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Christie DEP Dead Set on Dismantling Protections For Land and Water Resources

Time To Ramp Up Public Campaign To Defend Existing Rules

The Highlands Are The Next Target

Let’s hope that the Legislature holds hearings very soon to block DEP’s proposed Flood Hazard regulatory “overhaul” as inconsistent with Legislative intent.

Let’s hope that legislators can begin to understand exactly what is going on in DEP and expand their focus to include the recently adopted major “overhaul” of the coastal zone regulations.

Both vetoes are necessary to send a message to Governor Christie and DEP Commissioner Martin that rollbacks of existing land use and water quality protection are not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

That legislative message is necessary because the Christie driven Bob Martin DEP wrecking ball is headed next for the Highlands rules, which expire on December 31, 2015.

Gov. Christie’s extended those rules back in 2013, but only for 2 years. I personally confirmed that this fact was unknown to Highlands Council professionals as recently as Friday. They thought the 2013 extension was for a full re-adoption without change for 7 years;

By the authority vested in him pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:14B-5.1d(2), Governor Chris Christie, on November 7, 2013, directed that the effectiveness of the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act Rules be restored as of its expiration date and the expiration date for N.J.A.C. 7:38 be extended from November 2, 2013 to December 31, 2015.

You don’t have to take my word for it about the Christie/Martin rollback agenda.

Just like his boss, who openly bragged about “dismantling” DEP climate and regulatory protections, DEP Commissioner Bob Martin is similarly arrogant and makes no secret of his commitment to corporate economic interests over his legal duty to protect public health and the environment.

In a recent interview with a business rag, Martin openly revealed his rollback agenda:

Q. Any upcoming overhauls within the Department to be on the lookout for?

A. There will be a flood hazard rule overhaul within the next month. There will also be a water quality management plan overhaul. Fresh water wetlands drafts are being formulated and there will be an overhaul in this area as well. Round two of coastal rules will be overhauled. Basically everything that has to do with land use will be overhauled within the next few years. This will allow for more general permits overall.

Got that? More “overhauls” on the way – on top of the ground – literally – already lost.

Well, you can overhaul this, Martin. Overhaul my ass.

Only environmental and public interest activists can stop Martin from dismantling 20 years of progress on land use and water quality protections.

In a legal sense, only the legislature, via exercise of its Constitutional oversight, budget and regulatory veto powers can stop the rollbacks.

It’s way past time to get to work on this – but I’m not optimistic.

The Foundation funders have abandoned regulatory work.

The funders pull the strings – when they say “jump”, the ENGO’s ask how high – and they fund useless diversions and cultural events.

The media doesn’t have the experienced reporters to cover the issue and they have shifted their reporting as well. A regulatory story is a very rare bird indeed nowadays, a role relegated to Tom Johnson at NJ Spotlight.

That abdication of scientific and regulatory reality has empowered the Christie hacks to accommodate longstanding corporate demands for regulatory rollbacks.

But the Highlands are dear to the Dodge faction of the Green mafia, so maybe a new regulatory campaign is possible (but not with the existing staff of Dodge-ball drained organizations).

Please prove me wrong, folks, and stop the rain barrel workshops, carnivals and road rally’s and get your assess engaged.

[PS – and I know a regulatory expert with years of NJ campaign experience who is currently out of work and in desperate economic straits.]

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