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Dates for your Diary - 2012
- Jan. 23: Jeff Tittel
- Jeff Tittel, N.J. Chapter Director of the Sierra Club, will discuss the systematic political
assault on both the state's and the nation's environmental rules and regulations by radical
conservative politicians. Since the radicals have captured the U.S. House of Representatives,
there have been about 160 votes against environmental regulations on the House floor,
and about 85 of them have targeted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More assaults
can be expected to come. In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie has opposed many environmental
bills, while his environmental commissioner insists that any evaluation of new regulations
must be balanced by their impact on economic growth. Jeff will also explain how pro-development
opponents to environmental controls falsely blame them for the nation's economic stagnation.
All is not bleak, however. He will close by considering the rays of hope on the horizon.
- Feb. 27: Clyde Mackenzie
- Clyde Mackenzie, a senior researcher at the National Marine Fisheries Laboratory
(NMFS/NOAA) at Sandy Hook, will discuss the health of the world's major marine fisheries,
with emphasis on New Jersey marine fisheries, at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 27 at
Brookdale Community College, Lincroft. The meeting, open to the public,
will include the college's students and the members of the N.J. Friends of Clearwater
and the Jersey Shore (Monmouth) Group of the Sierra Club.
Almost all of the world's major fisheries are suffering from over-fishing and pollution,
and the populations of many fish species are in danger of collapsing. Both the
environmental and economic consequences are staggering, since UN statistics indicate
there are 38 million commercial fishermen and fish farmers, while overall, the
fisheries and aquaculture industries employ directly and indirectly more than
500 million people.
Mr. Mackenzie has specialized in the biology and ecology of mollusks in the
eastern United States and Canada, as well as studying fish populations worldwide.
He has made at least 12 survey trips to Latin America to observe and document
its mollusk populations, as well as carrying on research in the Pacific Ocean,
the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. He is the author of many scientific papers.
Mr. Mackenzie's presentation is hosted by the BCC Science Field Station at Sandy Hook
to encourage BCC students to be involved in statewide and national debates on the
importance of strong environmental regulations.
- March 26: Why does New Jersey need "rain gardens?"
- To capture rain runoff for local flora and fauna, recharge ground water supplies,
and reduce erosion and habitat destruction. Rain gardens, depressions in the ground that
are planted with native trees, plants and flowers, mimic the natural absorption and
pollutant filtering activities of a forest. William Sciarappa, head of the County Extension
Department and County Agricultural Agent, will discuss his department's plan to develop
rain gardens. He will be followed by Thomas E. Matulewicz of the Monmouth County Master
Gardeners, who will explain how that group helps design rain gardens, and professional
landscaper Laurel Von Gerichten, a certified landscape designer with her own company,
Laurelbrook Design. She will explain how homeowners can economically create rain gardens
while enhancing the "curb appeal" of their homes.
- April 23 : Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.)
- Rep. Frank Pallone will discuss the efforts by Republicans in Congress to dismantle decades of environmental regulations that protect our health and safety. The Congressman will speak at 6:30 pm, Monday, April 23 at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft. The meeting, open to the general public, will include college students and members of the N.J. Friends of Clearwater and the Jersey Shore (Monmouth) Group of the Sierra Club.
May 21 : John Weber
Conservationists initially preserved wilderness tracts for passive recreation and to protect wildlife flora and fauna. As development ate up more open spaces and increased pollution, the scope of environmentalism evolved and now includes protecting the health and well-being of humans as well. "Now-a-days, when anti-environmental politicians and lobbyists try to increase corporate profits by watering down or eliminating regulations protecting our land, air and water, they are directly endangering our health and safety," according to Joellen Lundy, Clearwater's president. "Pollution causes thousands of premature deaths every year."
In addition, Dennis Anderson, president of the Sierra group, said "We must emphasize conserving energy and developing reusable energy sources, instead of destroying our environment by hydrofraking for gas, drilling for oil in environmentally fragile areas, and strip mining for coal. Healthy nations grow; polluted nations decay."
