Archive for February, 2018

Forty Policy Questions For Gov. Murphy’s DEP Commissioner’s Senate Confirmation Hearing

February 8th, 2018 No comments

While I don’t know if the Senate Judiciary Committee has set a date yet, Gov. Murphy’s nominee for DEP Commissioner, Catherine McCabe, soon will face a Senate confirmation hearing.

In an effort to educate Committee members and inform the public debate, today I post this open letter as a list of suggested questions.

In fairness, I just gave a heads up to Ms. McCabe via email:

Dear Commissioner McCabe – We have not met, but I thought you might appreciate a heads up on some questions I suggested for your confirmation hearing. See the list below.

FYI, when Brad Campbell took the DEP reins, he hired me and tasked me with preparing what he called an “honest baseline” Report. The objective of that effort was to get all the skeletons out. He directed each Assistant Commissioner to prepare a “vulnerability assessment” of their programs that I was to use as the basis for the Report. (e.g. look at this “vulnerability assessment” on the toxic site cleanup program provided by former Assistant Commissioner Susan Boyle.]

You might want to consider a similar initiative.


Dear Members of the Judiciary Committee:

I write to you as a longtime environmental professional and former 13 year DEP veteran in order to suggest focused policy questions you may wish to pose to Acting DEP Commissioner McCabe during confirmation hearings.

Acting Commissioner McCabe faces huge challenges after 8 years of rollbacks and DEP institutional erosion under the Christie administration’s “regulatory relief” and “red tape” policies. I was faced with addressing very similar issues in my capacity as policy advisor to former DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell, after 8 years of Gov. Whitman’s “Open For Business” policies and DEP budget cuts.

I urge your consideration of the following questions:

1. In May 2010, the NJ DEP issued a Report that found over 500 unregulated chemicals in NJ water supply & that granular activated carbon (GAC) treatment was cost effective. I wrote:

DEP scientists presented a Report to the NJ Drinking Water Quality Institute on May 7, 2010.

The Report, entitled “Investigations Related to a ‘Treatment-Based’ Regulatory Approach to Address Unregulated Contaminants in Drinking Water  found over 500 unregulated chemicals are present in NJ drinking water.

It recommended that public water supply systems install treatment to reduce the health risks of these chemicals.

DEP has known about these risks since 1997 – but has failed to act to protect public health.

We are petitioning DEP to develop regulations that require public water supply systems to install treatment systems, monitor for these chemicals, and disclose these risks to consumers.

The DEP denied our petition.

So, will the Murphy DEP continue the ineffective chemical specific risk assessment approach to developing drinking water MCL’s or shift to a Treatment Based Approach, as recommended by DEP scientists almost a decade ago?

[Note: supporting data and technical basis can be found in NJ DEP science and NJ DEP’s “Source Water Assessment Program”,  which provides “susceptibility” and “vulnerability assessments” and pollution threats to drinking water sources for every municipality in NJ. Hit the link and look up your town’s threats. You would be shocked by what you find hidden in plain sight and ignored by DEP regulators.]

2. Will the Murphy DEP adopt regulations to quantify and enforce Natural Resource Damage (NRD) injuries in order to fix legal and technical defects found by NJ Court decisions and vulnerabilities that Gov. Christie’s AG found weakened the State’s litigation hand and used as a rationale to settle not further litigate (i.e. Exxon et al)?

3. Will the Murphy DEP repeal Christie DEP rollbacks of stream encroachment (C1 protections), CAFRA (and not just the public access provisions), WQMP, & Highlands regulatory protections?

[Update: apology for the oversight, but one of the last terrible regulations Bob Martin adopted on the way out was the “Forest Stewardship” rules. Will Murphy DEP repeal and repropose rules that protect forest ecosystems, water quality, and incorporate climate change?~~~ end update]

4. Will the Murphy DEP rescind, strengthen, and replace the Christie DEP Water Supply Plan(after holding public hearings throughout the state)?

5. Will the Murphy DEP reverse Christie DEP Clean Water Act TMDL policy for Barnegat Bay & trigger a mandatory watershed-wide TMDL for the entire Bay? (DEP’s water quality monitoring, assessment, and TMDL programs need major overhauls after 8 years of Martin’s neglect and politicization of science).

6. Will the Murphy DEP mandate the statistical 500 year event in all DEP water resource & infrastructure programs to reflect climate change impacts?

7. Will the Murphy DEP act on DEP scientists’ recommendations in a DEP Report to upgrade several streams to Category One status & otherwise expand the C1 program that was stalled by the Christie DEP?

8. Will the Murphy DEP rescind and replace the Christie DEP “Nutrient Criteria Enhancement Plan” & enforce nutrient criteria Surface Water Quality Standards in land use permitting and mandate nutrient removal treatment in NJPDES POTW permits? (POTW = sewage treatment plants)

9. Will the Murphy administration develop a regional land use regulatory planning scheme to protect water resources of the ecologically exceptional, highly vulnerable, and badly neglected Delaware Bayshore? (along the lines of Pinelands and Highlands)

10. Will Gov. Murphy repeal Gov. Christie’s Executive Orders #2 (regulatory relief, federal consistency, pre-proposal review) and Executive Order #3 (Red Tape)?

11. Will Gov. Murphy & DEP incorporate climate change reviews, backed by enforceable standards, retrofit requirements, and offsets, to meet the emission reduction goals of the Global Warming Response Act in all land use, infrastructure, air quality, and water resource permits?

12. Will Gov. Murphy – like NY Gov. Cuomo – direct DEP to deny all fossil infrastructure permits based on Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality certification?

13. Will Gov. Murphy reverse Gov. Christie’s water resource infrastructure, State lands, & State Parks privatization policies and rescind Christie privatization Executive Orders (see EO17)?

14. Will the Murphy DEP reverse the Christie DEP State Public Lands logging policies and plans (i.e. Sparta Mountain WMA “Forest Management Plan”, stop privatizing planning for management of state lands and parks by so called conservation groups like NJ Audubon and NJ Future, and revise all similar “Stewardship” initiatives”, et al))

15. Will the Murphy DEP repeal current policy to rely on “BMP’s” and instead enforce NJ Surface Water Quality Standards on forestry, agricultural practices and in freshwater wetlands and land use permits?

16. Will Gov. Murphy issue Executive Orders to expand public involvement in DEP regulatory & permit decisions and develop  Urban environmental quality and environmental justice policies, including mandatory Environmental Justice reviews in designated EJ communities?

17. Will the Murphy DEP close many loopholes and gaps in DEP’s site remediation program to protect groundwater resources & water supplies?

