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EPA Delivers Sharp Rebuke To Christie DEP

EPA Calls Out DEP False Testimony to Senate About EPA Concerns on Water Rule

NJ Spotlight reported this story last week and I discussed it in a wide ranging post yesterday, but the issue is so grave it deserves a stand alone post.

Ray Cantor, "Chief Advisor": to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin

Ray Cantor, “Chief Advisor”: to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin

In testimony to the Senate Environment Committee, Ray Cantor, “Chief Advisor” to Christie DEP Commissioner Bob Martin claimed – falsely – that EPA had backed off their opposition to the DEP’s proposal.

NJ Spotlight reporting revealed that Cantor’s claim was false, based on EPA’s explicit written rejection of Cantor’s statements.

Tom Johnson wrote:

At the hearing earlier this week, Raymond Cantor, chief advisor to the commissioner, said after meeting with DEP on the proposal, the state had essentially resolved those concerns.

But a letter from the Region II EPA office yesterday suggested otherwise. “The proposed regulations have not changed,’’ wrote Joan Leary Matthews, director of the Clean Water Division. “EPA continues to have concerns as identified in our previous letter.’’  (read the second EPA letter here)

During that 10/19 Senate hearing, Chairman Smith called Cantor and DEP professionals up and specifically asked them to respond to my testimony about how DEP’s proposal conflicted with federal requirements and triggered EPA objections (you can listen to the full testimony here).

It is simply amazing and totally unacceptable to have high level DEP officials misleading legislators on such huge issues – and equally unusual for EPA to call out the falsehoods and the press to report it!

Yes, spin and obfuscation are routine practice, but flat out false statements and lies are unprecedented in my experience.

It will be interesting to see if DEP provides a repeat performance in the Assembly hearings.

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