Jersey Devil Upstaged by Green Gestapo

J

JeffD

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Look out Jersey Devil, for in the mansion of the governor and his lieutenant in the NJ Department of Environmental Persecution (ho ho ho) lives the Green Gestapo. Governor Mac Greedy, who said he's going to be the environmental cop, is out to shake down cranberry growers, assisted by DEP commissioner, former Clinton lawyer Bradley Campbell.

http://www.cranberrystressline.com/editorial_010203.html

The only thing I question about the above editorial is that with the new administration in Washington D.C., the cranberry growers should recieve treatment more fair from the feds. After all, we learned on another thread on this board that President Bush is reversing the previous administrations policy on roadless areas by opening old wagon roads through backcountry.

There is a growing grass roots movement to reform the abuses of the environmental movement, which should have some impact on public policy.

Steve McCormic, leader of the Nature Conservancy, who calls for reform specializes in land transactions and not in litigation, met with Interior Secretary Gale Norton. whose policies draw the ire of some environmentalists. http://www.sacbee.com/static/archive/news/projects/environment/20011229.html

Like the many smaller, grass roots environmental organizations, which include folks who work the land such as ranchers, McCormic wants to find solutions to solve environmental problems rather than practice confrontational environmentalism though harrassment and litigation. Much of the country is realizing that people who manage and work the land, not, the people McCormic calls "armchair environmentalists", are the genuine naturalists. New Jersey's cranberry growers are the ones who have kept the Pine Barrens pristine.

While most of the nation is reforming government abuse in environmental policy, politicians in New Jersey insist on keeping New Jersey a police state.
 

bobpbx

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An Explanation Please?

Jeff,

I note that you do a lot of web surfing trying to find articles that parallel your anti-environmentalist and pro-industry views. When you do find a choice little gem of an article, you do a cut and paste job on some of the words and statements in order to flesh out your editorials with profound and fresh-seeming thinking.

But I often read the links you cite (including those in the previous editorial), and I must be missing your point. Please tell me why you think the federal and state government is being unfair to cranberry growers and wants to "shake them down".

And please, be specific.
 
J

JeffD

Guest
First of all, Bob, I do not set out to find articles in order to downgrade all environmentalists and promote industry. It's a particular breed of environmentalists that I keep finding who are doing a good job themselves to be arrogant, selfish elitists who callously use and means to get their way. They are prejudice against industry; they believe all industry is evil. They believe that the ends justifies the means and think nothing of violating of the rights of a rancher, cranberry grower, etc. And as we've seen here recently, the Sierra Club learned that Garfield DeMarco wasn't the Jersey Devil. As the head of the NJ Conservation Foundation pointed out, DeMarco kept the land in pristine condition. Instead of trying to understand what cranberry growers are doing, and trying to work with them to exchange knowledge and try to manage the land for the benefit of the community, they badger and demonize them without any proof and get the government to fine them, destroy their farms, in an attempt to drive them off the land so they can recreate the Garden of Eden vision they see through their magic kalidescopes. Reasonable environmentalists, such as Steve McCormic, leader of the Nature Conservancy, wants to reform the abuses in the environmental movement.

The cranberry growers in the Pine Barrens are the subject of a witch hunt. Mac Greedy himself said that he is going to be the environmental cop. In other words, he is going to go out and look for trouble. If you read some of the links on the cranberrystressline.com I posted, you'll find that the government has gone after cranberry growers and made a case against them without taking into account certain facts in favor of the growers. Due process is not the moisture that collects on the grass early in the morning. Also, there has been dissagreement as to what constitutes a wetland. This ambiguity has been exploited so government agents can tailor the "facts" to accomodate groups that don't care about someone's livelihood but just want to advance their extreme agenda to "save the wetlands." The editorial is concerned about the EPA being heavy handed in enforcing wetland regulations for cranberry growers. I would think that the EPA is being more reasonable now, at least they better be. After all, it was Christy Whitman who at least tried to cut DeMarco a little slack, and she now heads the EPA. Mac Greedy said that he's going to reverse the policies of Whitman. And the NJ Department of Environmental Persecution is known for it's draconian penalities, i.e. the inordinately heavy fines if someone drives off a road that is not on a topo map. Of course, individuals who wantonly drive off unpaved roads and destroy plants and terrain, as was the case you brought to our attention awhile back, should be punished. And there's the gross exaggerations by the DEP about more land being damaged in New Jersey than the total acreage of Wharton State Forest. This is the MO of the environmentalist extremists. The combination of Mac Greedy, who has absued his power by granting patronage jobs, taking pleasure trips at taxpayer expense, etc, and Campbell, who is in the Clinton camp and has been running the DEP the way he has, spells oppression for the cranberry growers. I think the cranberry growers have a reasonable fear of harrassment. These folks are just trying to make a living. You know, so far I see damage on public property. If DeMarco's land is an example of the way the cranberry growers manage their land, then I don't see why we need a cop to investigate them.

