Home > Uncategorized > Gov. Christie’s Attack on the Clean Water Act in Iowa Is Exactly the Same as His Policy In NJ

Gov. Christie’s Attack on the Clean Water Act in Iowa Is Exactly the Same as His Policy In NJ

Christie Opposed Barnegat Bay TMDL On Same Grounds As Iowa & Farmers’ Lawsuit on Chesapeake Bay

Christie Echoes ExxonMobil’s Attack on Clean Water Act

The Pundits Reveal That They Know Nothing About Policy

[Update below – Stile clarification]

Gov. Christie’s recent attacks on the Clean Water Act and EPA regulations in Iowa reflect exactly the same policies he has pursued in NJ for over 5 years.

Any claim that Christie’s rhetoric is of recent vintage or merely done to advance his presidential campaign ambitions is a flat out lie.

Yesterday, I wrote about the myth that says Gov. Christie has recently made a radical shift to the right in policy and rhetoric to appease right wing primary voters and attract corporate campaign cash.

Today, we can see that myth perfectly illustrated in Charlie Stile’s column in the Bergen Record: Christie’s calibrated turn to the right.

I think Stile’s premise is completely wrong and explained why in yesterday’s post, so we’ll just leave it at that.

But, since I had planned on writing about Christie’s Iowa attack on the Clean Water Act today anyway, I must respond to these two claims Stile makes, which are flat out wrong and deeply misleading:

In recent stops along the 2016 preprimary and precaucus campaign trail, Christie has touted his antiabortion credentials, cast himself as a fierce foe of environmental regulations, shifted from supporter to skeptic on Common Core teaching standards, and advocated a “fairer, flatter federal tax system” — a remark that aligns him with anti-tax conservatives like publisher Steve Forbes and other potential conservative rivals in 2016. …

At last week’s Iowa Agriculture Summit, Christie denounced proposed federal water regulations that could affect small farmers as a “power grab” from Washington. The crowd responded with hearty applause.

So, according to Stile, who supports his conclusion with absolutely zero evidence, Christie merely “cast himself” as a fierce foe. He just recently contrived, or threw together, that rhetoric to appease right wing primary voters.

If that’s the case, if Stile is right, then Christie is not in fact a “fierce foe of environmental regulations” – it’s all just for show and to promote his political ambitions.

Amazingly, that is the exactly the same story Brigid Harrison  also tells us in her Op-Ed in today’s Record:

He [Christie] has done this simply because his presidential aspirations dictate espousing policies that may go against New Jersey’s best interests, its popular will and even his own personal viewpoints.

Again, if Harrison is right, then the policies that Christie espouses for the campaign primary voters are not his real policies, and even “go against … his own personal viewpoints.”.

In other words, Christie is a moderate and a good guy, he’s just posturing for the campaign trail.

Brigid provides no evidence to support her conclusions – she just knows this to be true because, she even knows the Governor’s “personal viewpoints”!

Well, Stile and Harrison are dead wrong.

And there is plentiful evidence that proves their unsubstantiated assertions are dead wrong.

As I’ve written scores of times, here are the facts, presented in summary fashion because I’ve been over this ground so many times in detail.

Maybe we can get some political traction with the linkage to ExxonMobil.

  • “Fierce foe of environmental regulations”

Christie has been a “fierce foe of environmental regulations” since 1 hour after the polls closed in November 2009, when he bragged to the NY Times, see Christie Pledges to Fight on Taxes and Business Rules

Governor-elect Christopher J. Christie of New Jersey, basking in praise from Republicans who hailed him as the party’s new star, said Wednesday that he would move quickly to suspend new regulations on business and find ways to lower crushing property taxes, the nation’s highest.

Christie touted the fact that his first move in office would be to impose a moratorium on regulations.

He delivered on that promise.

In the first hour of the first day in Office,he issued these sweeping executive orders:

His DEP has implemented that anti-regulatory agenda.

Here is DEP Commissioner Martin’s “Transformation Plan”, a systematic and across the board attack on regulations and a dismantling of regulatory enforcement (perfectly consistent with the Exxon deal):

  • Traditional prescriptive regulation cannot keep pace with the ever changing world in which we live.
  • We must enable ourselves to have greater flexibility with our regulations. Too often, we tie our own hands by adopting regulations that were developed using a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • We must reaffirm that each program’s decision making process reflects the new vision for the DEP. Managers must identify and enact regulatory reforms that reflect the Executive Orders issued by Governor Christie.
  • Regulation reforms that streamline our work are key.
  • Program regulations are too complex and prescriptive. Some regulations are overreaching
  • Air Quality Regulation. This program is criticized by external, internal DEP and other State agency stakeholders as being more stringent than federal regulations, overreaching, over-regulating and expensive due to fees. Program regulations are too complex and prescriptive.

