Going the way of the update of the Water Supply Master Plan
We will combine three issues today that share common themes, with quick commentary based on news reports.
Christie Seeks To Kill Obama EPA Climate rules
Confirming my post yesterday, both DEP Commissioner Martin and BPU President Mroz revealed their corporate stripes in a political assault on the Obama EPA’s “Clean Energy Plan”. Issued just hours before their assault, my timing was impeccable!
Playing to the Republican primary base, Christie’s DEP Commissioner Martin again compromised the integrity of DEP by politically attacking the Obama EPA climate plan.
The timing of Martin’s letter to EPA, the red meat rhetoric used in the letter, and the high profile press release are strong evidence that the DEP is playing partisan politics to support Governor Christie’s presidential campaign ambitions.
Beyond any doubt, Martin’s words are campaign talking points – ideological red meat for the right:
… Obama administration inappropriately reaching far beyond its legal authority to implement more onerous and burdensome regulations on businesses and state governments alike.
Yet the media uncritically transcribes them without explaining that they reflect a radical right wing view of the historic consensus on federalism under the Constitution and the Clean Air Act and that they flat out contradict the US Supreme Court’s “Massachusetts” decision.
The Christie spin about “burdensome regulations” flat out contradicts the cost-benefit analysis of the EPA proposal, which found huge positive net economic benefits.
BTW, NJ DEP regulated greenhouse gases as “air contaminants” (i.e. pollutants) under NJ’s Air Pollution Control Act way back in 2005, a context that should be part of this story.
Bob Martin’s letter will live in infamy – again on the wrong side of the science and law, he follows Christie Whitman’s legal advisor Bob Fabricant’s infamous legal memo that set back EPA regulation of greenhouse gases by over a decade.
I’ve written about that but very few people know this inside story and the press, by failing to cover it, has given Christie Whitman a pass.
In part as a result of that decade of delay, we very likely have passed irreversible tipping points to runaway climate chaos.
Asset Management: Gone Down The Same Black Hole as The Water Supply Plan Update
Dan Van Abs has a good piece on Asset Management in today’s NJ Spotlight, read the whole thing:
But Van Abs left critical information out of his analysis, as I wrote about last week.
DEP and the NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust rolled out their “Asset Management” initiative years ago. They have touted the effort rhetorically in press releases and legislative testimony, but done very little in implementation.
DEP sent signals that they were planning to implement asset management via exactly the regulatory mandates Mr. Van Abs suggests (with which I agree), but DEP got strong pushback from the private water companies and the public authorities.
As a result, DEP blinked and did the traditional thing: delayed doing anything.
A strategy recommendation from DEP staff is now on DEP Commissioner Martin’s desk.
But based on the DEP staff briefing to the Water Supply Advisory Council last week (a meeting Mr. Van Abs attended) and the industry’s strong opposition to a DEP regulatory approach – coupled with this administration’s animus to regulation, which is particularly rabid with the Gov. on the campaign trail – the initiative is as good as dead – down the same black hole that swallowed the Water Supply Plan Update.
Pollution Worsens Drought Threats to North Jersey Water Supplies
Jim O’Neill at the Bergen Record gets the Passaic basin drought – pollution story wrong again.
He not only commits an error of omission by avoiding the critical issues, but states as a fact that passing flows were set to protect aquatic life, while they in fact were also set to protect public health from pollution in the river from sewage treatment plants.
Here are the two stories he ignores –
- Passaic River Running like An Open Sewer (Again)
- DEP Water Supply Plan Still Buried In Gov. Christie’s Office
Those interested in the history and basis for DEP passing flows, see this excellent technical paper by the NJ Geological Survey:
I will be writing about the implications of this paper soon.