18. Will the Murphy DEP abolish the Science Advisory Board, which has gross conflicts of interest and has become a vehicle for undue industry access, politicization of science, and attacks on regulatory public health and environmental protections?

19. Will the Murphy DEP stop issuing new and revoke hundreds of existing DEP approved “Classification Exception Areas” that waive compliance with groundwater quality standards and instead mandate permanent cleanup of groundwater at high risk contaminated sites?

20. Will the Murphy DEP adopt long overdue NJ DEP derived “eco-flow goals” in water allocation regulations, backed by enforceable numeric standards?

21. Will the Murphy DEP begin to enforce exceedences of current water allocation permit limits?

22. Will the Murphy DEP revoke and strengthen DEP’s “Vapor Intrusion Guidance” to eliminate the “phased approach” and instead take a precautionary approach to protect people in their homes from toxic pollution vapors? (e.g. sample indoor air early on).

23. Will the Murphy DEP revive and adopt drinking water MCL for perchlorate proposed by the Corzine DEP and killed by the Christie DEP, as well as 14 other hazardous drinking water contaminants previously recommended by the Drinking Water Quality Institute?

24. Will the Murphy DEP begin to collect market based lease and easement revenues for private use of state lands and natural resources?

25. Will Gov. Murphy support, work with Senator Smith, and sign legislation to eliminate the current$50 million cap on liability for spills?

26. Will Gov. Murphy support and work with Senator Smith to enact water user and development or impervious surface impact fees to fund the multi-billion dollar water infrastructure deficit?

27. Will the Murphy DEP end current DEP policy to rely on “shelter in place” responses to chemical spills and catastrophic releases and begin to develop protective policies for those who live in mapped “off site consequence” areas under NJ State TCPP and federal Clean Air Act ARP programs? (Paulsboro train derailment et al).

28. Will Gov. Murphy use his powers to block “bomb trains” and other unsafe toxic rail and truck shipments through NJ to protect vulnerable communities? How will the administration address these unacceptable risks?

29. What will the Gov. and the Murphy DEP do to promulgate enforceable requirements for reducing risks identified in NJ’s federally mandated Hazard Mitigation Plan?

30. Will the Murphy DEP revoke and reissue the Christie DEP stormwater and CSO permits to include enforceable timetables and technical requirements?

31. Will the Murphy DEP adopt new rules to mandate risk assessment – based on cumulative risk to the most vulnerable populations – and more stringent “advances in the art” (NJ’s legal standard) air pollution controls for Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs)

32. Will Gov. Murphy support and work with the legislature to ban importation and disposal of fracking wastewater? Will the DEP use all regulatory tools to restrict such practices?

33. Will the Murphy DEP restore the Commissioner’s Office that conducts department-wide policy, planning, and regulation, while applying DEP’s scientists recommendations? This Office was abolished by the Christie DEP.

34. Will the Murphy DEP eliminate Christie DEP initiatives, programs, and Offices designed to serve corporate interests over protection of public health and the environment, including “culture change”, “customer service”, economic development, dispute resolution, sustainable towns and business, et al?

35. Will the Murphy DEP re-open Bulls Island State Park?

36. Will the Murphy DEP sever all relationships, State funding, and pending projects with NJ Audubon Society?

37. Will the Murphy Administration terminate funding and support of “Sustainable NJ” and stop outsourcing of climate adaptation policies to private groups and deluging responsibility to local governments (without the resources or legal power under NJ Municipal Land Use Law to act)?

38. Will Murphy terminate Christie plans to develop and/or privatize Liberty State Park and terminate all State funding and support for NJ Future, who worked with the Christie DEP in secret?

39. What are the Murphy Administration’s specific plans to get the Pinelands Commission and Highlands Council back on track?

40. Given NJ’s experience with Superstorm Sandy and Gov. Christie’s “Rebuild Madness”, will Gov. Murphy support and sign legislation to:

a) establish a Coastal Commission to conduct regional climate adaptation and land use planning and environmental management?

b) repeal the “right to rebuild” storm damaged properties in CAFRA and the Flood Hazard Control Act?

c) rescind Administrative Order #2012-13, which exempted Sandy rebuild activities from DEP permitting.


Respectfully submitted,

Bill Wolfe

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Murphy DEP Commissioner McCabe Makes Her First Move – A Mis-Step

February 8th, 2018 No comments

Deb Mans is a politically safe follower, not an aggressive environmental leader

For Mans to provide cover for the Christie DEP is an outrage

Debbie Mans joins Christie DEP Assistant Commissioner Siekerka, a notorious political hack now head of NJ Chamber of Commerce

Debbie Mans joins Christie DEP Assistant Commissioner Siekerka, a notorious political hack now head of NJ Business and Industry Association

[Update – 4/13/18 – We just came across this – we doubt that Mans will walk the walk with Gov. Murphy:

“Climate change needs to be more than about rejoining RGGI,’’ noted Debby Mans, NY/NJ Baykeeper. (NJ Spotlight, 8/11/17) ~~~ end update]

My mom told me to judge people by the people they surround themselves with.

By that standard, NJ Gov. Murphy’s Acting DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe has not shown strength of character.

McCabe made her first management move on Monday, naming Debbie Mans Deputy Commissioner. Mans is formerly head of NY/NJ Baykeeper – read DEP press release.

There were more qualified, more accomplished, and more aggressive environmental advocate candidates that were bypassed in favor of Ms. Mans.

McCabe’s move has generated favorable – and highly misleading by error, spin and omission – press coverage and cheerleading from the usual suspects in the environmental community, see: Appointment of veteran environmentalist marks shift at New Jersey DEP.

This is just one crock of shit in the superficial media coverage:

A longtime clean water advocate, Mans often battled the DEP under Christie, with efforts including a crusade by her organization to establish an oyster reef to clean polluted water in places like the Hackensack River.

Hello! Funding your organization through largely ineffective window dressing feel good projects like oyster restoration is hardly the profile of a “clean water advocate”.

While the DEP Deputy Commissioner position is more of a prestige than a policymaking position – the real DEP management team policy appointments are the Assistant Commissioners, especially the Ac’s for Environmental Regulation and Enforcement – still, it is important to note what the Mans selection signals for McCabe’s judgment and the direction of the Murphy DEP.

So today, we flesh out the details that the media ignored and DEP press releases omitted or spun.

Debbie Mans can hardly be described as a “veteran environmentalist”. She has had little statewide Trenton based legislative and regulatory experience as an “environmentalist”, has virtually no Statewide accomplishments, leadership, or policy victories, and has taken few personal or professional risks, in terms of speaking truth to power or advocating for significant or controversial policy reforms (or opposing bad things like privatization of the DEP’s toxic sites cleanup program, a policy dictated  by her boss Gov. Corzine – or privatizing NJ’s drinking water and sewer systems).

