the Governor
the importance of water resource protection to sustaining
development and promoting smart growth statewide. Joining him
the event was DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell, as well as local
environmental advocates and community activists.
his leadership, the Governor has made it clear that protecting
supplies must be an ongoing priority for state, municipal and
partners in order to save our ecologically sensitive habitats
drinking water for New Jersey's families and communities," said
Campbell. "These five streams are only the latest step in a
process to increase water quality protection statewide."
McGreevey directed the Commissioner to work with Hunterdon
municipalities to determine the specific segments of the five
that should be nominated for C1 classification.
announcement follows last week's signing of rules that
nine reservoirs and six stream segments around the state as
waterways. Included in this round of C1 designations were four
serving Hunterdon County-South Branch Rockaway Creek, Sidney
Round Valley Reservoir, and Beaver Brook.
McGreevey has also pledged to provide other waterbodies with
protection, including the Metedeconk and some of its tributaries and
of the waterbodies that feed into the Oradell Reservoir, including
Tappan and Woodcliff Lake.
C1 proposals will undergo a formal rulemaking process to afford the
ample opportunity for comment.
is the list of the five streams, and the towns they flow through
Hunterdon County, that were proposed today for C1 protection:
Creek - Stockton, Delaware, Raritan, Kingwood, Franklin
Creek - Kingwood, Franklin
Creek - Frenchtown, Kingwood
Nishisakawick Creek - Frenchtown, Kingwood, Alexandria
Creek - Alexandria
and audio and video clips from Governor McGreevey's press
are available on the Governor's web page at
are located in the Governor's Newsroom section of the page.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
message has been sent by the New Jersey Department of
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gets special protection from state
- At least one Burlington County waterway, where bald eagles nest,
pinks grow and bog turtles swim, will remain as clean as it is now.
water quality of the headwaters of the Assiscunk Creek in Mansfield and
townships cannot be degraded, under a new rule signed by Gov.
E. McGreevey last week.
of the Rancocas Creek flowing through Rancocas State Park might be
on the list of waterways around the state eyed for this highest form of
yet another measure proposed by the state Department of Environmental
becomes a rule, nothing could be built within 300 feet along the
of protected sections of the waterways.
for now in the county, special Category One protection applies only to
Creek, from its headwaters to the confluence of Barkers Brook, not
from the Homestead at Mansfield retirement community.
One designation prohibits any specific pollution source from
fouling the existing quality of the water. Development could still
but only if any resulting wastewater was minimized or sufficiently
before it flowed into the waterway.
governor selected Earth Day last week to sign off on the rule protecting
Assiscunk and a dozen more waterways and reservoirs around New Jersey.
a section of the Rancocas Creek is being studied to determine if
too deserves Category One designation.
the state DEP is examining the north branch that flows toward
Delaware River through the state park near the juncture of Mount Laurel,
could be months before the state decides whether to formally propose the
for Category One protection, and months after that before it could
also will tell whether the state will prohibit development within 300
of the banks of any Category One river. The separate-but-related rule
meant to diminish the threat of so-called nonpoint source pollution -
from paved areas and storm drains.
together, the new rules, both proposed and final, will help improve
Jersey's water quality, according to David Pringle of the New Jersey
One ensures that things don't get worse,'' he said. "The problem
as great as Category One is, it's not foolproof. The storm water rules
the 300-foot buffer are the most important steps to making Category One
said his group and other environmental organizations would be
if the Rancocas Creek does not survive the preliminary state
process. It's been nominated in large part because it flows into the
River just upstream of a major drinking water intake source.
spokeswoman Amy Cradic said Friday it's too soon to say what sections,
any, of the Rancocas would be protected.
your representative to support Representative Dingell's hydropower
amendment to the energy bill
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.
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.
urge your member of Congress to oppose this unnecessary and misdirected
legislation! Urge your Representative to support the Dingell
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.
the hydropower title of the proposed energy bill creates
It would decrease protection for public resources including public land,
fish, and wildlife by lowering the standard for agency conditions;
It would vastly increase the red tape, time and expense of the relicensing
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.
to read more and
Rivers' Running Rivers Campaign
you email@example.com for helping to protect and restore
America's rivers, and being a part of American Rivers' River Action
contact American Rivers, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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."
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
Who is PNAC? Its members include:
* Vice President Dick Cheney,
one of the PNAC founders, who served as Secretary of Defense for
* 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
* 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
* Richard Perle, former Reagan
administration official and present chairman of the powerful Defense
* 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Would that we Americans could be
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
money pave way for Palmyra Cove
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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."
