Home > Uncategorized > Christie DEP Taking Credit for Corzine Enforcement and McGreevey Rules

Christie DEP Taking Credit for Corzine Enforcement and McGreevey Rules

2006 DEP Order Enforced Air Pollution Control Requirements

Plunging Natural Gas Prices Ease Impact of Previously Mandated Conversion

Hypocrisy in spades

[Update: 6/22/12 – As expected, the media missed the story and basically just printed the sham DEP press release.

Here’s just one example, and this was the best coverage – compare my praise printed in this story with the scathing criticism of the blog:  B.L. England power plant conversion to dramatically reduce emissions over four years

Environmental advocates also hailed the announcement as a positive development for the health of nearby residents.

“This is good news for air quality,” said Bill Wolfe,CQ director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. “I don’t think there’s any dispute over that.”

Wolfe did note that previous plans to reduce pollution from B.L. England had later been amended to extend deadlines for compliance, and this latest agreement does that again. – end]

[Important endnote]

The Christie Administration’s DEP issued a highly misleading press release today that takes credit for the result of a 2006 DEP enforcement action and air pollution control rules adopted in 2004.

DEP Commissioner Bob Martin issued a press release with this screaming headline:


The only thing drastic about the move is the spin.

This much is true – the plant is repowering and shutting down a coal fired unit. That is a good move for south jersey air quality:

RC Cape May Holdings LLC will shut down one coal-burning unit at B.L. England under the terms of an Administrative Consent Order with the DEP.  The company will repower a second coal-burning unit to a state-of-the-art combined-cycle natural gas turbine and will re-fuel a third, oil-burning unit with natural gas. The power plant is a prominent feature on Great Egg Harbor in Upper Township.

But the Christie Administration and Commissioner Martin had virtually nothing to do with the deal.

[Note: of course, the better move for air quality and global warming would be to shut the plant down.]

If you read the fine print of paragraph #3 of the Administrative Consent Order, you will note that the shut down and conversion of the coal and oil units was the result of a 2006 DEP enforcement action:

In light of the Purchase and Sale agreement, the Department, ACEC, Conectiv, Pepco Holdings, Inc, and RC Cape May on October 31, 2006 entered into an Amendment to the January 24, 2006 ACO pursuant to which RC Cape May agreed, among other things, to either Repower or meet the Performance Standards of the Januury 24, 2006 ACO by the deadlines set forth therein for each unit. (boldface supplied)

I hope the press doesn’t fall for it – but suspect they will.

There is no reason for that, because the facts are presented in plain english in accessible documents (ACO) and the 2006 enforcement got widespread media coverage at the time.

In fact, the 2006 enforcement action grew out of an earlier action during the McGreevey Administration. That regulation sets the key “Performance Standard” referred to in the 2006 ACO and current ACO (see above).

In 2003, DEP proposed strict mercury emissions air pollution regulations that drove this 2012 current conversion:

TRENTON — New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced the proposal of new rules that would reduce mercury emissions from power plants, iron and steel melters, and municipal solid waste incinerators. These rules will help to reduce mercury contamination in water and fish that poses a serious public health risk for New Jersey’s communities.

“New Jersey’s largest sources of mercury air pollution must use today’s technology wherever possible to protect our children and families from the harm that exposure to mercury causes,” said Commissioner Campbell. “These rules will reduce annual emissions of mercury by up to 1,500 pounds statewide.”

DEP’s proposed regulations call for up to a 90 percent reduction of mercury emissions from the state’s 10 coal-fired boilers in power plants by 2007. The rules allow for some flexibility, giving plants the option of meeting the standards by 2012 if they also make major reductions in their emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and fine particulates.

But, not many news stories get any historical perspective.

The press release is highly misleading not only because Christie/Martin DEP had little to do with the deal, but because Gov. Christie is anti-regulatory (e.g “job killing red tape” “regulatory relief”) and is slashing DEP enforcement (e.g. see this June 6 APP editorial: “Don’t Ease Up on Polluters“).

Christie and Martin are strongly opposed to exactly the kind of strict State regulations and enforcement that resulted in the repowering and coal closure they now celebrate and take credit for.

Hypocrisy in spades.

I’ve reached out to reporters. We’ll see.

[Important Note: to add insult to injury, the Martin ACO: 1) actually relaxes prior compliance deadlines, 2) sets lax “interim” NOX emission limits, and 3) allows FERC to over-ride if they find the shutdown would raise grid reliability issues. That surrenders state environmental and public health protections to a federal energy agency – really bad move.

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