Don't Come Around Here No More

Take a look at my Daily Photo

scarier in real life

Yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer had an interesting little article about Petty's Island, a very large piece of land that sits in the Jersey side of the Delaware River. Most of the island has been home to an oil refinery (currently run by Citgo) while the rest of the island has been left undeveloped and has even attracted a pair of nesting bald eagles.

Citgo tried last year to donate the island to the state, perhaps to get an environmental mess off its hands while looking like the good neighbor. The state refused the donation, citing cost of cleanup and maintenance. Pennsauken, where the island is located, is eager to condemn the land and build a golf course and some ritzy homes on the island. Environmentalist would like the island to be cleaned up and be allowed to return to nature.

I admit that I haven't been following this story very closely. My brain has lumped it together with the plans for developing Burlington Island, a similarly sized island off the coast of Burlington City, which isn't the environmental mess Petty's Island is but still comes with its own headaches. But yesterday's article caught my attention because it focused on a new player in the saga of Petty's Island - Christie Whitman.

Yes, that esteemed sentinel of both New Jersey and the environment is on the case. And who's side has President Bush's first head of the EPA taken? Why, Citgo's of course. Like I said, this is a tricky case and I'm not very read up on it, but I know if Whitman is going one way the State and environmentalists should run the other.

One reason not to trust her? She's playing naive:
"I agreed to pick up the phone and call [U.S. Secretary of the Interior] Gale Norton and realized I became a lobbyist."
Don't get me started on what a joke it's been having Gale Norton run Interior, but Whitman must be smart enough to know that making calls for an oil company to the government is lobbying. Maybe she should have at least realized this when Citgo handed her the check for making the calls.

Another reason not to trust her? While Whitman can take credit for some environmental improvements as governor, she has rarely chosen the environment over big business. Before she was Governor she sat on the state Public Utility Board and often sided with the utility companies. While Governor she was responsible for forcing the anti-development Terry Moore out as head of the Pinelands Commission, where he helped protect about a quarter of the state for twenty years, in favor of an obviously pro-development appointee. As the head of the EPA she was a Bush lapdog before being a Bush lapdog was cool. She could teach all these new cabinet appointees a thing or two about selling your soul and becoming yes-men (and yes-women).

What's scariest about this is that the environmentalists don't see any other choice but to support her on Petty's island. The article quoted the director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club:
"It shows you how environmentally bad New Jersey has become when we're looking at Gov. Whitman and the Bush administration to be our environmental champions."
They say politics make strange bedfellows. With Whitman and Bush, the Sierra Club should sleep with one eye open.


At 5:16 PM, Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

Congratulations. You posts are now so anti-Bush that your site has become unreadable. You just lost a reader.

At 5:39 PM, Blogger eRobin said...

Gosh, if he thought THAT was anti-BushCo, he should be sure to stay away from my site. I called Rumsfeld a monster yesterday. But, to be fair, he is.

This story is fascinating to me for exactly the reasons you list. It'll be interesting to see how it turns out.

At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering what happened to Shawn.Until today, he didn't have any comments on your blog since the election. I thought he was just gloating. Ann By the way did your watch Amazing Race yet? Have you seen Lost? Ann

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Whatever. Not all of us can be surrounded by people who say only what we want to hear, like a certain Leader of the Free World I know. My banner has always warned that I’m a self-righteous bleeding heart liberal and I’m not going to roll over just because the good guys lost.

At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is amazing what even REALLY rich people will do for a few bucks. Whitman is independently wealthy, yet she will sell her environmental soul for cash from a foreign-owned petroleum company. All this despite the fact that Citgo's proposition is alien to her own environmental "smart growth" credo as Governor: Clean up the urban contaminated land ... push development there ... and thereby protect what few farms New Jersey has left.

At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Whitman has decided to cash in on her government contacts. So much for being above it all. Today she announced the formation of a new lobbying group. Take a look at www.whitmanstrategygroup.com for more information.


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