Home > Uncategorized > EPA Rewards Christie DEP’s Climate Change Denial & Coastal Management Failures

EPA Rewards Christie DEP’s Climate Change Denial & Coastal Management Failures

EPA Provides $314,000 Grant to DEP to Assess Climate Impacts on Coastal Wetlands

What On Earth Would It Take To Get Sanctioned BY EPA?

[Update: 12/17/14 – My guess is that EPA Region 2 Administrator Enck and Bergen Record reporter Jim O’Neill are both feeling pretty embarrassed right now – Gov. Christie’s DEP just told EPA to pound sand on climate change:

The state Department of Environmental Protection is opposing the Obama administration’s proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, calling the draft rule fundamentally flawed.

In a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, the state described the draft rules as “incomplete, needlessly complex, and impossible to implement,’’ according to a letter from DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. The state agency said the proposal could not be redeemed through mere revisions and ought to be scrapped.

Thankfully, Tom Johnson made my point about the Christie Administration’s horrible record on climate:

The Christie administration pulled out of the regional initiative, and efforts to promote cleaner and zero-emission vehicles have been spotty at best. As for the Energy Master Plan, some of its initiatives to produce cleaner electricity are stuck in neutral, particularly a plan to promote offshore wind along the coast of New Jersey.~~~ end update]

I’m left scratching my head over this one.

After 5 years of climate change denial and an irresponsible and reckless coastal development policy that national academic experts have called “rebuild madness” – including a former DEP Commissioner and coastal  expert who said DEP is “drunk of federal funds” – EPA just rewarded the Christie Administration DEP with a huge grant on climate change and coastal wetlands.

Just as bad, the Bergen Record story by Jim O’Neill provides absolutely no context and completely ignores and whitewashes this history, see:

The state Department of Environmental Protection will receive $204,000 from the EPA to study wetland sediments and assess the impact of human activity and climate change on New Jersey’s coastal wetlands. Understanding how marshes have responded to past stressors will help with restoration efforts, the EPA said.

The DEP will also receive a grant of $110,000 for a living shoreline program. Such projects provide a soft buffer zone of marsh plants and sediment to absorb the effects of storm surge and sea level rise, reducing inland property damage. The DEP will create a website that provides research and other information about living shoreline projects throughout the state. The agency will also examine living shoreline projects in other states to see how they might be applied in New Jersey.

DEP will create a website! As Archie Bunker said: “Whoop de dooo!

I guess O’Neill simply transcribed the EPA press release – guess it’s too much of a chore to pick up the phone and report on inconvenient facts that completely destroy the narrative of the EPA’s lame press release.

So, let’s start from scratch, because O’Neill is obviously lost or clueless – and he’s an environmental reporter so we assume he knows more than other reporters and the general public:

Under federal law, EPA is responsible for overseeing federally delegated and/or funded State programs.

EPA is bound by the policy set by President Obama’s Executive Order of Adaptation to Climate Change.

EPA provides millions of dollars of federal grant money to DEP to administer environmental programs. The grant in question is in addition to those funds.

EPA has two primary tools to influence a State’s performance in enforcing and implementing federal environmental laws.

First, EPA can allocate or withhold federal funds, or second, they can assume direct responsibility for implementing the federal law.

Both the NJ wetlands and coastal management programs are federally delegated and funded.

The Christie DEP has done a miserable job of enforcing and implementing federal laws and programs.

Accordingly, EPA should be threatening to withhold federal funds or to assume direct federal program control via permit and enforcement authority.

In case EPA Region 2 didn’t know, I guess I must say that the Christie Administration has been in an across the board policy denial about climate change.

I don’t want to waste my time right now repeating all the specific examples of how the Governor’s climate denial has impacted DEP policy. The record is clear by now. Hit the links above.

Second, again if EPA Region 2 didn’t know, the Christie DEP has denied the threats of climate change on NJ’s coast and to NJ’s coastal wetlands.

The DEP has weakened longstanding coastal management policies and regulations to promote even more development.

The DEP is constructing engineered systems like seawalls, bulkheads, miles of steel pilings, etc., that are the direct opposite of EPA funded “living shoreline” projects.

The DEP has even taken steps to use coastal wetlands as disposal sites for dredge spoils to promote navigation and the marina industry.

EPA rewards a record like that on climate and coastal management with additional grant funds.


And then for the press to write a story and ignore all this is almost as bad.

The insult to the injury in all this is that the coastal advocacy groups like ALS and COA are either receiving funds from DEP for these window dressing “living shoreline” programs or are providing political cover to the Gov. for other reasons.

The bottom line is that they’ve withheld criticism so the press and the public know very little about the failure along the coast.

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