Klabe, a Palmyra resident for nearly 10 years, wondered if the project is not
a bit of overkill.
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."
Mortgu, owner of Grace's Florist in Palmyra and an outdoors enthusiast, said
she is thrilled with the planned improvements.
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."
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
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
former DRPA commissioner, Beske abstained - as did Paulsen - from voting on
two DRPA resolutions that awarded the Cove $5 million.
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:
Fitzpatrick and Gluck, a Trenton law firm: $90,000.
Architectural Group of Cherry Hill and Philadelphia: $920,000.
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
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.
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
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.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had previously spent in excess of $7 million
proving that Delaware River spoils meet state and federal environmental
our testing is redundant, it just gives people an extra comfort level,"
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.
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."
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.
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."
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
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."
year the college will offer a diverse course of study that includes fieldwork
at the Cove, Chatsworth and Mansfield, where Rutgers has an experimental
education is in high demand," Messina said. "It's about time
Burlington County takes advantage of its resources and offers a solid
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.
am very much in favor of turning brownfield sites into good use, but it must
be done right," said Carola of West Deptford.
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
30 years of success in cleaning up our nation's waters, federal officials
are now putting corporate polluters and developers first
taking steps to significantly limit the types of waters protected by
the Clean Water Act. Urge the Administration to put clean water
the interests of corporate polluters and developers and ensure that
all of our waters are protected by the Clean Water Act!
Comments must be submitted by March 3, 2003.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
(Corps) are currently accepting public comments on whether
limit the types of waters protected under the Clean Water Act. Tell
these agencies not to mess with this landmark law and to
their proposal so that all of our nation's waters - including
the creeks, streams, small ponds, and wetlands in your
- continue to be protected from pollution and development.
January 15, 2003 the EPA and the Corps issued "guidance" and an
advance notice of a "proposed rule" that
have critical implications
the types of wetlands, streams, lakes and ponds that are entitled to
federal protection under the Clean Water Act. Stripping those
of protection will open the way for developers, industry, and other
polluters to discharge their pollution into, and fill in and
many kinds of wetlands, small streams, ponds or other waters,
without any of the protections we have relied upon for
more about what is being proposed, and what you can do by visiting:
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
nation's landmark environmental laws.
A Call to Action...
Protect the Horseshoe Crabs of Delaware Bay --
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.
write a letter to NJ Governor Jim McGreevey and/or DE Governor Minner asking for
|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.
Honorable James McGreevey
of New Jersey
House, PO Box 001
Governor Ruth Ann Minner
Bldg, 2nd Floor
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.
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
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.
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
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
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).
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
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
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
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:
Crossing, PA 18977
Or Fax it to: (215) 369-1181
Riverkeeper Network has petitioned the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC)
for Special Protection Waters (SPW) Designation of the Wild and Scenic Lower
Lower Delaware River from the Delaware Water Gap to Washington Crossing has been
named a Wild and Scenic River by Congress.
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.
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.
Delaware River Basin Commission
P.O. Box 7360
West Trenton, New Jersey 08628
free to use the attached
letter or to write your own.
Protect Woodlands in Haddon Township
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.
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.
you don’t speak out today, tomorrow it will be gone!
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!
can I do to help? --Write
letters, make phone calls, attend meetings/rallies and get your friends to do
out this fact
sheet for more details and then ...
of Haddon (tel#
William Park, Mayor
Walter A. Eife, Commissioner &
Township, NJ 08108
COPIES TO EVERYONE BELOW:
DEP – Green Acres Program
County (tel# 225-5575)
Mr. John Flynn
Acquisition MacArthur Tract
Market St. 11th
Sen. John Adler & (tel#
Assemblywoman Mary Previte
Jack Sworaski, Open Space Committee
State Highway 70 East
N. Newton Lake Dr.
||Cherry Hill, NJ
|Oaklyn, NJ 08107
2. ATTEND THESE MEETINGS AND VOICE YOU OPINIONS
Citizens for Responsible Open
Library (Camden County Branch )
January 9th, 7PM
Wants to Dam the Rock Run Creek -- We Need to Speak Up Now
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.
Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum attended a November 6, 2000 public meeting to
concerns. We have also submitted substantial written comment expanding
upon these and many other issues.
need you to get involved today. Check out our fact sheets and action
alert to see what you can do to help.
Run fact sheet.
Run action alert
Mountain Ecosystems Threatened
Mercer County Park Commission is proposing parking lots, trails and structures
that threaten the sensitive and intact ecosystems of Baldpate Mountain.
our offices today, ask for Tracy, to see what you can do to help.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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."