Mans’ few statewide efforts have either been faux grassroots projects manufactured by Foundations like Dodge (e.g. toothless CSO permits, and “urban water infrastructure” (cover for privatization, developer subsidies, and gentrification). These diversions allowed Mans to do NOTHING to oppose privatization of NJ water and sewer systems) or strategic blunders and abject failures (e.g. public access lawsuit attacking DEP’s regulatory powers).

The Bergen Record cites Mans’ efforts in the Passaic River Superfund cleanup.

Mans also was a force in getting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to approve a $1.4 billion cleanup of the Passaic River despite a strong lobbying effort by dozens of polluters for a cheaper alternative.

But exactly the opposite is true. Mans supported the cheaper and less protective cleanup alternative!

Mans compromised and supported a low cost partial cleanup – a cap – instead of a permanent cleanup and dredging and complete removal of contaminated river sediments, the remedial alternative advocated by community and environmental groups, like Sierra Club. 

The Record misleadingly cites a $1.4 billion cleanup as huge, but ignores the facts that:

1) The EPA Superfund Record of Decision (ROD) considered and developed a cost estimate for a complete cleanup alternative. EPA rejected the far more costly complete cleanup in favor of a less costly and less protective cap. Mans supported that sell out by EPA. (caps are ridiculed by community and environmental advocates as “pave and wave”. The “environmental” position on cleanups is almost always in support of complete removal, known in regulatory jargon as a “permanent remedy”).

2) Mans caved, despite the fact that a Judge had previously ruled: Occidental Must Cover $4B River Cleanup, Judge Says

Law360, New York (July 26, 2011, 7:31 PM EDT) — A New Jersey judge ruled last week that Occidental Chemical Corp. was liable for as much as $4 billion in costs related to the cleanup of highly toxic chemical pollution in the lower Passaic River.

Mans also has proven adept at ingratiating political stunts like this (that’s EPA Region 2 Administrator Enck – at a time then EPA Region 2 was funding her organization):


Even as NY/NJ Baykeeper, Mans played political games, like failing to challenge a Billionaire’s – and major Democratic donor – scheme to fill and develop the Hudson River, known as Pier 55

“I find it astonishing,” says Peter Silverstein “that Riverkeeper [AND NY/NJ Baykeeper] has failed to take action against this project.”

Her Trenton experience is primarily political, a former Corzine political appointment who was ineffective as a policy advisor to Gov. Corzine.

Mans knows how to work not only the Foundations, but the Democratic political operatives and donors, in political projects like this:

The Passaic River Patrol is a joint venture between the two long-time partners, with financial support from the Neu Family Foundation. …

The Patrol also has the backing of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Authority and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr.

Not one of the real clean water advocates I’ve worked with in Trenton for over 30 years was ever praised by sewage treatment plant operators. These advocates were the folks whose leadership brought real clean water protections from real laws and regulations with teeth, like the Clean Water Enforcement Act, the Highlands Act, and the Category One Waters stream buffer protection program.

When the sewage treatment plants and local political machine hacks like Essex County’s  Joe D. are praising your work, its because you are a bought and paid for chump, working on diversions and window dressing, not real clean water protections (which cost money!).

Yes, Mans sure knows how to shake the funding tree – she even took money from Chris Christie! Mans objected to me talking publicly about this $1 million sweetheart deal she benefitted from:

CRI administered $1 million in funding for an oyster restoration project in the Raritan Bay which was provided under a civil settlement with Chevron U.S.A., Inc. and the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety. The settlement arose from a February 2006 oil spill in the Arthur Kill, the strait separating Staten Island from New Jersey.

From 2007 – 2014, this funding was used on NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Oyster Restoration in the Raritan Estuary Initiative. It funded the first stages of restoring oysters to the Raritan Bay including research and experiments that have shown that oysters can be restored to this area. Through their work in New York City and New Jersey, Baykeeper is showing that oysters can play a fundamental role helping filter pollutants and restore ecosystem function to the Raritan Bay and Hudson River Estuary.

These types of civil settlements are quite common at the Federal level. Realizing this, CRI met with the US Attorney’s office in 2007 after they announced a big settlement in New Jersey that was to be awarded to NFWF, which, in-turn, was going to grant it to other non-profit conservation organizations in New Jersey. We met with the US Attorney in order to determine whether or not a local non-profit could play the role that NFWF typically plays in administering these funds. The US Attorney’s office could not provide an answer to us and it still remains unclear whether NFWF has a monopoly on this type of federal funding. 

Mans has also been funded by NJ DEP (she used her personal contacts to secure that money) and US EPA. (links forthcoming on that)

I would describe Mans as a follower – not a leader – a loyal Democratic supporter, and a politically safe appointment.

She began her NJ career at the Stonybrook Watershed. Former Watershed Director George Hawkins set the tone for that organization. Hawkins was widely criticized as a notorious opportunist, who put fundraising and political cover (for Gov. Whitman) above policy and principle, a fundamental flaw that Ms. Mans epitomizes.

Mans got tons of press about her “oyster restoration” project – now rehashed in praise by the Bergen Record but belied by the facts – look at photo below and news coverage. The Record is just flat out wrong in printing this half truth, which amounts to a lie:

Mans often battled the DEP under Christie, with efforts including a crusade by her organization to establish an oyster reef to clean polluted water

After the initial fight, Mans ended up SUPPORTING the Christie DEP. And even worse than providing Christie DEP cover, in defending her organizations pet project and funding source, Mans ignored the real water pollution threats and DEP regulatory failures, and instead used that press to create a faux image as an aggressive advocate and critic of the Christie administration – but LOOK AT THIS:

Debbie Mans joins Christie DEP Assistant Commissioner Siekerka, a notorious political hack now head of NJ Chamber of Commerce

Debbie Mans joins Christie DEP Assistant Commissioner Siekerka, a notorious political hack now head of NJ Business and Industry Association

Michele Siekerka, assistant commissioner of water resource management at the DEP, was on hand to show the state’s support of the work.”Today is really about successful partnership,” she said, saying the effort between the Navy, Baykeeper and the DEP showed a joint mission in environmental stewardship, quality of life and public safety – “safe waters and sound science.”

Shortly after that political photo-op, Ms. Siekerka spun the revolving door and rejoined her corporate friends as President of NJ BIA. For Mans to provide cover for Siekerka and the Christie DEP is an outrage.

More recently, Mans has joined a corporate, politically moderate, and financially well endowed elite conservation faction that is led by Mike Catania of the Duke Foundation. That faction has formed other interlocking astroturf groups like the Keep It Green Coalition and the NJ League of Conservation Voters. These people are NOT activists or aggressive activists, nor are their organizations. They focus on funding their organizations and pet projects. Period.

