Beyond Drinking the Kool-Aid
Man in green tie – no irony – is Dave Glass, Deputy Commissioner of the Christie DEP
Unlike his boss DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, DEP Deputy Commissioner Dave Glass is a nice guy. Really.
But just like his boss, Glass is unqualified – by training, knowledge, and experience – to hold that position.
I ran across Mr. Glass as he was standing in line, waiting to enter the Christie Presidential Campaign kickoff at Livingston High School.
Just after I photographed him, he stepped out of the line and came over to chat.
I assumed it would be small talk, perhaps just a classy gesture on his part to greet a vigorous opponent.
So as I shook his hand, I mumbled some small talk about the weather…
I was surprised that he immediately initiated and aggressively engaged a policy debate. He replied in an accusatory tone (close paraphrase):
“So you think we’re not doing enough on flooding?
We’re doing lots of buyouts – in comparison, NY City is doing nothing.
I assumed he must have been reacting so strongly due to my recent testimony opposing the DEP Flood Hazard rule or to this recent post - maybe they hit a nerve.
I shot back with “but you’re doing all those buyouts inland, and nothing on the coast”.
In response, Glass shifted gears, and responded as if he were slamming the trump card on the table and wanting to yell Booyah!:
We adopted the 1 foot flood elevation standard in the emergency rule
Say what? I couldn’t believe my ears. Glass was taking credit for that?
Could Glass actually not know that the Lisa Jackson DEP issued that standard in a 2007 Flood Hazard rule?
That DEP did that as a conservative move in response to climate change driven sea level rise, something Gov. Christie has called an “esoteric issue” he had no time for?
Did Glass think that I didn’t know that? Did he think I wouldn’t challenge him? Or is he just used to talking to sycophants who take his word for it?
Are you kidding me.
I delicately told Glass that he was mistaken, that the 1 foot “free board” elevation standard was adopted by the Corzine DEP, but Glass insisted that his Christie DEP had done so.
Two or three times Glass insisted he was right, that the emergency rule enacted that standard.
I kept telling him he was flat out wrong – he finally conceded and put his tail between his legs. As he walked away, he mumbled something like “Yeah, I’m not going to argue with you – you know this stuff”, and got back on the Christie campaign line.
Poor guy, he’s in so far over his head that he’s come to actually believe the lies.
And I hope he took a personal day and asked the ethics officer to review his attendance at this political event.
Since it appears that Mr. Glass reads Wolfenotes, here’s the facts he must not be getting from his DEP staff regarding the history of the 1 foot elevation standard, in DEP’s own words:
The Department recognizes that sea level rise is a concern and will continue to evaluate necessary measures to address the effects of sea level rise. The Department promulgated new Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13, in November 2007. These rules require new structures, roadways, and parking areas to be elevated 1 foot above the regulatory flood elevation. Under the rules, the Department exerts jurisdiction over tidally flooded areas and therefore this standard applies in areas subject to tidal flooding. The elevation requirement provides a safeguard against the potential effects of sea level rise. (@ p. 57)
And here it is again, in a different DEP regulatory document:
RESPONSE: The Department acknowledges that sea levels may rise in the future. However, there is no agreement in the scientific community regarding how quickly or by how much sea levels will rise. The requirements for new buildings to be set back from the top of bank and to have a lowest floor at least one foot above the flood hazard area design flood elevation will provide some protection against a sea level rise for these structures. In absence of conclusive data on which to base substantive standards, the Department believes that general permit 7 will adequately provide for the protection of the environment and the public safety, health and general welfare. If sea levels do indeed rise in the future, this will have the effect of raising the flood hazard area design flood elevation for future construction. (@ p. 359)
Sometimes, little thing are quite revealing.