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“A Law Without Enforcement Has Little Meaning”

A law without enforcement has little meaning.

Although I strongly agree with them, those words are not mine, but ironically come from a property rights radical and ardent opponent of the NJ Highlands Act named Debra Post.

But Post does not spout the irrelevant ramblings of a radical right wing disgruntled landowner – she was published today in an Op-Ed in the Morris Daily Record, the home turf of the Christie Administration.

So let’s examine Post’s arguments, because they so clearly lay out the massive threat posed by the new Christie Administration.

Christie, by the way, just announced that Marcia Karrow, a Hunterdon County legislator and another vigorous opponent of the Highlands Act and DEP regulations, will chair the transition team’s environment subcommittee.

How much more writing needs to be on the wall before the Trenton based environmental lobbyists wake up and engage?

The environmental threat posed by the Christie agenda was just doubled by the announcement of Marcia Karrow’s role overseeing the DEP transition (see this for an example of Karrow’s policy wisdom and these bills she sponsored: 1) an overt attempt to gut DEP rulemaking or 2) this radical property rights bill or 3) the Polluters Defense Act) or 4) this all out attack on the Highlands Act, the Council and DEP regulations: 0r 5) repeal of core elements of the Highlands Act and DEP water regulations; or 6) farmers water giveaway (and I left out lots of other crazy right wing stuff, like mandating English as the “official” state language, restoring the death penalty, expanding gun rights, radical property rights,  attacks on urban NJ and public employees and dysfunctional California minority rule.)

But enough on Marcia Karrow – let’s back to Post’s arguments.

Here’s where Post’s arguments align perfectly with Christie’s stated policy agenda and promise to impose a moratorium on regulations. Post wrote:

“Christie has promised that his first executive action would be to freeze all recent regulations and assemble a task force, led by his lieutenant governor, to review the ridiculous reams of rules issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies that have an economic death stranglehold on our state.

A suspension of the Highlands DEP regulations removes all teeth from the Highlands Act and will jump start much-needed economic activity in northwestern New Jersey.” (see:  Independence lives up to its name

Perhaps, given that they’ve appointed a radical as chair of environmental transition, the Christie team will next announce that Debra Post is the Director of Communications – they should, because Post so clearly presents the radical anti-environmental agenda championed thus far by the Christie administration.

I am sure that Marcia Karrow – and many powerful Morris County Republicans are listening and shares those views, such as:

Freeholder Jack Schrier, vice chairman of the New Jersey Highlands Council, said he’d be “thrilled” to be of service to the new administration. He talked about the need for more flexibility in dealing with building applications in the Highlands, among other things. [link to full story]

One would think that my fellow environmental advocates would recognize the nature of this threat, and at least have the courage to call a spade a spade. But no, they have a more favorable view:

” Slow to act on a long list of appointments, departing Gov. Jon Corzine has effectively handed Gov.-elect Chris Christie a chance to reshape the membership and even the direction of the Highlands Council, which controls development in the water-rich region spanning seven northern New Jersey counties. …

“We are not so much concerned about Christie as we are those close to him,” said Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club. “The night of his election celebration in Parsippany, one person in the back of the room yelled, “Get rid of the Highlands.” Because of Jon Corzine’s failure, Christie will have more of an impact on the make-up of the Highlands Council than anyone since the Highlands Act was passed.” (see Star Ledger: Highlands Fate Uncertain with Council Seats Open

So let’s recap what’s happened thus far and connect the dots to understand the comprehensive nature of the threat:

1. Christie campaigned on an aggressively pro-business agenda. This included promises to slash DEP’s budget and dismantle DEP programs, while using slogans to bash “bureaucracy” and “over-regulation”, which he claimed (with no factual support) were killing the economy;

2. Christie vowed to fight with the Obama EPA over policy, revealing a radical state’s right’s approach to federal oversight:

3. Within hours of being elected, Christie promised to impose a moratorium on regulations and rollback state mandates;

4. Within days of being elected, Christie betrayed one of his few pro-environmental campaign promises by refusing to support cooling towers at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant which is killing aquatic life in Barnegat Bay;

5. The Christie transition team solicited “horror stories” on regulations at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast in order to provide ammo to support the upcoming rollbacks;

6. Christie appointed his Lieutenant Governor to Chair a “Red Tape” review process, which is “by invitation only”;

7. Christie appointed a fierce opponent of the Highlands Act and DEP regulations to chair his environmental transition committee

A closing note for my enviro friends in Trenton:

And though my lack of education
Hasn’t hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall

~~~~ “Kodachrome” Paul Simon

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