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Reach Out and Touch Someone

Joint Legislative Hearing Brings Out Strange Shore Friends

Hal Bozarth "The Godfather of NJ Toxics" and lobbyist for the NJ Chemistry Council (R) greets Senator Bateman (R-Somerset) at annual shore hearing in Lavallette, NJ

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

What was Hal Bozarth, AKA “The Godfather of NJ Toxics” and chief lobbyist for the NJ Chemical Industry, doing at yesterday’s legislative hearing in Lavallette that focused on the ecological decline of Barnegat Bay? 

It was obvious that Hal got the memo and dressed down – in casual attire.

But what was he doing there?

[Update: Here’s why Hal was there (see NJ Spotlight story)  – who knew that the American Chemistry Council was so concerned about reducing carbon footprints and was an arbiter of environmental friendliness?:

Representatives of the plastics manufacturing industry disputed that view, telling legislators in Lavalette on Monday plastic bags are more environmentally friendly than paper bags.

“Paper bags have a lot larger carbon footprint than paper bags,” said Donna Dempsey, a spokesperson for the American Progressive Bag Alliance.

The American Chemistry Council supports that view. Using paper bags doubles the amount of carbon dioxide produced versus paper bags; plastic bag production uses less than 4 percent of the water needed to make paper bags; and using paper bags creates almost five times the amount of solid waste than using plastic bags, according to the industry group’s website.

Maybe Hal was saying thanks to Legislators for  saving his chemical industry members millions by abandoning legislation that would have mandated liability insurance costs for risks associated with chemical and oil spills?

Or was it thanks for not banning the treatment of fracking wastewater at NJ giant chemical Dupont Chambersworks plant on the Delaware River in South Jersey?

Or for not over-riding Governor Christie’s global warming and energy policies, that promote fracking, natural gas pipelines, and provide subsidies to corporate fossil fuel users, like the energy intensive chemical and oil refineries Bozarth represents that use huge volumes of frack gas as feedstock?

Or for not holding oversight hearings on DEP failures and a recent court decision to prohibit DEP from recovering hundreds of millions of dollars in natural resource damage injuries caused by the chemical industry?

Or was it to say thanks for passing legislation that privatized DEP’s toxic site cleanup program, placing polluters in charge of cleanups and saving them hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup costs?

Or was it for looking the other  way while DEP Commissioner Martin disbanded the NJ Drinking Water Quality Institute and enacted a moratorium on drinking water standards, saving chemical industry members millions in cleanup costs liability?

Or was it to say thanks for not objecting to DEP Commissioner Martin installing  a Dupont corporate strategist on the Science Advisory Board?

Or was it to say thanks to Legislators for not vetoing a controversial Christie DEP rule that limits public access to urban river and ocean waterfronts, while providing economic relief and reducing public access obligations of major chemical plants and industrial facilities than line NJ’s rivers and waterfronts?

Or for ignoring Governor Christie Executive usurpation and DEP’s “regulatory relief” and cost benefit rollback under Christie Exucutive Order #2?

Or looking the other way as DEP dismantled environmental enforcement?

Or for concurring – on a bi-partisan basis – with Gov. Christie’s Red Tape Myth?

Or for ignoring air toxics and broader environmental justice issues that could costs his fellow chemical industry members millions in compliance costs to reduce disproportionate pollution burdens?

Or for giving the Christie Administration a pass on gutting toxic vapor intrusion Guidance?

Or for approving budgets that allowed  Governor Christie to divert of over $500 million in Clean Energy Funds to provide tax breaks to millionaires and $1.57 billion in corporate welfare?

Or was a big thanks for allowing Governor Christie to kill the Global Warming Response Act?

Whatever Hal’s motives were, I’m fairly certain that Hal was not there to discuss the health of Barnegat Bay or ocean ecosystems – or the interests of people living in Senator Bateman’s Somerset County district.

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