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“Cutting Onerous Regulations”

State House, Trenton, NJ

State House, Trenton, NJ

[Update 11/5/09: lede of today’s NY Times story:

Governor-elect Christopher J. Christie of New Jersey, … said Wednesday that he would move quickly to suspend new regulations on business

I just listened to Governor Elect Chris Christie’s victory speech, where he pledged to “turn Trenton upside down” and, among other things, focus on “cutting onerous regulations“.

As I wrote previously, I believe that these are traditional conservative republican code words for slashing DEP employees and rolling back environmental regulations opposed by corporate business interests.

So, my pledge to you Mr. Christie, is that we will be very closely monitoring what you do at DEP and to the body of environmental and public health protection regulations.

As you move into transition planning (hopefully a transparent and balanced process we volunteer to participate in, but doubt your interest in appointing our expertise), we remind you of some basic facts:

1) taxpayers pay less than 2 tenths of 1% of the State budget to fund the operating budget of DEP. This implements the polluter pays policy. There is no taxpayer savings to be had by further slashing DEP budgets. ONLY 24.7% of DEP’s FY 2009 $230 million operating budget, just $56.81 million, is paid by taxpayers from the state general fund. (read DEP budget here);

2) numerous studies show that the benefits of environmental and health regulation far exceed the costs;

3) numerous studies show that pollution imposes massive public health and ecological costs of NJ residents and the economy;

4)  DEP and enforcement of environmental regulations have had no impact on the current economic recession, which is driven by collapse of the financial system, not “onerous regulations“;

5) many of the programs administered by DEP are federally funded, federally enforceable, and/or delegated. NJ is not currently in compliance with many federal clean air, clean water, safe drinking water, toxic site cleanup, and hazardous waste management requirements; and

6) the people of NJ strongly support enforcement of environmental and public health protections, on a bipartisan basis.

(and the south jersey republicans who called for the elimination of DEP were defeated)

Last, I hope the NJ Environmental Federation was listening closely tonight – and wonder how well they will sleep.

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  1. Abbie Fair
    November 4th, 2009 at 11:42 | #1

    Thank you Bill for detailing the importance and low cost of environmental regulation. DEP has been so debilitated it’s surprising that they’ve been able to implement any of the environmental laws the legislature passed and took credit for.
    It would be great if we could get out ahead of this new administration with a campaign to support environmental regulation as critical to any economic recovery.

  1. November 5th, 2009 at 17:42 | #1
  2. November 7th, 2009 at 10:26 | #2
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