Basically, the purpose of this foundation funding driven KIG – NJ LCV project is to get Jeff Tittel and the “Trenton radicals” out of leadership and control of the political strategy and media message  of the NJ environmental movement.

Mans is at the heart of that “counter-revolution”.

Mans is on NJ LCV Board. NJ LCV endorsed Murphy for Gov. [and spent $335,000 to help elect Murphy]. Her appointment creates the appearance of a quid pro quo – in NJ, that’s a violation of the State Ethics law’s “appearance” standard.

DEP Commissioner McCabe worked for RA Enck at EPA Region 2 in NY. She has to be familiar with all this.

Given all that, I see the Mans selection as another cynical move by this Administration to garner “green cover” and favorable media.

This does not bode well for the much needed real substantive policy reforms, see:  NJ Gov. Murphy Faces A Huge Challenge Reversing Christie Environmental Dismantling And Restoring DEP Integrity and Leadership.

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Bear Canyon, Coronado National Forest – Miller Peak Wilderness

February 7th, 2018 No comments


[Updates below]

I’ve spent the last week basically looking at that lovely mountain range (photo above) and exploring cool desert canyons, while camping in a place called Bear Canyon, just about 6 miles southwest of Montezuma’s Pass in Coronado National Forest, Arizona.

I also managed an exhausting hike up a spectacular canyon below Miller Peak, part of Miller Peak Wilderness. I was heading back into town after a week in Bear Canyon when I noticed a USFS trailhead sign along FS Road #61. So, I parked and hiked in. After about 2 miles and 500 feet of elevation gain, in a bowl surrounded on three sides by 1,000 foot cliffs, I finally came to the trailhead. After another half mile, I hit the wilderness boundary. Shortly thereafter I saw the trail sign which said “Miller Peak 6 miles” (and at least another 1,500 feet elevation!). Tired, with no water or food, I sat down for a rest and then reluctantly headed back to the van. But, on the way back, we had a fun surprise: we found an old miner’s tin shack.

Bear Canyon was one of only 2 canyon’s I’ve hiked or driven across in hundreds of square miles of desert that had a flowing creek, so I wanted to explore it. I assume the creek is called Bear Canyon Creek.

I immediately came across a sign about a Bear Canyon Watershed Restoration Project by US Forest Service and Arizona Game and Fish.

Just below the sign were a series of spectacular cold deep pools carved out of the rock –


The water was cold – must be great in summer desert heat, but way too cold to take a plunge on a mild winter day. Since it hadn’t rained or snowed in a long time, I assumed the creek’s base flow was from groundwater.

[Note – not sure that assumption is valid. Now reading  this US FWS study of the headwaters of the Sant Cruz River. Confused by terminology – never heard of a “tinaja”:

Beyond the old dam at Sycamore Reservoir, Bear Canyon narrows to a bedrock canyon and there is sporadic perennial water located in pools created by depressions in the bedrock. These tinajas are created and destroyed due to the large amount of sediment that continues to move through the drainage as a result of the 2003 Aspen fire.  (at page 10-65) ~~~ end Note]

But upon closer look I noticed tons of algae – everywhere! Damn, way out here in the wild Arizona desert, there are streams that look like they are suffering more severe eutrophication (impairment) than in densely populated NJ! Look:


So, I hiked upstream to see if I could find the source of the nutrient problem. I didn’t have to go far to see all the cow pies and cattle grazing along the canyon’s hillsides.

[Note: I know virtually nothing about western desert stream ecology. Reading this paper now – BIOGEOCHEMISTRY OF NITROGEN IN SONORAN DESERT STREAMS – apparently, desert streams are nitrogen limited (eastern are phosphorus) and there are natural and atmospheric sources of nitrogen in addition to cattle.]


Cattle grazing was destroying the water quality in the creek – and likely lots of native vegetation, while causing erosion too.

[Note: there’s good research to learn from, see this on the Sonoran desert (located northwest of Coronado, which is in the Chihuanhuan desert):

THE IMPACTS OF LIVESTOCK GRAZING IN THE SONORAN DESERT: A LITERATURE REVIEW AND SYNTHESIS and this general overview by the Center for Biological Diversity ~~~ end Note]

So, when I got back into town and library (been staying mostly in funky Bisbee “Like Mayberry On Acid” is the local bumpersticker) I looked into the Watershed Restoration Project and noted that it didn’t even mention water quality or severe damage from grazing. Here are the goals of that project:

The project has three goals, to remove ecologically detrimental non-native invasive plants, to increase native plant diversity to benefit wildlife and pollinators, and to protect work which has been completed downstream on private land to enhance watershed function.  As a result, wildfire risk will be reduced and wildlife habitats improved.

Sounds like NJ Audubon style work and DEP fish and game engineering!

By far the most scarce, ecologically and economically valuable, and threatened natural resource in the west is water. It is incomprehensible that a watershed restoration plan fails to include water resource protection.

Sounds like the same sounds like science “restoration” scams parading under pretty slogans like “stewardship” and “riparian mitigation” and “watershed planning” in New Jersey! Could there possible be as corrupt mendacity and dealmaking?

US Forest Service and Arizona Game and Fish probably rely on pliable “conservation” “partners”, just like they do in NJ too!

Here’s how USFWS describes things:

The project will be an addition to accomplishments of the Sky Island Restoration Cooperative, a bi-national community-based collaboration of government and non-governmental organizations, private landowners, ranchers, students, volunteers, scientists and restoration practitioners, of which the Coronado National Forest  is a contributing member and a beneficiary of work completed on Forest land.

Real watershed restoration would: 1) end grazing and get the the cattle out of the watershed, 2) remove thousands of cow pies, 3) remove water diversion to supply the (at least 10,000 gallon?) water storage tank to serve cattle in the headwaters, and 4) close the road to motorized vehicles.

At only 10-20 inches of precipitation annually, it will take a LONG time to naturally flush all those nutrients out of the watershed.

But you’ll never get those kinds of restoration projects with the “partners” in charge.

[Update: Wow. I thought NJ’s Passaic River was bad in terms of dominance of flow of wastewater discharge.

But check out the Santa Cruz River – the USFWS Report (p. 10-65) cavalierly finds an egregious violation of the Clean Water Act (existing and designed uses must be maintained).

Perennial flow is provided by several municipal wastewater treatment plant outflow pipes at Sweetwater and Roger Roads. This portion of the river is perennial due to discharges of treated effluent from several treatment plants located along the river. This treated effluent’s water quality is very poor for aquatic species survival due to high levels of ammonia and low levels of dissolved oxygen (Pima County 2002; Walker et al undated).

