Polluters Design Privatized Toxic Cleanup Program In Secret
By Invitation Only – Privatization Run Amok
Last year, Governor Corzine signed legislation that privatized NJ’s Toxic Site Cleanup Program. That new law placed control of the “cleanup” of over 18,000 toxic sites throughout NJ in the hands of Â industry consultants under what is known as the Licensed Site Professionals (LSP) program.
DEP is NOW developing final regulationsÂ to implement that law. Polluters opposed DEP interim regulations, which were adopted without any public comment. Interim rules were adopted under an expedited provision in the law designed to give DEP control over the technical content of the program. DEP control over the cleanup program regulations was intended to assure program integrity and compensate for the fact that the LSP lawÂ surrendered direct DEP oversight of cleanups.
Now that polluters have gotten the law privatized, they are pressuring DEP to gut the regulations – and the Christie DEP is playingÂ rightÂ alongÂ withÂ them.
For all you need to know about the values, ethics of DEP Managers who run the LSP program, and policy priorities that informed the design of that program, read this NY Times story: Memo Shows Agency Knew of Danger in Child Care Building and this more recent blog post: Â “According to DEP: Real Estate Value Trump Public Right TO Know About Nearby Toxic Â Sites”
We predict that environmental, health, and financial disasters are now in the works, as LSP privateÂ consultantsÂ with huge economic conflictsÂ of interest cut cornersÂ andÂ sacrificeÂ public health for privateÂ corporateÂ bottom line profits. LSP’s will have very strong incentives to cut costs in order to maintain clients and market their firms as consultants thatÂ representÂ industry interests – which are to minimize cleanup costs and maximize profits.
But now, DEP has gone even beyond the legislature with promotion of privatization at the expense and exclusion of public interests.
Despite the need for MORE public involvement to oversee the privatized toxic site cleanup program, amazingly, DEP has nowÂ privatized the process for developing regulations, standards, and scientific protocols to implement the new privatized program.
DEP has formed severalÂ committees to write the new LSP toxic site cleanup programÂ requirements. TheseÂ committeesÂ areÂ composed exclusively, (as far as we know, because membersÂ andÂ those invited have not beenÂ disclosedÂ by DEP), of private consultants, polluters, and industryÂ lobbyists. There are no public meetings scheduled.
Perhaps worse, those meetings are by invitationÂ onlyÂ andÂ closed to the publicÂ andÂ the press! So they will doÂ their dirty business inÂ theÂ dark – so much for Governor Christie’s InauguralÂ Day promise of a “new era of accountabilityÂ andÂ transparency”!
TheÂ privateÂ consultantsÂ are nowÂ writingÂ the technical requirements for the private program – that’s the fox designing theÂ hen-house, building it, hiringÂ the guards and not letting the hen-house owner even know about any of it! (with a fig leaf of web “transparency“)
Here are the essential public health and environmental protections now being written for that program –
Site Remediation Steering Committee Meeting: Invitation only
July 21, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 12 Noon
August 18, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 12 Noon
September 15, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 12 Noon
October 20, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 12 Noon
November 17, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 12 Noon
December 15, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 12 Noon
Near-Term Priorities Committee: Invitation only
July 13, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 12 Noon.Â Meeting is usually scheduled one month ahead.
Measures of Success Committee: Invitation only
July 20, 2010, 9:00 a.m. -12:00 Noon
August 17, 2010, 9:00 a.m. -12:00 Noon
September 21, 2010, 9:00 a.m. -12:00 Noon
October 19, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
November 16, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
December 21, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
Technical Guidance Committees: Invitation only
- Presumptive Remedies, June 21, 2010, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
- Ecological Evaluation, June 23, 2010, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
- Vapor Intrusion, June 24, 2010, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
- Alternate/Clean Fill, June 28, 2010, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
- Compliance/Attainment, June 30, 2010, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
- Natural Remediation, June 30, 2010, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
- Conceptual Site Model, July 14, 2010, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Technical Regulations Committee: Invitation only
June 29, 2010, 8:30 -10:30 a.m.
July 28, 2010, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.
August 20, 2010, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
September 23, 2010, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
October 20, 2010, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
November 15, 2010, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
December 13, 2010, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Unprecedented – totallyÂ outrageous – and completely unacceptable. (even WORSE than my state police escort out of a recent DEP meeting, and that was a disgrace).
We urge the Legislators who sponsored and approved the LSP law to contact Commissioner Martin and demand that theseÂ meetingsÂ beÂ openÂ to the publicÂ andÂ thatÂ environmentalÂ and public healthÂ interestsÂ are fully represented.
Financial and technical assistance should be provided to publicÂ interestÂ group representation, as those groups lack resources and expertise to effectivelyÂ participate,Â andÂ are no match forÂ industryÂ hired guns.
Letting the polluters design the regulatoryÂ requirements -Â includingÂ DEP oversightÂ andÂ public involvement – for a privatizedÂ toxic siteÂ cleanupÂ program is a formula forÂ certainÂ disaster.
Here’s my letter requesting legislative oversight: