Friday, June 20, 2008

Big Brown feces to Pollute the Shrewsbury River, Earn $100,000 for his Contribution

In case I haven't already been accused of beating the dead horse into the ground over Monmouth Park's role in polluting the Shewsbury River, I'm now hearing news that Big Brown will be coming to Monmouth Park in August to add to the horse feces already polluting the river. Even better, it appears that Monmouth Park will be paying Big Brown's handler's $100,000 as a bonus for coming to town, a bonus that sure would go a long way in paying that 2 year old unpaid $35,000 fine and cover some of the cost of an improved waste management system.

To set the record straight, I'm glad that Big Brown is coming to town. I'm not a fan of horse racing but I recognize the name and I know that having a Big Brown appearance at the track means a large crowd which hopefully means some people will stick around the area for a while, spend some money at the local small businesses (I highly recommend the Brazilian Rodezio Grill on Oceanport Ave across 36 from the track), maybe even stay at a hotel in the area (Big Pimpin' at the Holiday Inn). Generally, the track and the business that the track brings to other businesses in the area is great. I even moved in down the street from Monmouth Park because I like being close to attractions, sure being as close as I am adds to the cost of property but it adds to resale value as well, the last thing I want as a property owner is for Monmouth Park to close shop.

However, as a tax payer, I'm very concerned about the amount of MY tax money that the DEP spends to monitor the pollution coming from Monmouth Park rather than addressing the problem. I also don't want MY money given away to Monmouth Park through some grant so that the problem can be resolved while Monmouth Park apparently has $100,000 to give away as a "bonus" to a horse.

Further, as a human, I've very concerned about the amount of pollution in the river from Monmouth Park, and the duration that the pollution has been permitted - going on two full years. I used to allow my puppy to swim in the river, but can no longer do so. I used to launch my Kayak from the boat launch but can no longer do so. I used to fish in the river but can no longer do so. My ability to enjoy a river than is "protected" as a federal waterway has been diminished while the track apparently makes money, DEP turns a blind eye while using MY tax money to operate and local politicians fear Monmouth Park closing and the loss of revenue from the park more than they fear the health risks to us humans who try to use the river.

Being a good neighbor in terms of profits for area business and entertainment for race fans is not an excuse for pollution. If you or I decided to go dump raw sewage in the river, we'd not only be fined, but imprisoned for polluting a federal waterway.

Despite repeated phone calls and emails to the NJ DEP and the Governor's office, it doesn't appear that anyone at the state level is interested in getting involved and stopping the pollution. Frank "Mr. Environment" Pallone sent a weak letter to the track's owners about a year ago and forgot about the problem. In good news, it sounds like our Freeholders are proud of the horse racing industry in Monmouth County, maybe I'll give them a call?

It's easy to point the finger at the do-nothing Democrats in Trenton and their do-nothing DEP, but it doesn't help when the Republicans in Freehold aren't addressing the problem either and I doubt the City of Long Branch, West Long Branch or Oceanport have the funds or authority to do anything about the problem other than post the danger signs. The solution seems simple - move the stables away from the river, build a better "first flush" waste management system and advance past the 1960s design of the site. Costly? Sure. But if I was in the business of making lead paint, I'd of been forced to change my business, at my expense.

No comments: