Home > Uncategorized > The Newark Lead Scandal Is The Tip of the Iceberg and A Predictable Outcome of Christie Policy

The Newark Lead Scandal Is The Tip of the Iceberg and A Predictable Outcome of Christie Policy

Media Blackout of Christie’s Executive Orders On Deregulation & DEP’s Abandonment of Environmental Justice Program

We need to set the policy context for the latest Christie scandal de jour and the media’s response to it.

We are not at all surprised by the Newark Public School’s lead scandal – not at all.

In fact, on March 9, the day DEP issued the first press release, we wrote:

The DEP press release raises as many questions as it answers, particularly regarding who knew what when.

Let’s hope the press corps asks hard questions and uses OPRA and FOIA to get the actual documents from Newark Public Schools, DEP and EPA.

The underlying problem is not confined to the Newark Public School system, or to lead, or to drinking water or to the City of Newark. It is statewide systemic racism and malign neglect as official public policy. That policy story is being completely ignored.

Today, a new round of outrage and recriminations has emerged as a result of the (failure to disclose is SOP) revelation that the problem has existed for years and was not disclosed by local and state officials, see NJ Spotlight story:

While all the Claude Rains faux outrage grows old, by far the best on point rant is by retired Star Ledger reporter Bob Braun, whose blog has done spectacular work on the privatization of Newark’s public schools, see:

I love Bob’s work and sent him the following note, which just scrapes the surface to outline the racist Christie policy context that is being ignored by mainstream media:

Bob – superb rant – let me know if you want the links to all the documents I refer to below.

I focus on State environmental and public health policy and regulatory issues, so from day 1, it was obvious to me that Christie would preside over a racist policy.

Let me highlight a few of the indicators:

1. In its final month, the Corzine DEP issued a major Report on environmental justice that found poor and black cities were disproportionately impacted by pollution and that there were strong correlations between pollution risks and race & income – the poorer and blacker the worse the risks. For details, see:


With that hot potato dumped in the lap of the incoming Chrisite administration, what did Christie do?

2. On his first day in Office, Christie issued 4 sweeping executive orders – EO#1 imposed a moratorium on regulations. That killed a proposed drinking water regulation in the pipeline (perchlorate) – the signal was sent: no more costly DEP regulations. No more focus on environmental justice, seen as a drag on the economy and redevelopment. No more “unfunded state mandates”. No more “job killing red tape”. Slogans.

In response to that outrageous Christie policy, what did environmental justice advocates do?

3. The press never wrote that story – primarily because the environmental group leading the EJ effort – the NJ Environmental Federation – had ENDORSED Christie and was providing cover for him.

Seven years later, the group’s Newark organizer, Kim Gaddy, running for school board, self promotes and now hypocritically blames Christie for the NPS lead scandal – no mention of her own history.

4. Christie not only abandoned the environmental justice program, his DEP openly warned EJ advocates to back off and disregard the December 2009 Corzine DEP EJ Report – – see the DEP Hearing Report on the Hess natural gas plant air permit. (I’ve posted the link to this case, but will write in detail about this soon. It is an outrageous story.)

5. But the Christie DEP could not have accomplished this racist betrayal and have it ignored by the corporate  press without a little support from hometown collaborators. Let me give 3 specific examples:

a) Ironbound Comm. Corp. cut a deal and did not strenuously object to the 20 year renewal of the garbage incinerator that should have been shut down. That 1 facility emits over 13,000 POUNDS of lead per year to Newark’s air – what Dr. Peter Montague called “a billion lead bullets to the brains of Newark’s kids”.

b) ICC cut a deal on the Hess natural gas plant – a pure shakedown.

c) More recently, ICC was joined by NY/NJ Baykeeper to SUPPORT a flawed EPA corporate compromise half assed cleanup of the Passaic River’s dioxin contaminated sediments. Like Judas, they were bought off by EPA grants.

Finally, another disgraceful example of what you refer to as Baraka’s “naiveté”, the wealthy white “open space” crowd – the groups like NJ Audubon Society I call the Green Mafia – blatantly and cynically used Baraka and black kids for a photo op and political support of the Open Space ballot question.

All this racism has gone on not anecdotally, but as a matter of POLICY.

And you can be damn near certain that no corporate media outlet will report this story.

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