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The Core Message of Gov. Christie’s Shore Ad Campaign Is A Lie

DEP Report says NJ Shore “Highly Vulnerable” To Storms 

NJ Is Not “Stronger Than The Storm”

There’s been a lot of controversy and press coverage about Gov. Christie’s $25 million taxpayer funded shore ad campaign, especialy the “Stronger than the storm” video (see:  Christie stands by ad contract, rejects criticism of cost).

Some correctly attack the governor as a hypocrite for spending $2.2 million of taxpayer money to promote himself.

Others, also quite correctly, criticize the Gov.’s ego and express anger watching his self promotion while they continue to suffer and live in trailers or shelters or temporary housing (see: Christie’s ego may send him into a pretty strong storm)

Remarkably, while correct, all that criticism misses the most essential and basic point: the core claim is factually false.

Worse, it’s a deadly lie.

DEP’s federally approved  2011 – 2015 Coastal Assessment Report states the science quite clearly:

Many parts of New Jersey’s densely populated coast are highly vulnerable to the effects of flooding, storm surge, episodic erosion, chronic erosion, sea level rise, extra-tropical, tropical storms, and hurricanes.  

But the Macho Man in the Front Office denies that science and insists NJ is NOT “highly vulnerable” to coastal storms but is “stronger than the storm“.

Why is the Governor lying to millions of people every day in those ads?

Why is no one calling him out on that lie?

But the damage from this lie is not just a false slogan in an ad campaign – the Governor’s warped views are having direct impacts on policy, (lack of) DEP regulation, and the promotion of Sandy rebuilding.

As Chris Satulo at Newsworks reports ( to his credit, he is the only reporter I’ve read thus far to even mention this critical point):

To still others, the idea that the state has proven itself “stronger” than the power of sea level rise and hurricanes is not just silly; it’s dangerous.

Such bravado, they believe, gets in the way of a needed rethinking of how we build and live at the Shore.

That is exactly what we should be focusing on. Policy needs to be based on science, not ad campaign slogans.

The Gov. is recklessly promoting rebuilding in hazardous locations. Professor Pilkey, Professor Emeritus of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment, at Duke University has called this “madness”.

The DEP deregulated the rebuilding of public infrastructure wiped out by Sandy.[in the same vulnerable locations].

DEP has ignored and failed to implement numerous warnings on shore vulnerability (also see: The Deafness Before the Storm).

According to Georgetown University Climate Center, NJ is the only northeastern state without a climate change adaptation plan – a serious deficiency noted in a recent federal Report.

The Gov. has dismissed climate change, sea level rise and more frequent and intense storms as an “esoteric issue” he has no time to consider and that people “don’t give a damn about”.

Well, we have news for you Gov. Christie – science trumps politics – and ad campaign slogans – every time.

NJ is highly vulnerable to coastal storms – climate change is greatly magnifying those risks. Prudent public policy calls for “strategic adjustment”, not “rebuild madness”.

It’s time the Governor start telling that truth to the people of NJ and taking steps to reduce those vulnerabilities NOW.


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