The feds have been reforming wetlands regulations, as well as the endangered species act. This is one of the things I'll address in my next article.
 

Ben Ruset

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Regarding Whitman and McGreevy, you can pretty much bet that McGreedy would do anything to reverse anything that Whitman has done in her tenure here in New Jersey. The man clearly has a personal issue with her, and -regardless of the facts- he takes great joy in talking bad about her any chance he gets.

I certainly wasn't Whitman's best fan, but I like her more than I do McGreevy, who just seems intent on slamming NJ residents with more taxes, surcharges, etc. (EZ-Pass and now the DMV registration surcharge)

I also have an open question that I never have seen anyone answer. People like Jeff (and myself probably, lord knows what everyone thinks of me!) are labeled as pro-Industry and anti-Environment. It can scarcely be argued that industry must continue to thrive and flourish if the nation is to remain strong, and our economy is to lead the world. My question is that, when industry and construction get so limited by environmental restrictions as to where they can and can not build, where do they go?

Any land that has not been built on or used by man can (reasonably) be considered to be "pristine." You can make a case that, by building something there, that you are making a major change to the local environment and ecosystem. Basically, you could claim that by building ANYWHERE you're destroying the environment.

So where is construction supposed to happen? How can industry survive if it's not allowed to build new factories, buildings, etc.?

I don't advocate the bulldozing of the Pine Barrens to build more Wawa gas stations, WalMarts, or Commerce Bank locations, but where is all of this stuff supposed to go?
 
J

JeffD

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That's right, Ben, where is industry supposed to go? We can't live on love of the environment! And it's the cranberry farms that are providing jobs, helping the economy while at the same time maintaining the beauty of the rural landscape. Would you rather have the heart of the Pine Barrens inundated with WaWas, Walmarts, fast food chains, developments? Hummmmmmm? For those who need has for their vehicles to explore the Pine Barrens, there are stations along route 206. And in Hammonton there are the Walmarts, fast foods places, etc. And if you'd like a good steak sandwich, there is Fat John's along 206. This doesn't interfere with my wilderness experience in the Pine Barrens at all. Nor do the cranberry farms. There are some folks who want to turn all the cranberry farms to it's "natural state." BTW, on one of the links on cranberrystressline.com, it is aptly pointed out that the cranberry is a wetland plant.
 

bobpbx

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JeffD said:
...they badger and demonize them without any proof and get the government to fine them, destroy their farms, in an attempt to drive them off the land so they can recreate the Garden of Eden vision they see through their magic kalidescopes. .....The cranberry growers in the Pine Barrens are the subject of a witch hunt. Mac Greedy himself said that he is going to be the environmental cop. In other words, he is going to go out and look for trouble.

Thats not very specific Jeff. I have not seen a mass migration of farmers walking down route 563 with knapsacks on their back, looking for more farmer friendly areas, as did the Okies in "The Grapes of Wrath".

Is that all you have?
 

bobpbx

Piney
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bruset said:
My question is that, when industry and construction get so limited by environmental restrictions as to where they can and can not build, where do they go?...So where is construction supposed to happen? How can industry survive if it's not allowed to build new factories, buildings, etc.?

Ben, there was a study done several years ago by Rutgers that showed NJ will be built out by the year 2030. The suggested solution is to go back into the cities and build smarter, in addition to rebuilding where some abandonded buildings are today. Ms. Whitman did have a good idea, wherein "brownfields" would be restored so construction can proceed where it was restricted previously due to polluters.

If we took your concern about the poor industry's survival to heart (i.e, as a prime concern that could make or break NJ), we would open up the pines for their use. You really want to do that?
 
