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CVSEffect, consumer voice edition: “Avon cites customer concern as its reason for reformulating” w/o triclosan http://t.co/jq1QCQYu2F

Cool USDA graph “decline of smoking” How ’bout one for stamping out #climate denial? http://t.co/nNFYEKlZv7

Former SEC Commissioner calls Exxon ‘s bluff on “Nope. No stranded assets here” play. http://t.co/QXqrxvjoIM

Hey NJ–we can do this too! How Boston is-and should be -preparing for rising seas. http://t.co/Zvpu2tHtuG

There goes our last excuse to not take climate action. China ordering 2,000 coal mines to be closed. http://t.co/cqZ6gEeixq

More CVS Effect of doing CSR right: Mozilla’s CEO steps down because of talent war pressure. http://t.co/yy44F2udUn

Another step for CVS Effect. Honeymaid’s LOVE video for #thisiswholesome backlash. http://t.co/cuN2dwywSi

Wow NJ’s FEMA Disaster Plan was filed Mar. 5, 6 days *before* the public comment period opened. http://t.co/mIafbwBWhC

Buzz buzz! The waggle dance of honeybees has been decoded. http://t.co/j996GLc649

Leveraging IPCC: Well-sourced “Dos” & “Don’ts” for climate communications. http://t.co/2pfSIN7rwr

Here’s how NJ can transition to 100% renewable energy: save $$$, create jobs and own our power. http://t.co/IXbELjEdJ8

Expose Climate Denialism: Faux “NIPCC” wants to be compared to IPCC. Um, no. http://t.co/vyR3qJ48Yz

It’s a man. It’s a bird. No. Wait. http://t.co/2xvW8ouTkx

What does the CEO say? Cognitive science research on CSR/sustainability conflicting objectives. http://t.co/eLxOezXZbR

My review of Andrew Winston ‘s The Big Pivot: A Realist’s Guide to a Climate-Challenged Present http://t.co/VeFrFq7RYh

Lesson of the day: “You’ve come here to offer me your gifts. Thank you for your offer, but I do not accept.” http://t.co/7hVlLvFNzx

Let’s bridge it. “There is an environmental literacy gap in the C-suite,” http://t.co/

Exxon won’t disclose business impacts of 2 deg scenario. http://gu.com/p/3z8dg/tw

By me: NJ’s Disaster Plan: Long on Hazards, Maybe Short on Mitigation, Silent on Public Comment? http://t.co/9wYIqKyoSI

MotherJones Mar. 21 on NJ Hazard Mitigation Plan: “a contradictory mess.” http://t.co/pJLaCaDTLY

Change the way NJ business gets done: LeaderShip for Sustainability course starts 4/25. http://t.co/tdPNTgxRfP

Share/link/pin/tag: Carbon Brief ‘s simple 1-page IPCC climate communications summary. http://t.co/Ll5urZMEP9

Share w/your CFO: Solutions for profitably breaking climate gridlock. http://t.co/Lcyl7FLM3i

Now the economists are saying it: Want sustainable growth? Get a long-term focus. http://t.co/Lcyl7FLM3i

NJ State Hazard Mitigation Plan: Long on Hazards, Short on Mitigation, Silent on Public Comment? 

Public comments Open Until April 11 But Won’t Be Considered

Back on March 11, the NJ Office of Emergency Management (OEM) tweeted and posted some good news: the state’s new FEMA-required 2014 Hazard Mitigation Plan was ready—and open for public comment until April 11.

(Not that it’s going to matter, as you’ll see below, but here’s the link to submit your comments.)

This was really big, important news about NJ’s official “Disaster Plan,” since the last one was done in 2011 pre-Sandy.

An updated Hazard Mitigation Plan is not only a good idea to keep NJ citizens safe, but it’s also Federally-mandated every three years.

All states are required to have a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)- approved hazard mitigation plan in place to be eligible for disaster recovery assistance and mitigation funding.

The bad news? Hardly anyone heard the news.

I take full responsibility for missing Bill Wolfe’s ongoing coverage of this issue until today (Mar. 31). In my defense, I feel there was very little effort made on the State’s part to get my input. For one, the official press release for the Plan’s release didn’t include the start and end dates for the public comment period until I tweeted the error to them on Mar. 31.