How did they get away with avoiding upgrades to those POTW permits? Where the hell are EPA and Arizona DEP water quality people?

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Here’s How To Fix The Broken DEP C1 “Anti-Degradation” Program For “Exceptional” Quality Waters

February 6th, 2018 No comments

Memo to Gov. Murphy’s Nominated DEP Commissioner McCabe

A NJ friend and local activist who has done great work on enforcing the C1 stream buffer protections just asked me a great question:

My initial question probably would be better posed asking how the C1 regs could be given back the teeth they were intended.

Here is my answer – I hope NJ environmentalists can read this and act accordingly:

At least 4 specific regulatory actions are needed by the Murphy DEP:

In addition, the Legislature can still legislatively veto the Christie rollbacks in the Flood Hazard (stream encroachment rules) like they did the Highlands septic density standard.

1. Withdraw C1 and related rollbacks in the Christie/Martin DEP adopted stream encroachment rules.

2. withdraw the C1 related changes in designation methodology adopted by the Corzine/Jackson DEP that narrowed the scope of the technical basis for and imposed onerous scientific burdens on C1 regulatory designations, and instead re-propose and adopt the original C1 methodology adopted by DEP back in 2002-2003 in the original round of designations.

3. Propose the list of Christie/Martin DEP staff recommended C1 upgrades issued in a DEP Report that evaluated the C1 program and recommended several new C1 upgrades.

4. Revoke the current C1 Guidance provisions in the stormwater rules. That Guidance document is part of the problem in field evaluation and mapping analysis of C1 streams and their associated buffers.

Replace the Guidance with a stricter technical approach.

I’ve written about all of this and there are links to the DEP documents mentioned above on

Politically, these kind of commitments should have been part of the endorsement and transition Report process, but werent.

Now, the next chance to engage them is during DEP Commissioner nominee McCabe’s upcoming Senate Confirmation hearings.

Peace out!

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Christie Whitman Did The Same Things She Now Attacks Trump For

February 1st, 2018 No comments

Gross Hypocrisy and The Whitewash of Media Amnesia

[Update below]

Veteran reporter Colleen O’Dea has a disgraceful piece at NJ Spotlight today regarding former Gov. Christie Whitman’s rehabilitation as Co-Chair of a national Taskforce , see: FORMER NJ GOV. WHITMAN TO CHAIR NATIONAL TASK FORCE TO FIX U.S. DEMOCRACY

The piece is all the more disgusting because O’Dea was in NJ during Whitman’s term in office and reported on her self serving pro-corporate “Open For Business” environmental policy rollbacks (for the details on that, see the Bergen Record’s award winning expose series which won a national journalism award for “A New Genre of Environmental Reporting “).

Whitman masked those rollbacks by a sophisticated, carefully cultivated, and self serving PR campaign – with the exception, as reported by the NY Times of a failed Rancocas Creek canoe trip  – a fiasco locally reported on page 1 with an embarrassing photo of protesters confronting Whitman under a headline: “Whitman Paddles Into Trouble (5/11/97) – a PR stunt conducted at the time she was rolling back clean water protections.

The Whitman PR “greenwash” campaign was based largely on imagery (an “outdoors image” created by bicycle and horseback riding, e.g. see NY Times Whitman Campaigns Down on Her Farm

Whitman also relied on her corrupt manipulation amounting to bribery of state “conservation” groups with open space money and her grossly inflated “million acre” goal (thanks again, Mike Catania, you scumbag!). For details on that, see The Nation’s superb report: Whitman, A Toxic Choice”.

Did Ms. O’Dea forget about all that?

But Whitman’s attack on President Trump – while accurate –  is grossly hypocritical because she did exactly the same things she correctly criticizes Trump for.

1. Whitman lied about the “safety” of the air in Manhattan post 9/11

Whitman attacked President Trump for lying and subverting democracy.

Whitman, in the wake of 9/11, prominently told the public – repeatedly – that the air in southern Manhattan was “safe” to breath.

That statement was a blatant lie and had no scientific basis. News reports at the time:

NEW YORK (CNN) — The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) chief investigator has accused the EPA and other government agencies of deliberately not testing the air quality in the World Trade Center area properly and possibly covering up the reasons why.

“I believe EPA did not do that because they knew it would come up not safe and so they are involved in providing knowingly false information to the public about safety,” said Hugh Kaufman, chief investigator for the EPA’s Ombudsman Office, at a public hearing Saturday with scientists, residents, and small business owners. […]

Kaufman has said earlier this month that he believes the air quality at Ground Zero is worse than the EPA will admit, and that he believes the agency has been misleading the public about the inherent risks for residents and workers in the area. […]

Although employed by the EPA, Kaufman has been an outspoken critic of the agency. EPA Administrator Christie Whitman issued an order in November to dissolve the ombudsman’s position.

Also attending the meeting was EPA Ombudsman Robert Martin, who is investigating testing methods used by the agency.

The NY Times later reported:  E.P.A. Whistle-Blower Says U.S. Hid 9/11 Dust Danger

A senior scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency has accused the agency of relying on misleading data about the health hazards of World Trade Center dust.

The scientist, who has been sharply critical of the agency in the past, claimed in a letter to members of the New York Congressional delegation this week that test reports in 2002 and 2003 distorted the alkalinity, or pH level, of the dust released when the twin towers collapsed, downplaying its danger.

The claims of that EPA whistleblower, Cate Jenkins, were found validated, see: EGREGIOUS EPA MISCONDUCT DELIVERS WHISTLEBLOWER WIN

Washington, DC — In a scathing decision, a U.S. Department of Labor judge has ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency improperly sought to conceal exonerating evidence and illegally retaliated against a whistleblower. In the ruling posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a U.S. Department of Labor administrative law judge catalogued a trove of misconduct by EPA lawyers covering years of litigation.

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the national whistleblower protection group, PEER, reported:

The EPA abolished its National Ombudsman in the middle of its investigation of charges that the EPA lied to the public and did not perform their mandatory duties to protect the public after the attacks.  The Ombudsman acted as a neutral party to resolve citizen and industry complaints about EPA’s performance. […]

Five EPA press releases issued within ten days of September 11, 2001 reassured the public that the air was safe, prompting residents, office workers and children to return to Lower Manhattan.  A September 18, 2001 EPA press release, for instance, quoted Administrator Christie Whitman saying “Given the scope of the tragedy last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, DC that their air is safe to breath [sic] and the water is safe to drink.”

