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Christie Clean Air Cave Reveals Ideology


Christie is refusing to support enforcement of a 1997 Clean Air standard the even the Bush EPA said was too weak and would not protect public health.

I don’t have a lot of time this morning to do this set of issues justice, but I wanted to note a few key points that are revealed by Governor Christie’s announcement that he would NOT join a state lawsuit in support of EPA Clean Air Act regulations.

(for story, see Star Ledger: Gov. Christie wants no part of federal effort to restrict power plants in other states

1. Christie is an ideologue and liar.

Christie today defends his decision by this bold claim:

The Republican governor’s decision comes on the final day the state could join the suit, and four days after criticizing the federal agency for “over-reaching” and “stifling” economic growth.

He said he preferred not to further empower the federal government.

“Instead of participating in lawsuits just for the sake of appearances and giving the illusion of action, we are making a real difference in the fight against the most polluting power plants in the nation,” he said.

But Christie’s decision was not based on facts and the bests interests of New Jersey.

Although it is part of a larger current national republican attack on EPA “overreach” and “job killing regulations”, Christie’s decision is purely ideological and was announced during the campaign.

Watch Christie on YouTube brag that he will challenge Obama EPA regulations.

I wrote about and predicted this conflict over 2 years ago see: New Obama EPA Administrator plants flag in NJ

Christie also has slashed DEP air pollution enforcement.

And if Christie is looking for the causes of the economic collapse and lack of economic growth, instead of repeating the Big Lie and scapegoating environmental protection, perhaps  he should read the Report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

The fault lies not in environmental or any other regulation, but failure to enforce them!

But perhaps most revealing of the Governor’s character and worst of all, Christie sought to mask this ideology and dirty air record by issuing a press release touting his alleged clean air accomplishments, as follows:

The Christie Administration also has taken other decisive action to curb emissions and protect the state’s air:

  • Issued an executive order to reduce diesel emissions at construction sites.

[FactEO #60 establishes a tiny pilot program in the Department of Transportation for just one publicly funded project. It is a joke and will not produce measurable emissions reductions. It is simply a PR stunt and part of NJEF political cover to create the appearance that Christie is doing something.

In addition, Christie issued several other Executive Orders that weaken numerous environmental requirements, and establish a radical policy to rollback NJ’s standards to federal minimums.

  • Adopted rule requiring significant reductions in sulfur content for home heating oil.

[Fact – Christie is taking credit for a Corzine Administration rule. Worse, Christie delayed adoption of the rule under the moratorium established by EO #1 and the cost benefit/federal consistency review under “regulatory relief” EO #4. I wrote about it in detail here and here.

  • Moved ahead aggressively with a first-in-the-nation grant program to help finance replacement of dry cleaning machines that use harmful chemicals, helping to remove thousands of pounds of pollutants from the air.

[Fact: Christie actually abandoned DEP proposed regulations of the dry cleaner industry and instead provided subsidies to these polluters. I wrote about that in detail here: DEP abandons toxic chemical phase out regulation – instead pays polluters to pollute

  • Committed to a policy of not allowing new coal-fired power plants in New Jersey, ensuring additional generation comes from clean energy sources.

[Fact: No one is seeking to build new coal power plants in NJ. The PurGen CCS project in Linden was killed by lack of private financing and failure to secure huge billion dollar subsides in Obama’s Cap/Trade legislation. But the Christie Energy Master Plan promotes highly polluting garbage incineration and new fossil fuel power. see: Christie Abrupt about far on green power

  • Committed to cleaner renewable energy, including a major commitment to solar energy, making New Jersey first in the nation for installed solar capacity.

[Fact: Christie has engaged in an across the board assault on NJ’s Global Warming Response Act , diverted over $400 million of clean energy funds to support his tax cuts, reduced NJ’s renewable energy goals, abandoned RGGI, and is slashing supports for solar. The horrible Christie record is too extensive to document here.

  • Accelerated development of offshore wind projects to speed creation of wind turbines that will generate cleaner energy.

2. NJEF endorsement helped create the Christie Monster

NJ Environmental Federation (NJEF) knew – or should have known – that Christie was an anti-environmental, anti-regulatory, conservative ideologue.

Yet they endorsed him anyway.

The NJEF continuing failure to publicly revoke this endorsement – particularly in light of his record since – is stunningly  scandalous.

3. EPA Clean Air regulations are modest, at best

Ironically, without going into the wonky technical details here, the EPA regulation in question is modest, at best.

It is called the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. EPA even admits this by stating:

With the inclusion of these states, a total of 26 states would be required to reduce ozone-season NOX emissions to assist in attaining the 1997 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

So lets repeat: The EPA rule is based on attainment of the outdated and under-protective EPA 1997 ozone NAAQS –

This is the ozone standard that even the Bush Administration rejected and ratcheted down.

Recall that the Obama EPA said the Bush ozone standard was too weak and not scientifically or legally supportable – for details on all that jive, sees this and this and this.

Christie is refusing to support enforcement of a standard that the even the Bush EPA said was too weak and would not protect public health.

And that is disgraceful.

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