NJ DEP overriding public interest

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:39

    It's not until one has direct dealings with New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Wildlife Division do you come to realize there is a great deal of truth to the criticism that its overriding purpose is to protect and promote their own self interest regardless of the general public's position or welfare. I discovered that personally when I joined with other individuals to oppose the issuance of a commercial shooting preserve (CSP) located in Andover and Byram Townships. We noted in the legislated law that the issuing of that permit was contingent on determining whether "there was no prior conflict with reasonable public interest." Letters were sent to Lisa Jackson, then head of the DEP, asking how this was implemented by the executive branch of our government and how it was determined in this case. We received no response. We then met with the issuing officer of Fish and Wildlife to ask the same question. His response was that he did not know since it was never applied to any of the permits issued for CSPs. Our next step was to challenge the license in an Appellate Court in Trenton. That court ordered a remand of the permit - a very seldom occurence. The DEP then took the step of seeking input from the public. In its request for public comment, the DFW stated it doesn't matter what one said - they would re-issue the permit anyway. What makes the re-issuance even more insidious is their re-licensing of the CSP even before the public input period was concluded and evaluated. I would advise the public to seriously question the pronouncements on any animal or environmental issue that emanates from the NJF&W and DEP in light of the above travesty. Fred Gillespie Andover