Home > Uncategorized > DEP Denies Request For Sandy Plans Commissioner Martin Bragged About

DEP Denies Request For Sandy Plans Commissioner Martin Bragged About

DEP Claims Storm Preparation Plans Are Secret

NJ The Only State In Northeast That Lacks A Climate Change Adaptation Plan

Will the media and Legislature please step up?

Yesterday I laid out evaluation criteria and I now am reviewing the DEP’s Emergency Rule on Sandy rebuilding and formulating my thoughts before writing on that topic.

But in the course of doing that, I just received an email from DEP that denied my public records request (OPRA) for DEP’s Sandy preparedness and response plans. So, the analysis of and response to Governor Christie’s rebuild standards will have to wait a moment.

I have been highly critical of the State’s lack of a climate change adaptation plan – NJ is the only state among the 12 northeastern states that lacks such a plan – and DEP’s failure to conduct vulnerability assessments to prepare for exactly the kind of storm Sandy hit us with.

So, given what I assumed was a severe vulnerability and likely source of critical legislative oversight, I was shocked to hear DEP Commissioner Martin testify on December 3, 2012 to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee that each DEP Assistant Commissioner had a storm preparedness, response, and management plan for each program area in the Department.

Martin claimed that those plans worked well and DEP did a superb job.

Of course, I found this very hard to believe so I filed this OPRA request to review those plans to test Martin’s claims:

On December 3, 2012, DEP Commissioner Martin testified to the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee. In that testimony, Commissioner Martin stated that each DEP Assistant Commissioner had emergency preparation, response, and management plans in place that existed BEFORE Superstorm Sandy struck and that these plans were deployed BEFORE the storm struck, during the storm, and after the storm. I request a copy of the specific plans Commissioner Martin cited in his Senate testimony on 12/3/12. In case this request is not absolutely clear, here is a link to video of Martin’s testimony:

DEP dragged their feet and requested a delay from the OPRA 7 day response requirement. Coincidentally, this delay dragged the DEP response out past the Gov. announcement yesterday.

Here is DEP’s lame response denial:

This request has been denied pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1. See Addendum Disposition Notes below for further information.

Addendum Disposition Notes: The subject plans have not been finalized, are consider deliberative and confidential pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1. In addition, some components of the plans are confidential pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-9, EO 47, N.J.A.C. 7:1D-3.2(b)1.

How the hell can a DEP Commissioner publicly testify to the Legislature about the existence of DEP plans that he claims performed so well, and then claim they are secret?

Will the media and Legislature please step up?

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  1. Lee Horkin
    January 25th, 2013 at 11:28 | #1

    DEP Commissioner Dean Vernon Wormer requested that these plans be double secret.

  2. Ed Meakem
    January 26th, 2013 at 09:52 | #2

    lies lies ? more lies

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