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Senate Dem Grills DEP Commissioner Martin

Martin Admits to Outsourcing Drinking Water Standards 

Says He’s “Parked” the Long Overdue Water Supply Master Plan

Reveals Failure to Upgrade C1 Waters – Signals Pending Rollbacks

Perhaps invoking “The Jersey Comeback” – another slogan – multiple times in his testimony was the last straw.

Or maybe it was the diversion of over $680 million in Clean Energy Funds.

DEP Commissioner Bob Martin (file photo, but he may have had the same suit and tie on yesterday!)

Or using the “Barnegat Bay blitz” volunteer litter cleanup event as cover for the Governor’s vetoes of the Barnegat Bay storm water and Clean Water Act’s TMDL bills – legislation that would have put real teeth and funding in Bay cleanup efforts.

Or the gall of calling renewable energy “critical to the future of NJ” and touting a “strong commitment” to renewable energy, while Governor Christie’s Energy Master Plan:1) reduces NJ’s renewable goals from 30% to 22.5%; 2) imposes a “cost test” and policy to “eliminate subsides” that have undermined the solar marketplace; and 3) promotes cheap natural gas and sweetheart deals for gas pipelines that have destroyed the economics of renewables, while the Christie BPU drags its feet on ORECs, which has slowed offshore wind investments;.

Or the portrayal of the Governor’s voluntary Barnegat Bay plan as a “model” and alternative to enforcing the Clean Water Act.

Or the utter hypocrisy of Martin’s emphasis on the “moral responsibility” to disproportionately and overburdened urban communities, while doing jack shit on cumulative impact standards and environmental justice.

Or the unilateral RGGI exit – or the waiver  rule – or the Highlands fiascoes.

Whatever. Take your pick. But Martin’s bullshit finally did not work.

Because today, DEP Commissioner Bob Martin finally faced some tough legislative oversight questions during the Senate Budget Committee hearing on Governor Christie FY’13 proposed DEP budget.

The Democratic Senator who grew a spine was Linda Greenstein (D-Mercer). Greenstein is a moderate who is Vice-Chair of the Environment Committee and does her homework.

Her specific and critical questions, presented in a friendly demeanor – with pointed followup questions – seemed to bollox Commissioner Martin (listen here). It was a continuous head exploding joy to watch. Here are the highlights:

1. Greenstein started by asking about the impacts of diversion of $30 million in cleanup funds on the brownfields program. She got no response.

2. She the nailed Martin on the impacts on workers, firefighters, and communities of deep cuts to DEP’s pollution prevention and Right to Know programs, noting that DEP had just 2 inspectors for 8,000 facilities!

In response, Martin spun, but under tough followup questions, was forced to admit that he was unfamiliar with the facts (and no one among his 8 member million dollar management team entourage could help him with the facts – it was embarrassing).

3. Criticizing the Governor’s RGGI withdrawal, Greenstein noted that the Governor’s rationale for that withdrawal was that RGGI was not effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. So she pressed Martin by asking:

what are we doing as an alternative to more effectively reduce GHG emissions?

Crickets – Martin could not point to anything he was doing on GHG emission reductions.

Greenstein also directly challenged Martin’s slogan that RGGI was “just another tax”.

4. In a very smooth issue transition, Greenstein noted that RGGI revenues funded forest stewardship programs. She asked:

What plans do we have to implement forest stewardship?


Nothing specific on that.

Imagine that – the DEP budget zeroes the RGGI money and increases the Forest Resource Management budget by $2.2 million, yet Comisssioner Martin had no clue on what those funds would be used for!

5. Waiver rule. Greenstein immediately cut to the chase:

What gives DEP the idea that there is legislative authority to do this and that it will not implicate equal protection issues?

Martin thanked the Senator for asking the question, because he said that there was a lot of “misinformation out there” – and immediately after saying that Martin released this whopper of a flat out lie:

DEP already has the ability to provide over 100 variances and waivers – those laws were set up by the legislature.

Wow. Who knew that DEP had 100 waivers already!? I’m speechless. I wanna see the list of 100! Demand the list of 100 waivers!

6. Christie withdrawal from EPA Ozone standards lawsuit. Greenstein said:

It makes us look like we’re behind all these other states that joined the lawsuit.

Martin replied that plant-by-plant individual Clean Air Act Section 126 lawsuits are our approach.

7. Greenstein then reminded Martin the the Drinking Water Quality Institute (DWQI) was created by the Legislature to develop recommendations to DEP on  science based drinking water standards.

She noted that the DWQI is a nationally respected body that – historically – was active and met frequently. In 2009 – 2010, Grenstein correctly noted, as we’ve repeatedly written here – that the DWQI recommended numerous revisions to existing standards to reflect current science and to develop new standards for unregulated  pollutants.

She then asked Martin why the Drinking Water Quality Institute had not met in over 18 months and why DEP had not implemented their scientific recommendations to lower scores of drinking water standards to reflect current science.  Greenstein specifically asked about Martin’s views on the DWQI. Here is Martin’s reply:

We’ve since set up a broader group, called the Science Advisory Group (sic). We’ve chosen to put that group in place to deal with issues, including water related issues. 


Martin just admitted what I have written here multiple times – including Martin’s outrageous attacks on DWQI scientists.

Contrary to the statute, Martin has killed the DWQI and outsourced the science and the development of drinking water standards – and all all other environmental standards – to his industry influenced Science Advisory Board.

Martin just admitted a total disregard for and direct violation of State law.

The NJ Safe Drinking Water Act tasked the DWQI with developing drinking water standards, not the SAB.

The SAB was created by DEP Commissioner’s Adminsitrative Order and has NO LEGISLATIVE authorization whatsoever!

What will the legislature do to remedy this egregious violation of law?

8. Greenstein wanted to know the status of the State Water Supply Master Plan.

Greenstein –

During the campaign, the Governor made a number of public statements about the delays in updating the Water Supply Master Plan. What is your thinking – is it going to be implemented? When will we see this plan?


When the Governor developed the State Strategic Plan, we parked the WSMP.

Repeat: PARKED.

NJ has a historic structural drought condition and we are again entering a drought. And DEP is again unpreprared to manage it.

As we have warned, the current plan is based on 16 year old data and its update is many years overdue.

And the DEP Commissioner admits that he “parked” the Water Supply Master Plan!


I had to leave the hearing shortly after that.

If that ridiculous admission of negligence and incompetence can pass without any notice, then it’s time for me to go before my head explodes.

(and I didn’t even write about the Category One waters rollback now underway – Martin was pressed by Greenstein and he openly confirmed that he not only failed to increase C1 designations, but that he was in the process of rolling back EXISTING C1 designations!)

So, listen to the tape yourself for the rest of the hearing.

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  1. Tony O’Donnell
    May 11th, 2012 at 00:29 | #1


    If I wasn’t married, I think I would propose to Linda Greenstein! What a fabulous job she did at grilling Martin. Hopefully, the media will pick up and run with the story of the administration’s use of the blatantly-biased Science Advisory Board as a tool to dismantle the DQWI and circumvent the law.

    Great coverage, as always. Thanks.


  2. May 11th, 2012 at 09:29 | #2

    Once a hearing is over it’s ‘parked’ on the legislative website’s archived not live section so yesterday’s DEP Budget hearing is now available at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/archive_audio2.asp?KEY=SBAB&SESSION=2012

  3. May 11th, 2012 at 18:38 | #3

    Thanks Dave, glad to know that you’re a Wolfenotes reader.

    Now, if you would apply what you read here….

    ANd what do you mean by the word “parked”?

    I quoted Martin on that.

    Are you defending Martin and suggesting that the WSMPU is current and is “parked” on some DEP website? Please clarify, I don’t want to confuse my readers.

  1. October 25th, 2012 at 09:24 | #1
  2. April 27th, 2015 at 17:04 | #2
  3. June 12th, 2015 at 16:14 | #3
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