After those statements, under court protection against threats by Administrator Whitman to terminate his office, National Ombudsman Robert Martin managed to hold two hearings in Lower Manhattan to take testimony from witnesses and experts in response to charges that EPA’s 9/11 response was imprudent, if not outright dishonest.  As a result of those hearings, the Ombudsman found that –

  •  EPA officials knew the collapse of the World Trade Towers filled Lower Manhattan with carcinogenic asbestos-containing-materials, but refused to follow proper rules on protecting the public from it; and
  • EPA’s false assurances about the safety of outdoor and indoor air in Lower Manhattan insulated insurance companies from having to pay claims that arose out of exposure to released toxins.

After the Ombudsman made these findings, in April of 2002, EPA prevailed in court and terminated the office, locking Martin out of his office while he was testifying about the EPA response before the New York State legislature.  In 2003, EPA’s own Office of Inspector General confirmed the Ombudsman’s public pronouncements.  The Inspector General also found that the Bush White House skewed EPA press releases and that “the desire to reopen Wall Street” factored into EPA statements.

Chief Investigator Kaufman was shunted off to an inconsequential job but he kept up his legal fight to restore the Ombudsman office through the Bush years.  After the Obama administration came in, it continued to resist Mr. Kaufman’s action.  The case is currently before the Department of Labor Administrative Review Board.


2. Whitman attacked her own agency’s scientists and investigators and abolished the EPA Office investigating her conduct post 9/11.

Whitman criticized Trump for undermining democratic norms, institutions, and the rule of law by attacking government officials. A key part of that attack is Trump’s efforts to block investigations of his Administration by Congress and the Special Prosecutor and firing FBI Director Comey.

But can you imagine if Trump simply abolished the whole Office of Special Prosecutor? Whitman did something similar.

Whitman has a notorious history for attacking scientists and whistleblowers and has abused her government powers to retaliate against them.

Whitman even abolished the EPA office that was conducting an investigation into her actions as EPA administrator in the wake of 9/11. These abuses have been officially documented by federal investigations, see: OSHA: EPA Must Reinstate Whistleblower

Hugh Kaufman, who was a policy analyst for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response and the EPA ombudsman’s lead investigator at the World Trade Center, “suffered a continuing pattern of discrimination,” according to Richard D. Soltan, OSHA’s regional administrator. …

Its investigation determined that there was “no evidence of a valid reason for his removal from ombudsman support duties,” said the agency, which investigated the case for about a year and generated a file one foot thick. It is OSHA’s job to investigate and issue findings on whistleblower complaints related to working conditions.

Kaufman worked closely with former EPA Ombudsman Robert Martin, who resigned in April following the announcement by EPA Administrator Christie Whitman that Martin’s office become part of the EPA Inspector-General’s Office. Martin claimed the move was made to silence him. …

Both Kaufman and Martin were highly critical of safety and health efforts, or lack of effort, at the World Trade Center site.

The NY Times also reported on this abuse by Whitman – but failed to name her, instead referring to “EPA Management” – in an overview of the career of EPA whistleblower Hugh Kaufman:

A decade ago, Kaufman helped lead an investigation into EPA’s efforts to cover up the hazards at Ground Zero in Manhattan in his role as chief investigator for EPA’s ombudsman office. The independent inquiry by Kaufman and former EPA Ombudsman Robert Martin garnered plenty of attention, even after it was shut down when the ombudsman’s office was eliminated by EPA management.

[Update: speaking of abolishing Offices the investigate wrongdoing, I forgot to mention that as NJ Governor, Whitman abolished the Office of  the NJ Environmental Prosecutor – which was created by the Florio Administration – under he “Open for Business” policy. ~~~ end update.]

3. A federal judge found Whitman’s behavior post 9/11 was so egregiously false, contrary to EPA’s mission, and contradicted by science that it “shocked the conscience”

Whitman criticized Trump for behavior, lies, and language that violates democratic and constitutional norms, thereby  eroding democracy, truth and rule of law.

But Chief Judge Jacobs, of the US Circuit Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, found that Whitman’s own behavior and language were false and so outrageous that they met a legal standard: they “shocked the conscience” (see LOMBARDI v. WHITMAN):

A September 18 press release reported that EPA’s testing of the air and drinking water showed that “these vital resources are safe” and that the “vast majority” of air samples taken near the site measured harmful substances at below maximum acceptable levels. According to the release, the highest asbestos levels were close to the site itself, where rescue and cleanup workers were supposedly being supplied with adequate equipment. The same release quoted defendant Whitman:

“We are very encouraged that the results from our monitoring of air quality and drinking water conditions in both New York and near the Pentagon show that the public in these areas is not being exposed to excessive levels of asbestos or other harmful substances,” Whitman said.  “Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C. that their air is safe to breath [sic] and their water is safe to drink,” she added.

In fact, according to the EPA Inspector General, 25 percent of the bulk dust samples taken up to that point recorded asbestos at levels representing a significant health risk. […]

The EPA is designated as the agency in our country to protect human health and the environment, and is mandated to work for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people. The agency enforces regulations regarding pollution in our environment and the presence of toxic and hazardous substances, and has endorsed and promulgated regulations for hazardous and toxic materials, such as asbestos and lead. As head of the EPA, Whitman knew of this mandate and took part in and directed the regulatory activities of the agency. Given this responsibility, the allegations in this case of Whitman’s reassuring and misleading statements of safety after the September 11, 2001 attacks are without question conscience-shocking.

4. Whitman was investigated by and excoriated by the House Judiciary Committee

Whitman has criticized Trump as a national embarrassment, implicitly relying on various investigations by Congress and Special Prosecutor.

Whitman was investigated by the House Judiciary Committee, see: Dying Jersey Guy Recalls Whitman 9-11 Remarks – “She’s a Liar”

Christie Whitman testifies before the House Judiciary Committee to defend her post 9/11 EPA actions and remarks. I took this photo - apologize for poor quality!

Christie Whitman testifies before the House Judiciary Committee to defend her post 9/11 EPA actions and remarks. I took this photo – apologize for poor quality!

During that hearing, Chairman Nadler nailed Whitman’s lies – which she had no remorse, no regrets, and no apologies for and still continued to deny. Nadler’s question:

REP. JERROLD NADLER: In a series of EPA press releases beginning on September 13th, the following words were used to describe the air conditions: “good news,” “causes no concern”, “not detectable,” “no significant health risk”, and “safe to breathe”. Ms. Whitman, do these words and phrases convey a sense of danger or even of caution? Or do they, in fact, convey a sense of safety and security?

CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN: Mr. Chairman, those words, to the best of my recollection, in every effort that I made at the time, were also added with the phrase, however, on the pile it is different.

Thousands of first responders died as a result of Whitman’s lies.

That is despicable behavior that violates civil norms and erodes trust in democratic institutions, no?