Both clubs also are opposed to off-shore liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, supposedly designed to import LNG. However, many critics believe these terminals actually will be used to export hydrofracked American gas, which is causing major pollution problems, to higher-priced European and Asian markets, thus driving American natural gas prices higher.
Rep. Pallone will explain how polluters mask their extreme tactics by claiming "job killing" environmental regulations caused the recent recession and current unemployment, blaming the rise in gasoline prices on environmental regulations, and tacking anti-environmental amendments onto "must-pass" bills that traditionally receive bipartisan support.
In the 112th Congress, Rep. Pallone continues to serve as a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over issues pertaining to energy, environment, health care, commerce and telecommunications.
Pallone is on the Committee's Subcommittee on Health, which has sole jurisdiction over Medicaid, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and shares jurisdiction of Medicare with the Ways and Means Committee. The Health Subcommittee oversees public health, biomedical programs, food and drug safety, mental health and research, hospital construction and all health care homeland security-related issues.
- John Weber, the Northeast Regional Manager of the Surfrider Foundation, will discuss the revised NJDEP regulations to monitor the plans of coastal communities on how they will provide beach access to N.J. citizens. The issue has been a contentious one for years, since urban riverfront and Shore waterfront up to the high tide line belong to the state, and thus to all citizens. Some municipalities and industries have tried to limit access by restrictive parking regulations or not providing parking facilities, not providing bathroom facilities, barring access outright, and other tactics.
Mr. Weber will speak at 6:30 pm, Monday, May 21 at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft. The meeting, open to the general public, will include college students and members of the N.J. Friends of Clearwater and the Jersey Shore (Monmouth) Group of the Sierra Club.
New access regulations proposed by DEP recently drew protests from open space advocates ranging from environmentalists to fishermen to surfers, because they claim the regulations gave municipalities too much leeway in designing their beach access. Mr. Weber will report on the revisions.
About four decades ago, the NJDEP undertook an extensive survey of the state's tidal coastline to identify all state-owned tidelands and to pinpoint shorelines where tidal waters were illegally filled in by adjacent residential and corporate property owners. In addition, the DEP has tried to control access fees of some Jersey Shore municipalities that, in DEP's opinion, charged out-of-town beachgoers disproportionately higher access fees than local residents.
According to DEP critics, however, the proposed access regulations will give municipalities, especially those traditionally hostile to out-of-towners, too much leeway in establishing their access rules, particularly on ocean beaches. The rules also cover access to urban waterfront, including many areas now blocked by commercial development.
- June 25 : Debbie Mans
- June 25 - Debbie Mans, Executive Director of the N.Y/N.J. Baykeeper headquartered in Keyport, will report on the health of New Jersey and New York bays, especially Raritan Bay, at 6:30 p.m., Monday, June 25 at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft. The presentation, open to the public, will include the college's students and the members of the N.J. Friends of Clearwater and the Jersey Shore (Monmouth) Group of the Sierra Club.
Mans also will discuss the ups and downs of her organization's disputes with the NJDEP over Baykeeper's attempt to determine if ecologically important oysters, whose beds were decimated by overharvesting and pollution, can be repopulated in Raritan Bay.
The DEP, having been criticized by the USEPA, shut down the Baykeeper's effort to reintroduce the oyster. The DEP claimed that if poachers illegally took the oysters from the bay's polluted waters, the contaminated oysters could make people ill and jeopardize the state's entire shellfish industry. The U.S. Navy came to Debbie's rescue, which she shall relate in full.
ADebbie's presentation will complement a recent presentation on the health of marine estuaries by Clyde Mackenzie, senior researcher at the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory (NMFS/NOAA) at Sandy Hook.
Raritan Bay had been an extremely rich and productive marine habitat until land-based pollution and habitat destruction in the latter half of the 20th Century contaminated its pristine waters and harmed or killed many marine species. State and federal pollution controls have improved the bay's water quality, but the state recommends not eating fish caught in its waters and prohibits harvesting all shellfish.