Here’s a screen grab of the press release before the OEM office fixed it on Mar. 31. (Click to embiggen.)OEMMarch31

It’s hard to read, but the second sentence says:

“The comment period will start (date) and end (date).”

That kind of says to me that the OEM office wasn’t all that interested in hearing anything the general public had to say. (I know I’m being harsh here about an obvious typo in a press release. But this issue is important.)

What’s more, Governor Christie didn’t mention the new Plan or the public comment period in any of his recent high-profile Town Halls. The March 11 OEM announcement was tweeted exactly once. To the best of my knowledge, there were no official events connected to the Plan’s release.

And here’s the kicker. NJ’s OEM needed to submit it to FEMA by the end of March. So any public comments received were never going to be used for the current plan. No, I’m not kidding.

As reported by the central New Jersey Suburban paper March 20, here’s OEM spokesperson Mary Goepfert:

For the first time, the state has also opened up the plan to public comment through April 11 to “increase transparency regarding proposed disaster risk reduction strategies.”

However, because the plan must be submitted to FEMA by the end of March, those comments will not have an impact on the currently proposed plan, Goepfert said.

Now, I applaud that the Plan includes climate change and sea level rise for the first time. I’m glad that many of the state’s climate experts participated in the process. And that a public comment period was added, even if it is meaningless.

But it’s just not good enough.

For one, without the checks and balances of public review and input, it’s only the Christie Administration’s version.

Another concern is that Plan is long on Hazards and might be short on Mitigation.

As NJ environmental activist Bill Wolfe writes:

The plan is studded with obligatory references to scientific findings on the effects of climate change but does not integrate that science into state planning or changes in building codes, project designs, regulations or plans to spend billions of federal aid dollars.

My layperson reading of the Plan backs up Mr. Wolfe’s observation.

I couldn’t find any specific policy recommendations in the Plan to mitigate flooding hazards.

We need a plan that not only says what’s potentially likely to happen, but also what we’re going to do to keep NJ citizens safe and our economy up and running.

This plan should put all the best science and data together for State officials, citizens, planners and policy makers to make better decisions about how our state should spend money and resources.

In my opinion, this plan doesn’t come close to what we need. And without the public’s input, it’s not likely to.

So take some time to read the Plan. Share it with your friends, especially those with expertise.

Submit your comments.

And tell Governor Christie and your State representatives how you feel about it.

We need a plan.

New Jersey doesn’t have a plan for keeping our people safe, our economy strong, and our businesses thriving when the next Sandy hits.

Every state around us does, or at least is far ahead of us.

There’s boatloads of good work going on in towns and counties, but nothing on the coordinated, resource-efficient State level.

Why not? I’d like to ask Governor Christie about the role that Climate Change plays in our hot summers, destructive storms, and rising sea levels. (I believe he’s a smart man and knows perfectly well the risks facing our state.)

Chris Sturm from New Jersey Future wrote this great Sept. 23 editorial for NJ Spotlight. She lays out what NJ is missing and what our neighbors are doing to plan for Climate Change in general, and sea-level rise in particular.

Via njspotlight:

Opinion: It’s time to connect the dots between rising sea levels and rebuilding

In contrast, neighboring state governments offer tools and guidance to their communities to help them protect constituents from sea level rise and other climate impacts. New York State’s Reconstruction Rising offers $25 million in grants and a toolkit for assessing sea-level rise out to the year 2100. Connecticut has released a Climate Preparedness Plan and is creating a climate resiliency research center to help coastal communities. To the south, Delaware has assessed its vulnerability to climate change and offers its communities free climate preparedness training, while Maryland’s initiatives include new sea level rise projections to help decisionmakers plan.

I wrote back in May that the NJ Climate Change Adaptation Alliance has stepped up to fill the leadership and coordination role that I feel the Governor and the NJ DEP should be doing.

This alliance of NJ-focused planning, development, and conservation groups are working together to create a climate change adaptation plan for New Jersey.

There’s lots of strong science, experienced planning and top-notch engineering happening that we can apply to our state’s needs.

I care about our state, and want our State Leaders to take the actions needed to prove they do too.