Tag Archive: clean water

What’s Your Trump Era Top 5?

I’ve been thinking about that scene in Forrest Gump when he runs back and forth across the country for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours. He gains a following. People find purpose in what he’s doing. He’s peppered with questions…
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Remembering Ella Filippone

“…the river is a toxic disgrace that needs to be cleaned up. ‘It’s government at its worst,’ she said.”New York Times, July 12, 2009

I’m going to get right to the point here. That’s how Ella would have wanted it.

Ella Filippone was one tough broad, not afraid to take on anyone. You either loved her, or hated her. It’s that simple. And Ella honestly didn’t care.

Love her or hate her, there are few people who would argue the fact that New Jersey’s environmental community lost a bold, brash, and tireless advocate with her death on Friday, June 21, 2013.

Ella was a friend and a mentor to me, as she was for so many others during her 43 years as the Passaic River Coalition’s Executive Director.

My relationship with Ella didn’t start that way. We’re both very headstrong and opinionated people, and when we first met, I’m not sure she knew what to think of me. But over time, as we worked side by side on Highlands issues and projects and she cautiously assessed my character and motives, Ella took a liking to me. If you gained acceptance into her circle of trusted associates, you had no greater friend than Ella.

“Celebrating” the Six Month Anniversary of Governor Christie’s Paean to the Dirty Water Lobby

If Governor Christie gets his way, New Jersey’s water will soon contain toxic and radioactive materials. That’s because he vetoed a bill that would prohibit the transport and storage of waste water from hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking.”

If you think it can’t happen here, remember the recent accident in Paulsboro where a train full of toxic chemicals fell off of an ill-maintained bridge and displaced dozens of people from their homes for weeks. Now multiply that impact by several orders of magnitude. That’s what’s hanging over the people of New Jersey if the Governor’s veto is not overridden.

Currently, there are no treatment plants in New Jersey that can handle fracking wastewater. Do we want to invest in plants to treat pollutants, or is that money better spent investing in clean energy? The dirty energy lobby has managed to cajole the federal government into not classifying fracking wastewater as something that is handled as hazardous material, so it is up to the state legislature to ensure this garbage does not infiltrate our water supply.

Today in Trenton, a coalition of environmental groups led by the Sierra Club lobbied legislators to override the Governor’s veto. About 20 lobbyists buttonholed approximately half the Assembly members to urge them to override. Later, the leaders of these groups spoke to the press:





What the Frack?

How would you like it if your neighbor dumped the waste from his septic tank into your back yard? Well, that’s what Christie’s Cronies are proposing to let happen in New Jersey, and some legislators are working to prevent this.

Energy companies are promoting the use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, to extract gas and oil from underground deposits. Fracking involves injecting millions of gallons of water laced with proprietary chemicals into the ground to force the gas and oil out. But the broth that is injected into the earth must go somewhere, and that detritus contains carcinogens and radioactive materials.

The New Jersey legislature banned fracking, but the governor issued a conditional veto which only puts a one year moratorium on the practice in the state. However, states like Pennsylvania and Ohio permit the process, and much of the toxic waste liquid is shipped to the Garden State for disposal.

Today, a coalition of 70 environmental and other organizations held a press conference in Trenton in support of a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Connie Wagner and supported by Assemblyman John McKeon and 15 other co-sponsors that would prohibit the transport and storage of fracking waste in the state. No matter how safe the energy companies claim their processes are, this is a human endeavor and involves accidents. We are endangering New Jersey’s drinking water for the enrichment of the energy barons and out-of-state employers.

While tax relief is at the top of the agenda for everyone in Trenton, if we don’t have clean air and water, no amount of tax relief will make New Jersey a pleasant place to live. That message needs to be sent loud and clear to our leaders in Trenton.





100th Anniversary of Water Chlorination

(Re-posted from Huffington Post)

I became an environmental activist in the early 1970s just as I was completing my doctorate in ecology at the University of British Columbia. It was the height of the Cold War and the height of the Viet Nam War and we were compelled to take a very public stand against activities we thought to be catastrophic both for people and for the planet.

I joined a small committee that was meeting in the basement of the Unitarian Church. We organized a protest voyage against U.S. hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska and had tens of thousands marching in the streets. When that H-bomb was set off at Amchitka Island in November 1971, it was the last hydrogen bomb the U.S. ever detonated.

It was the birth of Greenpeace, the organization I co-founded, spending 15 years in its top committee, helping to lead environmental campaigns around the world.

But it’s ironic in the extreme that, as we mark the 100th anniversary of drinking water chlorination, my old organization and other activist groups aligned with it continue to oppose this most important public health achievement.  

Dennis: Reach out to the Outdoorsmen and Women

For far too long, out here in The Far Broccoli of The 5th, the Republicans have had a virtual lock, a “death grip” if you will, on the votes and the endorsements of the outdoors, hunting and fishing groups. It does not have to be that way and with a little TLC of these groups and the right message, more than a few of these votes can be turned.

Zeitz vs. Smith: Smith voted against Clean Water

Chris Smith says that he wants to run on his record in Congress. Unfortunately, there are parts of his record that voters may find less than appealing, namely his vote against clean water.

In 2005, Chris Smith voted against $342 Million in clean water funding. The votes were against restoring funding to the Clean Water Fund. The fund, established under the Clean Water Act, assists local communities with their water processing infrastructure to prevent sewage and waste from contaminating bodies of water. Communities nationwide face more than $300 billion in backlogged requirements to upgrade and repair clean up water systems. There are over 29,000 impaired rivers, lakes and steams nationwide. (2005 Votes # 198 and Vote #194; 2005 Statement by Rep. David Obey, 109th Congressional Record, pg. H.3642, 5/19/05; EPA, National Section and New Jersey Section 303(d) List, link here.)

The problem hits especially hard in New Jersey where 675 streams, creeks and rivers, 161 lakes and 134 other bodies of water need monitoring to ensure contamination is prevented. These waters are considered impaired and at risk.

Why did Chris Smith vote against restoring funding?

He certainly cannot use the Federal budget as an excuse, he voted to give himself a pay-raise nine times since 1999. (CRS: Salaries of Members of Congress Updated January 8, 2008; 1999 Vote #300; 2000 Vote #419; 2001 House Vote #267; 2002 House Vote #322; 2003 House Vote #463; 2004 House Vote #451; 2005 House Vote #327; 2006 vote #261; 2007 Vote #580)

“While Chris Smith was busy raising his own salary he was also voting against clean water protection for New Jersey. Voters deserve and explanation.” said Josh Zeitz campaign manager Steve D’Amico.

If you’d like to volunteer, please contact ian_at_joshzeitz_dot_com. Please visit Josh’s website to learn more about why we need to elect Josh to Congress.