The Blimp of the Perverse
Apologies to Mr. Poe, but in reading about Governor Christie’s latest (predicted here) attack on environmental protections (i.e. Executive Order #78), I think I’ve discovered the spirit that animates our morbidly obese Governor:
We stand upon the brink of a precipice. We peer into the abyss – we grow sick and dizzy. Our first impulse is to shrink away from the danger. Unaccountably we remain… it is but a thought, although a fearful one, and one which chills the very marrow of our bonesÂ with the fierceness of the delight of its horror. It is merely the idea of what would be our sensations during the sweeping precipitancy of a fall from such a height… for this very cause do we now the most vividly desire it. …
Examine them and and similar actions … we shall find them resulting solely from the spirit of the Perverse. We perpetrate them merely because we feel that we should not. Beyond or behind this, there is no intelligible principle.
Beyond that, the case is made – no need to wallow in the details of the latest Christie perversity.
All I can say is that the Christie Administration is absolutely perverse in how they design and implement their rollback agenda.
They use the tools and the rhetoric of environmental protection and regional planning, but they DO the opposite to promote economic growth and rollback protections.
The reactionary policy has been clear since the Gov.’s first day in office, when he issued 4 Executive Orders, all targeted on rolling back environmental protections.
Just one point Tom Johnson makes in his story to illustrate – Â the landscape project. Well here’s the Christie DEP Transition Report recommendation:
“Immediately suspend the inappropriate use of the Landscape Project mapping of purported Threatened and Endangered species habitat. “
[Update - forgot to excerpt the Christie Plan language:
The intent of the State Plan Policy Map was to give the goals and policies of the State Plan a geographic context. The State Plan Policy Map became a land use regulation tool as a result of the current linkages between the State Plan and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations for â€•planning areasâ€– and â€•centers.â€– As a result, insufficient consideration is given to essential local and regional planning priorities such as public facilities, affordable housing and economic growth. A perfect example is that the highly-criticized DEP â€•Blueprint for Intelligent Growth (BIG Map)â€™â€– lives within the current DEP Water Quality Management (WQM) regulations. In cross acceptance, DEP negotiated for revisions to the Policy Map to reflect data relied on in its WQM regulations, seeking to position flawed data (for example, DEPâ€™s Landscape Project) above local and regional planning priorities. (page 18)
Why is there any DOUBT at this point about the perversity of the Christie agenda?- why are critics called "skeptics"?
I've documented all this for over a year now. All predicted - see this, among many others.
Maybe PlansmartNJ and others who support this move should just read the Executive Order #78 BEFORE they back the Governor?
[Update - below is the sole policy objective expressed in Chrisitie's EO 78 - it is exclusively promotion of economic development and does not reflect the balance of competing interests that is mandated by the State Planning Act.
As such, the Christie Plan is another example of Executive usurpation of the Legislative policymaking role.
The Christie plan is also an unconstitutional power grab, by consolidating power in the Lt. Governor's Office. The Lt. Governor is provided power to over-ride State agency functional plans that are adopted pursuant to legislative policies, e..g the DEP Water Quality Management Plan, and several others I've previously written about. See: Christie Regulatory Czar Consolidates Power).
In addition to the powers outlined in the EO 78, the Christie Administration tips their hand in the State Plan.
Environmentalists have long opposed the concept that the State Plan could over-ride DEP decisions and DEP regulations, which are promulgated pursuant to environmental laws. The State Planning Act does not amend or repeal any environmental law.
The Christie State Plan would impose exactly the long opposed usurpation of State Plan.
Note how this issue is buried in calls for Â "horizontal and vertical integration" and "breaking down silos". Â Those are code for subordinating DEP regulations and institutional independence to economic objectives and the whim of the Lt. Governor:
Success will also require strong leadership and effective coordination. Implementation will be driven from the Executive Branch through a cabinet-level Steering Committee. Effective coordination will result from horizontal and vertical integration that breaks down silos, provides cross-cutting engagement and leverages public and private resources for strategic alignment of policies, people and dollars. The State Planning Commission will continue to perform its duties as described in N.J.S.A. 52:18A-199. [...]
Alignment of State government is a critical duty of the Executive Branch. Leadership on this issue will come from the top. The Governor and Lt. Governor should take appropriate actions requiring each relevant Department and/or Agency to develop strategies that integrate the mission, vision, goals, objectives of this Plan into:
- ï‚§ Program and rule changes;
- ï‚§ Annual capital spending plans;
- ï‚§ Intra and inter-agency coordination efforts; and
- ï‚§ Staff training regarding the role of this Strategic Plan, Guiding Principles and Garden State Values within program delivery.
Therefore, the Legislature should intervene, hold hearings, and reject the Plan as inconsistent with Legislative intent.
WHEREAS, after the SPC adopts a new State Plan, the Executive Branch has the responsibility to lead this coordination and drive the Stateâ€™s implementation of the new State Plan, thereby reducing onerous and burdensome red tape, improving efficiency, and strategically spurring targeted economic growth;