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
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."
to Senators Corzine www.senate.gov/~corzine
& Torricelli www.senate.gov/~torricelli
of New Jersey for
their vote to protect the Artic.
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
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
U.S. Cut Greenhouse Gasses? When Pigs Fly
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?"
ADMINISTRATION WON'T HOLD UP
WATERCRAFT BAN IN 13 NATIONAL PARKS
Robert Gehrke, Reuters, April 11, 2002
- The Bush administration will not try to delay a ban on
watercraft scheduled to take effect April 22 in 13 national
and recreation areas.
ban is a result of a Clinton-era rule that set a deadline for
to establish regulations governing the watercraft or impose a
watercraft, familiarly known by the trade name Jet Ski, are
gas-powered vessels designed to be ridden by one person.
far, 8 of the 13 parks have decided to ban the watercraft.
at five other parks have decided some watercraft use
be appropriate, but environmental assessments are still under
and rules are being drafted at those parks, meaning they will be
to ban watercraft on April 22.
National Park Service had considered trying to push back the
at the five parks where rules were being crafted but didn't
the legal authority to do so, said Kym Hall, regulations program
for the Park Service. "We are going to have to close
she said. "We didn't want to have to do that, but we're
to have to."
Park Service plans to make an announcement Thursday to explain
reasons for the closures to the public. Eight other parks have
Sept. 15 to adopt rules for watercraft or ban them.
National Park Service has already prohibited watercraft use on 66
the 87 bodies of water under its jurisdiction.
factors could delay the April 22 ban. A federal judge in Texas
been asked by a watercraft industry group to prevent the ban from
effect. The judge has scheduled a hearing for April 17. The
also could vote as early as next week on a bill that would
the ban until December 2004, although IT IS UNLIKELY THE BILL
MAKE IT THROUGH THE DEMOCRATIC-CONTROLLED SENATE.
Bosak of the National Parks Conservation Association said
watercraft are inappropriate in national parks and threaten
entire park experience. "These are places that Americans go to get
from the noise of their everyday lives and hear the waves lapping
the shore without hearing the incessant buzzing of the Jet Ski
Monita Fontaine, executive director of the Personal Watercraft
Association, which sued the Park Service over the rule, said
is premature to close bodies of water to the vessels before
assessments have been done. "You have a disregard of
a disregard of legal procedure, and a disregard of public
Fontaine said. "We have the decision based on the whim of
superintendent who happened to be stationed in that particular
Brengel of the Wilderness Society said there is evidence that
watercraft damage the park environment and wildlife and are a
safety risk. "These machines are designed for speed. They're
for pleasure that has nothing to do with viewing the scenic
of these national parks," said Brengel. "The science and public
impacts are there, and we believe Jet Skis don't belong on our
2002, Reuters All Rights Reserved
(c) 2001 Environmental News Network Inc.
watercraft ban eyed for Forsythe refuge
12/29/01 10:19 AM
(AP) -- State environmental officials want to widen a ban on personal
watercraft to include the sprawling Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife
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.
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.
marine-protected area at Forsythe would apply to uses of motorized watercraft
that are incompatible with fish and bird habitats.
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.
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.
could be proposed within two year, Schmidt said.
report also includes other initiative, such as creating a set of indicators to
measure whether the coastal environment is improving.
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.
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.
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.
has one reservoir been so completely drained?
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
the largest watershed-450 square miles-of the Delaware reservoirs and this
statistically provides it the opportunity to refill the fastest, the spokesman
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.
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.
drowned road resurfaces at Cannonsville Reservoir. (Click for larger
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
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.
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.
AT DROUGHT LEVELS - EMERGENCY HEARING SCHEDULED
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.
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
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.
of December 3, combined storage in the three reservoirs was 66 billion
gallons, over 100 billion gallons below normal, and 24 percent of capacity.
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,
cutbacks in the out-of-basin diversions and flow targets automatically took
effect on November 4 when falling reservoir storage triggered a drought
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.
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
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
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.
conservation measures are being requested in these areas, a move that is
strongly supported by the commission.
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.
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."
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.
addition, Lake Nockamixon, a state-operated reservoir situated in Bucks
County, Pa., could be used for supporting the Trenton flow target.
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.
WEATHER DROPS RESERVOIRS TO DROUGHT WARNING LEVELS
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
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.
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.
water-conserving actions save up to 370 million gallons per day of storage in
the New York City reservoirs," said Ms. Collier.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Some For Tomorrow
By Carol R. Collier
July 20, 1999
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.
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.
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.
