BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Ted Glick, the Bloomfield activist who is part of a 14-day “climate fast” group in Trenton seeking to prevent approval of construction permits for natural gas facilities, said the group has been contacted by the deputy chief of staff of Gov. Phil Murphy and asked for a meeting and documentation of their concerns.
Glick spoke at his Broughton Avenue residence on Saturday, Nov. 17, while continuing his water-only fast. He has been spending the weekdays in Trenton picketing and handing out fliers at the governor’s office and the state capitol building since Wednesday, Nov. 7. On one day, he confronted Murphy prior to a speaking engagement by the governor. The climate fast is scheduled to end today, Wednesday, Nov. 21. The protest has been covered by NJTV and The Star-Ledger. Glick, sometimes the lone protester, has lost 20 pounds.
Recalling his weekdays in Trenton, Glick said on the first day of the fast, a group of 20 protesters went to the governor’s office building. In the lobby they were told by State Police officers everyone but three had to leave. Glick was one of the three to remain. They were met by a member of Murphy’s staff who told them he would pass their concerns up the chain of command. The next day, Thursday, Nov. 8, Glick learned that Murphy’s deputy chief of staff, Deborah Cornavaca, was going to organize a meeting between the protesters and members of the governor’s staff. On Friday, Nov. 9, the following day, he spoke with Murphy.
“We heard he was going to be speaking at Princeton to environmental organizations,” Glick said. “About 15 to 20 of us decided to go there.”
No protesters remained in Trenton.
“We had found out he was scheduled to speak at 9:15 a.m.,” he continued. “We got there at 8:30 a.m. and started posting people with signs.
The group figured Murphy would enter the building from the rear. Glick and another person posted themselves there. Three SUVs entered the rear parking area.
“We were right,” Glick said.
He ran toward the SUVs “Five security guys were screening the governor,” he continued. “They told me to leave, it was private property. I told them I couldn’t and started calling out to the governor. He started walking past me and security kept screening me. The governor said it was OK.”
Glick said he told Murphy that what he has been doing as governor for the environment as has been good. Murphy is an advocate of wind-generate power to help decrease a reliance on fossil fuels.
“But you can’t take away with one hand and give with the other,” he told Murphy, who continued walking.
Murphy asked Glick what he meant and was told that there were 11 natural gas infrastructure permits before the Department of Environmental Protection that should not be approved. In an Internet posted recording, Glick can be seen walking nearly beside the governor.
“He actually said he hasn’t approved any infrastructure project,” Glick said. “That struck me. It seemed an absolute statement.”
Glick said he did not understand what Murphy meant. He knew some minor permits had been granted.
“Ted, be careful, take care of yourself,” Murphy called out as he entered a building.
“Don’t worry about me,” Glick said. “Worry about the planet and the state.”
Murphy ducked his head out and said he was concerned.
On Tuesday, Nov. 13, a group including Glick went to the governor’s office to keep the pressure on. This time the State Police said only two could remain. Glick was not one of them, but he said the two were met by Cornavaca. She said higher members of the governor’s staff would like a December meeting with the protesters and also in-depth documentation of the their goals.
“When the two people came out, we agreed to move forward,” Glick said. “Someone is working on the document. We’ll get it to the deputy chief by the end of the month.”
Among the organizations involved in the current fast are the Food and Water Watch; the NJ Industrial Union Council; Green Faith; and 350 New Jersey. Glick is retired from Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a Maryland-based environmental advocacy group, where he was national campaign coordinator. He said the fast is helping to build a movement of people concerned with fossil fuels, natural gas and global warming.
“During the last couple of months, major, statewide environmental groups have been trying to form a coalition on fossil fuel infrastructure,” he said. “Last week, they had their first in-person meeting.”