J

JeffD

Guest
Is that all YOU have, Bob? The cranberry farmers and people who support their right to grow cranberries aren't going to wait to be driven off the land. The point is the fines, requirements to return wetlands to their natural state, etc, precipitated by distortions and heavy-handed government is WRONG. I hope that the movement to stop the needless harassment of the cranberry growers stops the harrassment. Like John Muir, who was optomistic that progress was being made to stop the bad forestry practices that was resulting in great losses of forest, I am hopeful that the abuses in the environmental movement will stop, or at least several speed bumps will be put in the way. Muir wasn't a doom and gloomer, like a certain brand of environmentalists today. He pointed out in his writings that there are still alot of woods left for us to enjoy and that the course the country had been taking had to be turned around. This is exactly the way I feel -- that the heavy-handed government ways of the preppie governor and the head of the NJ Department of Environmental Persecution needs to change. The DEP needs to be a de facto Department of Environmental Protection and not Environmental Persecution.

Read the testimony before congress on the link towards the bottom of the cranberrystressline.com link and you may see what I mean about the abuse that needs to be changed. Then again, you may not.
 

bobpbx

Piney
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JeffD said:
The point is the fines, requirements to return wetlands to their natural state, etc, precipitated by distortions and heavy-handed government is WRONG. I hope that the movement to stop the needless harassment of the cranberry growers stops the harrassment.

Oh, I see Jeff. Now you are slowly moving towards specifics instead of broad generalizations. So you are saying that the government is fining cranberry farmers and requiring them to return wetlands to their natural state. Did the cranberry grower who did that violate some law, or do something for which he should have gotten a permit to do so in the first place?
 

Ben Ruset

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Bob,

I'm certainly an advocate of "smart" building. I was visiting friends in Long Branch last night, and they had bulldozed several old neighborhoods that were really run down and will be putting new condominiums and shops in it's place. The same thing is happening with Asbury Park.

I also think that industry can be "smarter" about using buildings that already exist. I can certainly see why studies show that NJ will be built out soon; It seems everywhere you look there's a new store opening up.

I don't advocate large-scale building in the Pine Barrens, but at the same time, if someone wanted to build a house in Green Bank or Speedwell, I don't think they should be stopped. I also think that local industry such as cranberrying should be allowed to continue and flourish in the Pine Barrens. Of course, if the owners of the land do things that deliberately put the environment in jeopardy (ie: use too much pesticides, chemicals, etc.) then the state, EPA, and groups like the Sierra Club should step in.

The point is that by regulating too much of what goes on in the Pine Barrens, you'll destroy the economy. Cranberrying is just about all that is left of the local economy down there. You'd never be able to build a blast furnace in this day and age. ;)
 
J

JeffD

Guest
The NJ Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan says that agricultural development in the Pine Barrens doesn't come under the commission's review. " Agriculture - Agriculture is not only a valuable industry in the Pinelands -- it contributes significantly to the unique character of the region. The blueberry and cranberry industry's dependence on large quantities of pure water has greatly contributed to the ecological stability of the region. Agricultural-related development is generally exempt from Pinelands Commission review."

Cranberry farmers are just required to farm in an environmentally friendly manner, consistent with the management practices of the various entities the commission lists. The management plan continues "However, farming operations must be carried out in an environmentally sensitive manner. The recommended agricultural management practices prepared by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, the Soil Conservation Service, and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station must be followed where appropriate. In designated Agricultural Production Areas of the Pinelands, farming operations are exempted from "nuisance" ordinances which inhibit efficient crop production."

Like many of the cases against cranberry growers, DeMarco may not have realized he needed a permit. This case started during the time when the law, driven by environmental extremists, conducted which hunts to prosecute private property owners for wetland violations. Even if DeMarco was aware he needed a permit, and went ahead with his business because it was his business, he didn't hurt anything. As the article in this link points out, some folks say the Pine Barrens Tree Frog was threatened, when at this time the Tree Frog was no longer considered endangered. http://www.courierpostonline.com/pinelands/m082902c.htm
It's more than likely that the cranberry growers, like Garfield DeMarco, who take good care of their land, helped provide habitat for the tree frog. Filling in a small area to grow cranberries isn't going to keep the tree frog from living in the Pine Barrens. To prosecute DeMarco Enterprises for this to the extent they did -- with the exobitant fines and requirements Campbell and Jeff Tittle, who said this was the most evil thing he's seen, is overkill. Interferring with a man's business is alot worse than throwing a little dirt on a pond. Talk about environmental hype!

I can understand your concern, Bob, about following the law. This case is somewhat analogous to a movie I saw about two pilots in Vietnam. The politicians were making the war more difficult than it should be for the millitary and were wasting the lives of military people. I think the case was that the military knew where missles (SAMS) that were shooting down planes were, but the pilots could not go out and bomb them. Pilots would risk their lives to go on useless missions. So, the two pilots decided to go to downtown Hanoi, against regulations, to knock out the Sams to save American lives. They were court martialled. But during the course of their court martial, the government changed it's policy to not only allow pilots to do what these rogue pilots did, but commanded them to do it. As the officer who was prosecuting them said, it would be rather silly to prosecute the pilots for doing something the government said they should be doing. So the pilots were let off the hook; the case was quietly dismissed.

It appears that the cranberry growers are not hurting the environment. On the contrary, overall, they have been good stewards of the land. The DEP could serve the public better by enforcing the rules on public land, such as keeping horses off the Batona trails and erecting signs to notify people that certain trails are for foot traffic only, busting individual irresponsible off-roaders when they destroy plants, soil, and streams, etc., enforce littering laws and keep people from trashing out public land in the Pine Barrens. Do any of these problems exist on private lands, on cranberry and blueberry farms? The DEP also should do a better job of restoring the forest after a fire, so it can regenerate and lower the risk of monster wildfires. As the lyrics in the old Jonathan Edwards song went "YOU CAN'T EVEN RUN YOUR OWN LIFE; I'LL BE DAMMED IF YOU'LL RUN MINE." The bottom line: HEY CAMPBELL! LEAVE THE CRANBERRY GROWERS ALONE!
 

bobpbx

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bruset said:
I don't advocate large-scale building in the Pine Barrens, but at the same time, if someone wanted to build a house in Green Bank or Speedwell, I don't think they should be stopped.....The point is that by regulating too much of what goes on in the Pine Barrens, you'll destroy the economy. Cranberrying is just about all that is left of the local economy down there

Ben, I would have a problem with just anybody building a house in Speedwell, and so would the Pinelands Commission. Speedwell is located in the Special Agrigultural Production Area (berry and other native agriculture only), and as such has very stringent rules on development. Essentially, the house must be adjacent to and part of a farm (and there are minimum land acreage requirements), or the land must have been held in the family since prior to 1979 (and there are restrictions tied to that too).

Regarding your point about the economy, I don't see wholsale closing down of farms being accomplished by the government. Is there a concern here I am missing? It seems to me there are enough people concerned about the economy, and not enough concern about open space in New Jersey (at least thats the way this board is running lately).
 
J

JeffD

Guest
Cranberry farms keep open space in the Pine Barrens, Bob. As I said, this form of agricultural industry balances the local economy with open space. Of course there are some who see open space as land just set aside just for it's own sake. Yes, we need some land set aside where you can enjoy nature, but these areas should be small, compaired to the surrounding area. Think about this: On our last outing, there was plenty of room for us to explore. On my way to get there, I passed through DeMarco Country, not surrounded by concrete and steel but by open land as far as I could see, and hardly any traffic.

You're right, the Pine Barrens Commission needs to stick to the rules concerning population density in certain areas. And building something new, something esthetically pleasing and consistent with the country surroundings of the Pine Barrens where a run down house (not to be confused with ruins we visit) that has become a hangout for druggies and drunks and possibly a meth lab, is a good idea. Barry, I would keep an eye out on that area in your neck of the woods to make sure the rules for development are followed. Remember, nobody would get back to you to respond to your inquiry about what was going on there. Folks like Mac Greedy, Campbell (the Campbells are coming!) and Florio (of whom we were free in 93) don't believe that they have to answer to the public or be accountable. It wouldn't be the first time a white liberal spoke with forked toungue and applied rules selectively.
 

Ben Ruset

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Wharton State Forest is nearly 5% of the State's land area.

Where is the point when we have enough "open space?"

And regarding the way that the board has been running, it's open for everyone to express their opinion. I can't help it if it seems one sided. I certainly don't mind other people's point of views, even if I may not agree with them.
 