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.
need your help.
are some things you can do to conserve until the rains return:
shorter showers and save 5 to 7 gallons of water per minute;
the tub halfway and save 10 to 15 gallons;
water-saving toilets, shower heads and faucet aerators;
run the water while shaving, washing your hands, or brushing your teeth;
use the toilet as a wastebasket;
your downspouts so rain water runs onto the lawn or into the garden, not
down the driveway;
running tap water to get it hot, divert the initial cool water into a pot
or bucket, then use it to water the plants;
your water meter or bill to see how much water you are using. Each of us
should be able to get by comfortably on 50 gallons per person per day;
that awareness is the first step in conservation.
these facts and hopefully you will think twice about how you use water,
especially during dry times:
to 90 percent of the water used to sprinkle lawns on a hot sunny day can
be lost to the atmosphere through evaporation. This is water that is not
returned to the hydrologic cycle. Soaker hoses or trickle systems, on the
other hand, reduce the amount of water used by 20 to 50 percent;
garden hose discharges up to six-and-a-half gallons of water per minute
under standard household water pressure;
two-thirds of residential interior water use is for toilet flushing and
vintage toilets use between 4 and 6 gallons of water per flush. Low
consumption models use 1.6 gallons;
water leaks not only are a waste of water, but are a waste of the energy
used to heat that water;
dishwasher uses between 8 and 12 gallons of water per load. Make sure it's
full before turning it on;
top-loading clothes washer uses between 40 and 55 gallons of water per
load. Front-loading models use roughly half that amount. Again, only run
conservation is a smart investment not only for now but for the future.
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.
programs make a difference, underscoring the fact that water is a finite
when you turn on the spigot, don't take that whoosh for granted. Instead,
think of ways to save some water for tomorrow.
conservation a lifelong habit.
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
By LISA CORYELL
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
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
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
"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
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."
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.
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
“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.
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
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
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,
--Lake Mead National Recreation Area (Arizona,
--Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
--Curecanti National Recreation Area (Colorado)
--Cumberland Island National Seashore (Georgia)
--Gulf Island National Seashore (Florida,
--Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (Indiana)
--Cape Cod National Seashore (Massachusetts)
--Assateague Island National Seashore
--Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Minnesota)
--Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
--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
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
240,000 CUBIC YARDS OF RIVER MUCK IS COMING
TO SOUTH JERSEY
THIS RIVER MUCK
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!!
RESPONSE DEADLINE IS FEBRUARY 21ST SO
YOU NEED TO WRITE TODAY!!!
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
– US Army Corps of Engineers, Attn Mr. David Caplan, Philadelphia District,
100 Penn Square East, Philadelphia, PA 19107.
CENAP-OP-R-200002407-46 or FAX your comments to (215) 656-6543.
The Clock is ticking so…ACT NOW !!
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
of 'wild and scenic' Delaware River, congressman says
|By: John Tredrea, The
Beacon, (The Packet Group)
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
The forum will be held in Prallsville Mills in
In 1978, 110 miles of the river extending north of the
Water Gap were designated a Wild and Scenic River area by the federal
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
December 27, 2000
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
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&
…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
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
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.
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
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.
William R. Neil
Director of Conservation
New Jersey Audubon Society
travelers on the Delaware: a documentary
By KRISTA GROMALSKI
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
— 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.”
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.
“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.
following are the Channel 13 air times for “Down the Upper Delaware: A Sojourn
through Time & Place”:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
for “Sojourn Behind the Scenes, Making the Delaware Story”:
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.
entire video project was captured in still photography by Christina Geiger.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
-- 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.
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
"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
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
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
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 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
Wallace and The Associated
Press contributed to this report.
Gale Norton nominated to be Secretary of Interior
Statement of Rebecca R. Wodder, president of
For Immediate Release
December 29, 2000
Peter Kelley, American Rivers
202-347-7550, Ext. 3057 (work)
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
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
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
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
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
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 watershedserving Millstone, Upper
By Keith Hahn
Staff Writer for the Examiner,
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
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
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
"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.
to America's Waterways
Restored Canals Offer Fans Chance to Glimpse Life in America's
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.
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.
© 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
Now, from Rhode Island to Illinois, from Pennsylvania to Georgia, they are being
restored and transformed into community assets and even tools for economic
"Canals have it all," says Gilbert Gude, 76, of Bethesda, Md.,
"They offer something to anyone interested in history, the environment or
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.
© 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
-dirty work," says Bob Jones. "I cut trees; dig holes and trim
Williamson (left), Iris Jones and Nancy Reed, clean up the Savannah-Ogeechee
Photo © Stephen Morton
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area
P.O. Box 2367
Augusta, GA 30903-2367
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor
P.O. Box 609420
Cleveland, OH 44109
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
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
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.