Christie himself just bragged in Iowa that he spent the last “5 years” “dismantling” NJ’s climate and environmental programs, a fact that both Stile and Harrison ignore.

  • Attack on Clean Water Act

Quoting Christie only about a “power grab” from Washington, Charlie Stile left out critical parts of Christie’s attack on the Clean Water Act.

Here’s the policy basis for his attack, – which clearly show his anti-regulatory policy that prefers market based voluntary local control over government regulatory mandates.

As reported in the Star Ledger:

“We should let farmers, the local associations here, and state governments, work together, in all our different states, to deal with those type of things,” said Christie, who said that such market-based intervention should be “voluntary, but not optional.”

Farmers should be in charge of devising these solutions, along with government here, and their (trade) associations — not with some big, top-down program from Washington D.C.

Without going into a lot of detail (hit this link for the documents), the Clean Water Act regulations Christie attacked involve the scope of EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act – farmers view those as a back door to EPA regulation of land use and farming practices.

Consistent with those farmers’  objections to expanding EPA jurisdiction and regulating land use, the Christie DEP has rejected recommendations from DEP’s own scientists on expanding DEP regulations to protect stream buffers.

Farmers have politically organized to attack EPA to block that rule – and EPA has replied to massive lies by the corporate agribusiness lobbyists.

But it’s not just Iowa farmers who attack EPA and the Clean Water Act, it’s Christie’s friends at ExxobMobil too. Read Exxon’s attack – it is the same as Christie’s:

If this proposed rule is finalized early next year, dry stream beds, isolated farm ponds, lowland ditches, and any other water under a case-specific determination by the EPA could become federally-protected “waters,” with status equal to “navigable waters.” This would give EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers say over how – and even whether – millions of landowners can use their property.

Allowing EPA to extend its authority this way will be bad for many sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture and energy.

The same set of issues arise in the EPA’s Clean Water Act cleanup plan for the Chesapeake Bay known in the jargon as a “TMDL”.

Not surprisingly, farmers have made exactly the same political, policy, and legal arguments in a lawsuit to block the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay TMDL under the Clean Water Act, see:

The Iowa AG joined other farming states in filing an amicus in US Appellate Court case.

Here is what that Iowa State amicus brief argues – in the first sentence echoes Christie:

The District Court’s decision approving the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load for Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Sediment (TMDL) defies the limits of the Clean Water Act and strips States of their traditional right to make the land-use decisions necessary to comply with federal water quality standards.  (@p.1) … 

In addition to the federalism costs, the Chesapeake Bay TMDL imposes significant economic burdens on the States. The Chesapeake Bay TMDL will cost tens of billions of dollars to implement. (@ p.18)

Gov. Christie’s criticisms of the Clean Water Act in Iowa are that costly federal top down regulatory mandates should be abandoned in favor of voluntary local control and not limit land use.

That argument is EXACTLY the same policy he has pursued in NJ, best illustrated by the Barnegat Bay, where he has refused to implement a TMDL.

Despite overwhelming science, DEP has refused to declare the Bay “impaired” because that would trigger federal EPA Clean Water Act mandates under the TMDL program.

Despite overwhelming science that says that DEP lacks protective State water quality standards to protect the Bay, DEP has refused to strengthen State clean water regulations.

Christie vetoed legislation that would have required DEP to implement a  TMDL in Barnegat Bay. 

Here is his conditional veto message:

Since a total maximum daily load is ultimately an enforcement tool under both state and federal law that compels parties to implement measures to reduce the amounts of pollutants they discharge, which can impact private and public budgets, it must as a matter of good policy be developed on the basis of sound science and not mere directive. 

Gov. Christie’s attacks on the Clean Water Act and EPA regulations in Iowa reflect exactly the same policies he has pursued in NJ for over 5 years.

Any claim that Christie’s rhetoric is of recent vintage or merely done to advance his presidential campaign ambitions is a flat out lie.

[Update – before I wrote this, I sent Charlie Stile a note taking exception to his column – in fairness to him, since I’m so harsh in criticism, here’s his clarification (printed without permission):

I wasn’t intending to suggest he was a moderate on environmental issues, just that he was putting a new hardline emphasis on his record. An extra sentence might have clarified that point.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
You must be logged in to post a comment.