Friday, November 27, 2009

This time last year...

The Department of Navy on Black Friday, 2008, released its "draft" Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the civilian housing plan at Weapons Station Earle. The timing came as no surprise to anyone within NOPE, considering the U.S. Military's penchant for releasing these kinds of important reports ahead of holiday weekends (presumably so few will notice).

Without a doubt, we called the EIS out for what it was (and remains) - an incomplete, half-truthed and costly waste of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Federal and military bureaucracy at its finest. We remain steadfast in our opposition to this recipe for disaster as the April 30 DoN's deadline for opening the roadway to Laurelwood approaches.

As we reflect on this Thanksgiving weekend, it is amazing to recount how much our grassroots effort has yielded in a single year (a few notable references below), though obviously much remains to be done and we need our supporters to remain engaged in our battle.
  • Financial and security assessment of the plan (i.e. what should have been included in the EIS) signed into the Fiscal 2010 U.S. Defense Authorization Act through bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress (Senators Menendez and Lautenberg) and the House of Representatives (Chris Smith, Rush Holt, Norman Dicks-WA)
  • Amendments to be introduced by Senator Beck and assembly members Casagrande and O'Scanlon in the coming weeks that would require a study by the NJ State Treasurer (this is why we need you to soon return your white NOPE postcards to your NOPE contacts and for supporters to attend our lobbying effort in Trenton, date TBA)
  • Media coverage and "pro-NOPE" editorials by the boards of the Asbury Park Press and Greater Media Newspapers, plus TV pieces aired on News 12 and My 9 News
  • Backing of Monmouth County Freeholders and Colts Neck and Tinton Falls leaders
  • Thousands of signatures from area residents in support of NOPE
  • Successful rallies, community briefings
  • Viable analysis by NOPE leadership, proving the merits of our security, financial and environmental concerns about putting 300 families of renters on a secure, strategically significant military weapons facility (to date, no one has been able to refute the cost estimates, contract analysis, etc., put forth by NOPE's leadership team)

In sum, NOPE continues to prove an extremely valuable community effort, and anyone who has taken part in any function of the organization is to be thanked for their participation. As we approach the upcoming religious holidays, we ask our supporters to keep the pedal to the metal and keep up the good work! Your voice does count!

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