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DEP Commissioner Martin Called to Testify Tomorrow

[Update 5/13/10: here is my pre-hearing setup post on similar 2008 Lisa Jackson “priorities” check out the top 10 issues. And here is the post hearing coverage of Jackson’s performance]

Both the Senate and Assembly Environment Committees have “invited” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin to testify tomorrow about “the state’s environmental priorities for 2010″.

This is diplomatic code for oversight hearings on the Christie Administration’s environmental policy.

I have written about numerous aspects of that policy here for months and several issues have been covered in the news media as well. And there is a track record from the Administration itself, including:

1) the Transition Reports (see this and this and this)

2) the Executive Orders (see this and this)

3) the Red Tape Review Report (see this and this)

4) the budget (see this and this)

5) actual DEP decisions (e.g. request for stay in the Highlands septic density Farm Bureau litigation; killing the perchlorate drinking water standard; ongoing “stakeholder” meetings; DEP reorganization; Administrative Order extending WQMP implementation; limiting public access to the shore, running away from Oyster Creek cooling tower commitment, pending appointments to the DEP Science Advisory Board, et al).

6) dangerous rollback legislation moving

So there is no shortage of information out there.

It is critically important that both Chairmen and Committee members hear support for strong environmental protection from the public (and not just the usual Trenton suspects) so they can understand the many issues now engaged by the Christie Administration and where we think they are going (in the wrong direction).

These are the environmental committees, so we have an expectation of some leadership, issue advocacy, and oversight accountability.

It is vital that these hearings result in real substantive oversight of Martin’s policies, and not become another platform for the same Kabuki Martin offered during confirmation and budget hearings.

For information and positive alternatives, see: Ten Questions the Senate Should Ask Martin and Metrics for Martin and Senate Dems Blast Christie Global Warming Cuts and DEP’s Abandonment of Perchlorate Drinking Water Standard

It is also very important that the pretexts that the economic recession and fiscal crisis require environmental rollbacks not be allowed to be asserted without some pushback and demand for supporting evidence.

It is also important that the hearings interrogate the repeated claims that the Administration is committed to strong environmental standards and protections, but is merely “reducing red tape” and “streamlining the bureaucracy”.

Here are links to the Committee membership and contact info:

Senate Environment and Energy (10:00 am)

Assembly Environment and Solid Waste (2:00 pm)

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