5. Whitman engaged in racial profiling with NJ State Police and was photographed enjoying it

In her own twitter rant, Whitman called Trump a racist:

There is now no denying that @realDonaldTrump is a racist. He denigrates anyone who doesn’t look like him. #Republicans have to stop making excuses for him and call him out for what he is – an embarrassment to the office.

Rich, privileged, white racists, who live in “Pontefract” glass houses – especially those photographed engaged in abuse of power and racial profiling with that NJ State Police with a huge smile on her face – shouldn’t throw stones. LOOK:

Whitman conducts her notorious “frisk” in Camden with State Police profiling team. Note the broad smile.

Whitman conducts her notorious “frisk” in Camden with State Police profiling team. Note the broad smile.

6. Whitman signed of on a scientifically false Report to Congress that was the basis for the “Haliburton loopholes” for fracking

Whitman blasted Trump’s climate change policies and EPA’s close ties to the fossil energy industry.

Whitman also did dirty deeds to deregulate the oil and gas industry.

All the fracktivists out there need to know about Whitman’s role in a major source of the fracking disaster.

Whitman signed off on a scientifically flawed EPA Report to Congress of fracking and the Safe Drinking Water Act underground injection program. That Report effectively green lighted and led to the infamous “Haliburton Loophole” in the 2005 Energy Policy Act.

Thanks to a brave EPA scientists and whistleblower, we know that this corruption of science went down during Whitman’s tenure at EPA:

The EPA completed its study in 2004, finding that fracturing “poses little or no threat” to drinking water. The EPA also concluded that no further study of hydraulic fracturing was necessary. The 2004 EPA study has been called “scientifically unsound” by EPA whistleblower Weston Wilson. In an October 2004 letter to Colorado’s congressional delegation, Wilson recommended that EPA continue investigating hydraulic fracturing and form a new peer review panel that would be less heavily weighted with members of the regulated industry. In March of 2005, EPA Inspector General Nikki Tinsley found enough evidence of potential mishandling of the EPA hydraulic fracturing study to justify a review of Wilson’s complaints.

More disgusting hypocrisy and we are all now living with the fracking consequences.

7. Whitman reversed the Clinton EPA’s legal findings that greenhouse gas emissions were regulated pollutants under the Clean Air Act, setting back EPA efforts to reduce emission by over a decade.

Whitman has correctly severely criticized Trump’s environmental policies, particularly his false claim that climate change is a “hoax” and across the board attack on climate policies, including repeal of the Obama EPA Clean Power Plan adopted under the Clean Air Act pursuant to EPA’s “endangerment finding” that GHG emissions were “pollutants” regulated by the Clean Air Act.

But Whitman engaged in her own disgraceful climate denial and set back EPA efforts to regulate GHG’s under the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for over a decade. For full details on that, see: Setting the Record Straight on Christie Whitman and Global Warming.

As EPA Administrator, Whitman brought to Washington her legal Counsel from her NJ Governor’s Office, Bob Fabricant. Under Whitman’s direction, Fabricant wrote a notorious memo that found that greenhouse gas emissions were NOT regulated under the Clean Air Act, reversing the Clinton EPA and Justice Department’s legal analysis.

Four years later, Fabricant’s analysis was rejected and reversed by the US Supreme Court in the Massachusetts” decision, which ruled that CO2 is a pollutant subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act (The Supreme Court even cites Fabricant’s opinion in the text of the opinion, (@ p.8) citing EPA Federal Register notice 68 Fed. Reg. 52924 – . 52925–52929 (2003):

On September 8, 2003, EPA entered an order denying the rulemaking petition. 68 Fed. Reg. 52922. The agency gave two reasons for its decision: (1) that contrary to the opinions of its former general counsels, the Clean Air Act does not authorize EPA to issue mandatory regulations to address global climate change, see id., at 52925–52929; and (2) that even if the agency had the authority to set greenhouse gas emission standards, it would be unwise to do so at this time, id., at 52929–52931.

I provide the full chronology and legal documents in links on this post (scroll down, this post begins with 9/11 dust issues).

Whitman blasts Trump for ignoring the Paris Climate Treaty, but it’s hypocrisy again: (The Guardian):

Kyoto’s death warrant, announced by Christine Todd Whitman, head of the environmental protection agency (EPA), represented a blunt rebuff to European hopes of establishing a global programme to slow down the emission of greenhouse gases, amid startling new evidence of rapid climate change.

Whitman correctly blasted Trump and EPA Administrator Pruitt for denying and suppressing climate change science in EPA documents. 


The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to publish a draft report next week on the state of the environment, but after editing by the White House, a long section describing risks from rising global temperatures has been whittled to a few noncommittal paragraphs.

The report, commissioned in 2001 by the agency’s administrator, Christie Whitman, was intended to provide the first comprehensive review of what is known about various environmental problems, where gaps in understanding exist and how to fill them.[…]

Mrs. Whitman said that she was ”perfectly comfortable” with the edited version and that the differences over climate change should not hold up the broader assessment of the nation’s air, land and water. […]

‘As it went through the review, there was less consensus on the science and conclusions on climate change,” Ms. Whitman said. ”So rather than go out with something half-baked or not put out the whole report, we felt it was important for us to get this out because there is a lot of really good information that people can use to measure our successes.”

Whitman is the ultimate hypocrite and revisionist! As a result, we may have exceeded irreversible climate tipping points.

8. Whitman lied to and sold out the people of Libby Montana regarding health risks of asbestos

Whitman criticized Trump for rolling back protections of public health.

But Whitman did the same thing with respect to the known carcinogen asbestos, see: How Do These People Sleep At Night?

Whitman brought John Spinello, another environmental lawyer and policy advisor from NJ to serve her in Washington at US EPA.

Under Whitman’s direction, Spinello’s role in “playing fast and loose with the facts and the law” was explored at length in a fascinating US Senate investigation report of how political pressure forced EPA to reverse its own decision to declare a public health emergency in Libby Montana.

A careful review of EPA staff interviews and Spinello’s emails reveals that he was deeply implicated in the scandaland worked between EPA and OMB to craft a bogus and discredited legal theory (see paragraph #6 on pages 31-35 –  For full Senate Report, see: United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works …

The Senate Report found (verbatim findings):

1) A public health emergency exists in Libby Montana.

2) EPA Region 8 and Administrator Whitman concurred in a decision to declare a public health emergency in April 2002.

3) the [White House’s] Office of Management and Budget (OMB) interfered with EPA’s decision-making process and … discouraged EPA from declaring a public health emergency.

4) EPA’s claims … stem from a concerted effort to avoid declaring a public health emergency, despite evidence that the declaration was warranted and the lack of factual basis [to support EPA’s claims].