J

JeffD

Guest
Talk about spin: The DEP said that DeMarco Enterprises jeopardized the Pine Barrens Tree Frog by expanding his bogs. Not only was the tree frog population growing and about to be taken off the endangered species list, but, as you will see on this link about the Pine Barrens Tree Frog habitat, it lives in CRANBERRY BOGS.

http://www.state.nj.us/pinelands/treefrog.htm

And we should listen to these people when they say they are the guardians of the environment? :roll:
 
B

bach2yoga

Guest
I see a lot of opinions, a lot of allegations, inflammatory speech, a lot of comparisons that are apples to oranges...little substance, few specific instances...
I'm going to come at this from a side that may not be popular with either of you--how often do you eat cranberries? Drink cranberry juice?
Truth is, as an industry, cranberry related industries are not high on the list of something most people would consider investing in...here in Bridgeton, Minot was bought out several years ago by Northland...many processors are unable to stay in business because the demand for cranberries is simply not high. There will always be some demand for cranberries, but face it, it is not corn or rice or wheat, and the government subsidies are not there for a crop like cranberry...and to place the demise of an industry on Pine Barren regulations is simply not accurate. Supply and demand...if there is no demand or if there is a substantially reduced demand, well...it's one of the laws of economics, folk, and it wasn't precipitated by McGreevey or environmentalists, but by a lack of consumer demand for a product. It's an industry that has been troubled for a while.
And re: building, that is the whole point of developing plans to combat sprawl, isn't it? So we can most efficiently utilize the space we have already used? I believe that is the point Bob was trying to make, and I think we all agree on it, though I know that both Bob and I and some others would be quick to take issue as to how much infringement on the Pine Barrens is acceptable.

Renee
 

Ben Ruset

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Certainly there are economic issues that need to be taken into consideration. You're exactly right that cranberries are not a staple crop such as wheat or corn, yet New Jersey is one of the largest producers of cranberries.

I suppose the main problem that Jeff (and to an extent myself) have is the villification by the Sierra Club, etc. of the growers as people who are not environmentally friendly.

And like I said, I don't think we should rush into bulldozing the Pine Barrens to put up another Starbucks (TM) coffee, but we need to realize that the state does not own that land, and that development should be allowed to happen in a way harmonious to nature.

Warning: Sarcasm

I have an idea. Why not put a huge fence around the Pine Barrens? Kick everyone who lives there out (there probably are a lot of apartments for rent in Newark or Jersey City). Then we can ban people from setting foot into the Pine Barrens. Free of the influence of humans, we wouldn't have to worry about people driving through on their ATVs, hunters killing wildlife, motorists setting fire to the woods with a wayward cigarette butt tossed carelessly out the window of their SUV. Just think, it would be Eden reborn!

Of course, since us lowly humans would be too much of a danger to the fragile Pine Barrens ecosystem, we could only let card carrying members of the Sierra Club in. The rest of us would have to be content with hanging posters of Pitch Pine trees over our window and pretending that we're in the Pine Barrens instead of being locked up in East Rutherford.
 

Teegate

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Bob,

I have not read any evidence where this board is not concerned with open space in NJ. They just are concerned with peoples rights to do what they want with their property with certain limitations. Individual property owners are not the problem, it is developers as I have said all along. They are who are encroaching on the pines, and they alone should be our concern.

Why cranberry growers are being regulated and fined is beyond me. Agriculture in NJ needs to be protected in this state as much as open space. Anyone who wants to restrict cranberry growers from expanding their bogs are anti American, and needs a visit from Rocky and Mr T. Imagine if restrictions were put on the builders of Friendship Bogs years ago. We would now not have one of the most interesting and beautiful places in the pines, which as Jeff mentions supports the habitat of Tree Frogs. Good point Jeff! And I see no evidence there that cranberry bogs hurts the environment. Environmentalist have the bogs flowing red, and it is not from cranberries, it is the owners blood.


For the record Renee, I am an avid drinker of cranberry, crangrape, and cranraspberry juice each and every week. It is my main source of liquid refreshment, which I even drank on our outing along with my granola bars. We also have cranberry sauce twice a week for dinner. All men on this board certainly should do likewise, for your health, and the health of the NJ Cranberry growers.

Guy
 

Ben Ruset

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TeeGate said:
We also have cranberry sauce twice a week for dinner.

One of the best things I can think of is pulling a can of cranberry sauce out of the fridge, opening it up, and feasting on it alone. I could survive on cranberries.

I love cold cranberry sauce. My fiance also is very adept at making chicken marinated in pure cranberry juice. Once you get over the pink color it's quite good.
 

Teegate

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bruset said:
One of the best things I can think of is pulling a can of cranberry sauce out of the fridge, opening it up, and feasting on it alone. I could survive on cranberries.

I love cold cranberry sauce. My fiance also is very adept at making chicken marinated in pure cranberry juice. Once you get over the pink color it's quite good.

That sounds like an interesting recipe, but after trying my bosses wife's chocolate chicken, I am afraid if I try anything different with chicken like I did, I may never eat it again. Then again that could be a good thing, right Renee...

Guy
 
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