The Baykeeper organization was formed in 1989 to work with state officials and citizens' groups to end pollution in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary watershed, improve public access, conserve and restore public lands, restore aquatic habitats, discourage inappropriate development, and carry out public education. Its programs aren't limited to the shorelines but extend inland throughout the Hudson-Raritan watershed, including a recent purchase of several wooded areas of wetlands along the Third River in Bloomfield.The Baykeeper organization was formed in 1989 to work with state officials and citizens' groups to end pollution in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary watershed, improve public access, conserve and restore public lands, restore aquatic habitats, discourage inappropriate development, and carry out public education. Its programs aren't limited to the shorelines but extend inland throughout the Hudson-Raritan watershed, including a recent purchase of several wooded areas of wetlands along the Third River in Bloomfield.
- July 30 : Rep. Rush Holt (D-12th Dist.)
- July 30 - Rep. Rush Holt (D-12th Dist.) will explain the major hurdles facing environmental protections in Congress at 6:30 p.m., Monday, July 30 at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft. The presentation, hosted by the college as 'Science Monday' and open to the public, will include the college's students and members of the N.J. Friends of Clearwater and the Jersey Shore (Monmouth) Group of the Sierra Club.
Holt, who has a 100 percent environmental voting record, will share his insights on environmental challenges ahead as conservation organizations increasingly see their role shifting from a never-ending battle to preserve nature and protect it from mankind, to insisting on science-based decisions to protect nature for the health and well-being of mankind. Holt, a physicist, for example, is a founding member and co-chair of the Children's Environmental Health Caucus, which aims to raise awareness in Congress of environmental issues that affect health, particularly that of children.
Holt serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Natural Resources, where he is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, helping to develop a long-term strategy to decrease our nation's dependence on fossil fuels and protect our environment for future generations. From 2007 to 2010, Holt was the Chairman of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, which worked to strengthen oversight of the intelligence community by ensuring that policymakers receive accurate assessments, civil liberties are safeguarded, and the intelligence community is protecting Americans.
In the environmental area, he helped secure more than $700 million in new federal funding for science and technology research, helped pass an amendment to the Land and Water Conservation Fund providing millions in funding for protecting open space, and was instrumental in adding the lower Delaware River to the National Wild and Scenic River program.
His presentation will complement Rep. Frank Pallone's (D- 6th Dist.) April talk about Congressional opponents to the environment and a January talk by Jeff Tittel, director of the N.J. Sierra Club, on anti-environmental decisions in Trenton.
- September 24 : Pete Bacinski
- Pete Bacinski, a staff director of the N.J. Audubon Society, will explain the results of a state-of-the-birds study he conducted on the health and habitat of native and migratory birds along the Raritan Bay estuary. He will speak at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 24 at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft. The meeting is open to the public, the college's students, and members of the N.J. Friends of Clearwater and the Jersey Shore (Monmouth) Group of the Sierra Club.
Mr. Bacinski's work evaluates the effects of pollution, habitat destruction, and other detrimental factors along the Bay, whose ecology is important for both resident and migratory birds. New Jersey, on the Atlantic Flyway, is a bird watcher's paradise as birds migrate north to their breeding grounds each spring and then south in the fall to winter over in warmer climes. Last year, about 380 species of birds were reported in New Jersey, according to statistics on Cornell University's "ebird.com" web site, maintained by the school's ornithology laboratory.
However, the world of birds is growing grimmer. A study by Stanford University biologists in 2004 predicted that worldwide 10 percent of all bird species are likely to disappear by the year 2100, and another 15 percent could be on the brink of extinction. The study cited several reasons for the expected decline in bird populations, including habitat loss, disease, climate change, competition from non-native (intrusive) species, and exploitation for food or the pet trade.
While New Jersey offers many excellent bird-watching locations, including Cape May, the Forsyth Wildlife Preserve, Sandy Hook and the Great Swamp, many other open-space habitats that migrating and native birds rely on are disappearing because of development. Mr. Bacinski's talk will address these concerns.
The N.J. Audubon Society, founded in 1897, promotes environmental awareness and a conservation ethic among New Jersey's citizens; protects New Jersey's birds, animals, and plants, especially endangered and threatened species; promotes preserving New Jersey's valuable natural habitats, and manages 11 bird sanctuaries.