Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Many thanks, again, to NOPE supporters!

Although outgoing Senate President Dick Codey failed to heed our numerous phone calls and emails to do what was right for NJ taxpayers and post S3017 for a vote yesterday in front of the full Senate, yesterday's outreach by the NOPE community was a clear showing of the wealth of support for our grassroots cause and the rational view that New Jerseyans deserve a financial analysis of proposed civilian housing at Naval Weapons Station Earle.

In addition, the measure we support and need is far from finished.

Accordingly to the NJ legislature website, S3017/A4159 was merely "tabled" for the next legislative session, which according to the legislature website glossary, simply means the bill is deferred, which augurs well for eventual passage, considering it has already passed committees in both New Jersey's House and Senate. (Type in "S3017" in the yellow bill number box on the right side of the legislature website...in the yellow-highlighted area.)

In short, protestation against the bill is short-sighted and mindless. The legislature simply wants to have the State Treasurer do a study that lays out the security and financial impact to New Jerseyans of an unfunded federal mandate that NOPE calculates could cost all stakeholders (and especially the towns neighboring Earle) a half-billion dollars from 2010-2040. The bill does nothing to stop or alter the Department of Navy's foolhardy plan to open its base to anyone that can cut a rent check. That, as anyone like us who has spent the time reading thru all of the Navy's regulatory literature on the issue (i.e. the Laurelwood EIS), is for the Navy and its Washington-based developer, Laurelwood Homes, LLC, to decide.

NOPE continues to stress that the ongoing federal study by the GAO, combined with eventual separate discoveries from the state's Treasurer, will make clearer to all parties that, in this case, the Department of Navy is in the wrong about what to do with its vacant Laurelwood housing.


Anonymous said...

And if the Navy decides to go ahead despite all the actions, then what?? I had heard from a former Fed employee that the Dept of the Navy was almost independent..

Bill Holobowski said...

Well, we suspect that the GAO's analysis and, hopefully, the State Treasurer's separate study will show the Navy that, financially, for itself, the wisest move will be to reverse course. It's just too bad they didn't accept the reported $29 million contract buyout offer back in 2002, since they've paid out as much to the developer in rents already anyway (and are potentially on the hook for more, contrary to what the Navy alleges). We'll see. If they DO go ahead with their plan, we're talking about a PR nightmare for the DoN and diminished anonymity of the base, exposing it as an even more-prominent target to potential terrorists.