Wednesday, May 20, 2009

NJ Sierra Club says: Stimulate this, not that

In another "we'll decide what's good for you" press release, the
Sierra Club today dictated what federal stimulus fund projects
it will accept in New Jersey and which it will "fight."

The first sentence of the release sets its overall snarky tone:

"As the Governor and politicians pat themselves on the back for stimulus money coming into the state, the NJ Sierra Club is watching closely to make sure those dollars are not spent on projects that will be detrimental to both the environment and the economy."

Oooohhhhh. I'll sleep a lot better at night knowing that the Sierra Club is standing between me and those horrible politicians. Imagine the nerve of that bunch, trying to foist upon us millions of dollars worth of environmental improvements that haven't been approved by the Mother Nature or her New Jersey stand-in, Sierra Club Executive Director Jeff Tittel.

Tittel's release dictates the terms. He's down with spending federal stimulus funds to fix leaky sewer systems in urban areas, but, as for those horrid suburbs, :

"Funds going to Rockaway Valley Sewage Authority and Jefferson will allow for new development to hook into sewers in the Highlands . Major expansions of the county utility in Gloucester will lead to sewers in the environmentally-sensitive Delaware Bayshore area. Monies for sewer expansion in Medford , Evesham, and Buena could allow for additional development in the Pinelands. Expanding sewers in East Greenwich Township will promote sprawl on environmentally sensitive farmland. "

Jeff also is not amused by the thought of using the funds for:

"Landfill redevelopment proposals in Gloucester County , Cumberland County , Woodbury, Belleville and Teterboro. " A redevelopment project in Harrison on a contaminated site also makes his no-no list.

As for the anticipated $469 million for transportation projects, he opposes:

"applying stimulus money towards extending Route 55, and widening 206 in the Highlands as well as the Atlantic City Expressway." Not urban, not good.

The Sierrans, however, will accept fixing the Pulaski Skyway or improving deficient bridges. Gee, thanks, guys.

Of the $420 million intended for NJ Transit projects, he notes that $130 million of it would be used for a new tunnel to New York "which the Sierra Club opposes as currently designed." Hint: Change the design, boys, and maybe we'll change our opposition.

Is all of what the Sierra Club calls for (or opposes) in the release unreasonable?

Probably not. But it's sure hard to warm up to when its delivered in the style they use so frequently: high-handed, imperious, dictatorial.

Tree huggers are supposed to be warm and fuzzy. This bunch sounds more like Dick Cheney every day.

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