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Christie DEP Slashing Air Pollution Enforcement

In yet another sign of the ill advised polluter friendly deregulatory policy of the Christie Administration, today’s Star Ledger reports that DEP inspections and enforcement of air pollution laws hit a historic low in the first year of the Christie Administration:

Decline in N.J. pollution control raises environmental concern


Trenton – State scrutiny of air polluters ranging from oil refineries to neighborhood dry cleaners slipped during the past decade, according to a Star-Ledger review.

Statistics show that while oversight of New Jersey smokestacks often fluctuated during the decade, inspections, investigations and enforcement all hit lows in 2010.

Department of Environmental Protection numbers show that from fiscal year 2001 to fiscal year 2010:

•Routine inspections of air polluters decreased 65 percent, from 1,387 to 490.

•Surprise investigations, often spurred by complaints, fell 40 percent, from 1,027 to 621.

•Actions taken against polluters breaking the law fell 25 percent, from 984 to 739.

•Staffing for air pollution enforcement dropped 19 percent, from 75 people to 61 people.

Kudos to the Ledger for doing real journalism and reviewing DEP documents, instead of rehashing DEP press release spin.

Let’s hope this blood in the water is expanded to look at the Christie/Martin rollbacks in virtually all DEP programs – and show how those polluter friendly policies harm public health and environmental protection – and that Democrats in the Legislature intervene to start holding the Governor accountable for these policies by conducting oversight hearings to assure that NJ’s strong environmental laws are strictly enforced.

(hint: lots of skeletons in this closet)

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