Home > Uncategorized > End of Christie’s First Term – Gov. Signs Bill To Extend Cleanup Deadline For Toxic Polluters

End of Christie’s First Term – Gov. Signs Bill To Extend Cleanup Deadline For Toxic Polluters

Gov. Pocket Veto’s Bill To Require Public Notification of Raw Sewage Discharges

Why Would Gov. Christie Want to Keep Raw Sewage A Secret?

[Important updates below]

Governor Christie ended his first term as the first  NJ Governor ever to complete a 4 year term with virtually no environmental legislative accomplishments, serious legislative rollbacks, and nothing but rollbacks on the regulatory front.

Christie ends his first term attacking environmental protections, just where he started, when in the first hour of his first day in office, he issued a series of sweeping Executive Orders: establishing a moratorium on regulations (EO #1); regulatory relief, federal standards rollback, and cost benefit analysis (EO #2); a new Red Tape  Czar and Red Tape commission (EO #3); and restrictions on unfunded state mandates (EO #4).

Going out with a bang, Christie also ended the 215th Legislative Session (2012-2013) with more evidence of his hostility to environmental protection – evidenced in the bills he signed and the long list of bills he refused to sign and let expire (a “pocket veto”).

But the Governor did so quietly, under cover of his scandal, Inauguration, and a major snow storm that triggered an emergency declaration (view Gov. press release and the massive legislative dump here).

In fact, the Gov.’s action on two bills in particular provide a stunning example of that hostility.

First, the Governor signed a bill that would provide a two year extension of toxic site cleanup deadlines and allow private consultants for the polluters to self certify that the delay is justified.

The bill was rammed through the lame duck session, got no press, and is a poster child for abuse.

The bill guts the only enforceable deadline in the new DEP privatized toxic cleanup program and is a stunning contradiction of the corporate polluters’ promises to expedite cleanup in exchange for privatizing the cleanup program.

The law will only result in more pollution of our soil, groundwater, drinking water, rivers and streams and wildlife –  while allowing the cleanup of  toxic hazards in our communities to fester for two more years.

The only beneficiaries of the law are corporate polluters, who dodge costly cleanup requirements.

I wrote about that bill here:

Second, the Gov. “pocket vetoed” a bill that would have required public notifications and warnings about raw sewage discharges to our rivers, streams, and bays.

Jim O’Neill at the  Bergen Record gets it:

Governor Christie declined to sign a bill that would have required public notification whenever sewer-outfall pipes dump raw sewage into local rivers and bays, legislation that had received overwhelming support by both parties in the state legislature.

The bill also would have required outfall pipes to be clearly marked with signs for swimmers, fishermen, kayakers and other who use the water.

“I’m extremely disappointed,” said Debbie Mans, head of the NY/NJ Baykeeper, which supported the bill. “This is a significant public health issue. Unfortunately the governor didn’t think important that the public be informed that they are swimming in raw sewage.”`

Killing that bill makes an absolute mockery of the Governor’s promise made at his first Inaugural address that:

Today, a new era of accountability and transparency is here.

Christie is the “worst environmental governor ever” (sorry, I stole that phrase from Jeff Tittel, who used it to describe Gov. Corzine).

Here are other pro- environmental and public health related bills the Gov. pocket vetoed – without explanation.

The legislation would have improved a myriad of protections and programs for: coastal dunes; transportation infrastructure financing; coastal rebuilding and home elevation; fire prevention; health risks from mold; clean energy; green buildings; water conservation; and hurricane flood protections – take a look:

S-2602/A-3893 (Smith/Spencer, Rudder) – Repeals law providing CAFRA permit exemption for certain grading or excavation of dune

CC SCS for S-2143/ACS for A-3177 (Gordon, Norcross/Wisniewski, Singleton, Stender, Caride) – Establishes State Transportation Infrastructure Bank and Energy Bank within New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust

S-2976/A-4394 (B. Smith, Bateman/Wisniewski, Amodeo) – Provides standards for, and requires registration of, home elevation contractors

A-1570/S-2273 (Wisniewski, Green, Jasey/Norcross) – Requires fire suppression systems in new single and two family homes

A-1588/S-2081 (Benson, Riley, Ramos/Singer, Greenstein) – Requires DCA to establish procedures for inspection and abatement of mold hazards in residential buildings and school facilities, certification programs for mold inspectors and mold hazard abatement workers

A-2888/SCS for S-2733 (Chivukula, McKeon, Eustace/Smith, Greenstein, Whelan, Bateman, Beck) –Creates Office of Clean Energy in BPU

A-3103/SCS for S-2732 (Ramos, Spencer, Gusciora, DeAngelo, Benson/Gordon, Greenstein) – Provides for priority consideration, by DCA, DEP, DOT, and municipalities, of permit applications for green building projects

A-3898/S-2632 (Ramos, Spencer, Eustace, Vainieri Huttle, Sumter/Smith, Greenstein) – Authorizes municipalities to finance water conservation, storm shelter construction, and flood and hurricane resistance projects

[Update #1: 1/23/13 – Gov. Christie’s signing the 2 year delay in toxic site cleanup got no press. Compare that silence to the ton of coverage given a similar 2 year delay in a water quality rule – could that be because Jeff Tittel curiously testified in support of the cleanup bill delay and then left that bill out of his press release? Why would Tittel support delay of a bad privatization law he opposed and used as his primary example of why Jon Corzine was “the worst environmenntal governor ever”?  Don’t believe he supported it? Listen to the testimony (hit link for Senate Env. 12/5/13). The media stenographers tend  to defer to Tittel for determining what’s newsworthy and lord knows, he works the phone).

But, the raw sewage bill got a good followup story in the Bergen Record, see: Backers of sewage spill bill are baffled –

But oops! reporter Jim O’Neill forgot to ask Sen Smith about his toxic cleanup delay bill! That might muddy the narrative of Smith as environmental champion.   end update #1].

[Update #2– Kirk Moore does a good story on pocket veto of home elevation safety bill, see:  Christie’s pocket veto:No boost for house-lifting safety measure – but again, Sen. Smith is a hero and not asked about his toxic delay bill. – end update #2]

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