5) the residents of Libby were denied medical care from the federal government to which they were legally entitled.

6) EPA has delayed finishing a toxicity assessment of the Libby asbestos for over six years.

7) EPA provided misleading information to the residents of Libby.

8 ) EPA has failed to address the national issue of  asbestos contaminated Zonolite Attic Insulation. [Note: this relates to a criminal investigation involving a notorious WR Grace asbestos site in Hamilton, NJ -see Legislature to Probe Toxic Collapse in NJ“]

The practice of lying to the people of Libby was not Whitman’s first fib and it reminded me of some history with Whitman, as Governor of NJ.

9. Whitman, as NJ Governor, lied to the people of NJ about the health risks of toxic mercury, particularly pregnant and nursing women

As NJ Governor, Christine Todd Whitman certainly shocked my conscience as a DEP professional in 1994 when she lied to NJ residents about health risks – particularly to pregnant and nursing women and children – from toxic mercury contamination in NJ freshwater fish (for details of that episode see:  “New National Mercury Research Confirms NJ Experience”)

For details and press clips on that, see:  A question of credibility – Governor’s do get caught in lies.

The details include a confidential memo” from DEP scientists to Governor Whitman which advises her that her press statements regarding toxic mercury are false.

This confidential memo provided verbatim in this post and also is included in the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee transcript of Whitman’s confirmation hearing for EPA Administrator. But you won’t find it on Whitman’s Wiki profile! See page 127-128 @

It seems to be down the memory hole in today’s NJ Spotlight piece by Ms. O’Dea as well.

10. Whitman served as a high paid shill for the nuclear industry

Whitman has criticized Trump’s ethics, conflicts of interest, ties to industry, and promoting undue corrupt influence on regulatory agencies.

But Whitman also shilled for the nuclear industry, see:

The Nuclear Industry’s New Shill: Christie Todd Whitman

A Nexis news database search revealed that nearly two-thirds of news items that mentioned Christine Todd Whitman and nuclear power, from April 2006 to August 2007, failed to disclose her financial relationship with the industry. Granted, Whitman’s 35.5 percent disclosure rate is better than Moore’s dismal rate of 12 percent (measured from April 2006 to March 2007). That difference is at least partially due to the smaller number of articles mentioning Whitman, and the greater relative percentage of industry trade press pieces. (In both pools of stories, the trade press articles were most likely to mention the Nuclear Energy Institute’s funding of CASEnergy and its co-chairs.)

In some cases, journalists may have been informed about Whitman’s industry consulting but chose not to mention it in their reports. But there are several instances where Whitman herself presumably could have disclosed her Nuclear Energy Institute work, but failed to do so. These include a September 2006 television interview with Whitman, an April 2007 letter to the editor from Whitman to Iowa’s Des Moines Register, and op/eds penned by Whitman that ran in the Boston Globe (May 2006), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (September 2006), and North Carolina’s Charlotte Observer (June 2007). CASEnergy press releases that named Whitman also failed to include disclosure.

Whitman is a rank opportunist and self promoting revisionist.

An appointment to a national Taskforce can not erase these many sins or rehabilitate Whitman.

Redemption demands far more, starting with an apology to the American people for all this.

[End Note: Full disclosure: I was fired by Whitman for blowing the whistle on her efforts to lie to the public and suppress science and derail regulation regarding health risks of mercury in in freshwater fish.]

PS – We haven’ forgotten how Whitman revealed her deep scientific ignorance to a NY Times reporter when she failed to understand the difference between ozone depletion and global warming. For this disturbing episode by Whitman, see this NY Times 12/21/00 story – which again shows Whitman is – at best – ignorant and incapable of admitting a serious error:

“But when asked to discuss her views on the science behind global warming on Tuesday, Governor Whitman responded by citing her doubts about the causes of the hole in the protective ozone layer high in the atmosphere.

She was asked: ”Global warming, what is your thought on what the state of science is and what can be done to address it?”

Mrs. Whitman said: ”Still somewhat uncertain. Clearly there’s a hole in the ozone, that has been identified. But I saw a study the other day that showed that that was closing. It’s not as clear, the cause and effect, as we would like it to be.”

When some experts on the atmosphere and pollution read a transcript of Mrs. Whitman’s statements, they said the governor had clearly confused two distinct, important global environmental problems: global warming and the ozone hole.

Today, asked to clarify her views, the governor said she might have misunderstood the question, but added that she did not think the two issues were ”not interrelated.”

”In both of those instances, I’m not sure that there’s a scientific consensus on how to deal with them,” Governor Whitman said today. ”There seems to be good enough evidence that both are occurring. But I am not aware of a uniformly agreed to scientific response, on either the causes or the solutions here.”

Others have written about this as follows:

Consider the Dec. 21 New York Times article detailing what happened when a reporter asked for her assessment of global warming.

“Still somewhat uncertain,” she told the reporter. “Clearly there’s a hole in the ozone–that has been identified. But I saw a study the other day that showed that that was closing. It’s not as clear, the cause and effect, as we would like it.” Later, Whitman added that global warming and ozone depletion were “interrelated” and that she wasn’t “sure that there’s a scientific consensus on how to deal with them.”

For environmentalists, Whitman’s answer is extremely unsettling. Not only did she confuse ozone depletion with global warming–two very different and distinct problems–but she also grossly understated scientists’ current understanding of both phenomena.”

Perhaps that’s why Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell called her the administration’s “Wind Dummy”.

And if you’ve gotten this far, as Whitman critics Trumps shortsighted greed and dismantling of government, recall this: In America; Whitman Steals the Future

Now many of the gains made over a quarter of a century are in danger of slipping away because the current Governor, Christine Todd Whitman, has chosen to finance her political ambitions with a popular buy-now, pay-later economic policy that will place a financial stranglehold on future generations of New Jerseyans.

[Update – 11/28/19 – In light of the Texas chemical plant explosion and Trump EPA chemical safety rollbacks, I must include parallels to the NJ Knapp Technologies chemical explosion that killed 4 people and followed Whitman’s rollback of stricter than federal EPA’s NJ State specific chemical safety regulations (i.e. NJ RTK and NJ TCPA State DEP programs), despite this warning from DEP experts:

Specifically, to illustrate what was at stake, we disclosed a July 29, 1994 memo from Assistant Commissioner Nagy to Commissioner Shinn, that compared DEP’s strict standards with weaker EPA requirements and warned of a significant increase in the number of potential fatalities. This was not some tree hugger warning, it came from Shinn’s own Assistant Commissioner (complete memo found on page 126 of Whitman Senate confirmation transcript):

“Industry (e.g., CIC and NJBIA) would obviously prefer backing off to the EPA thresholds. ….However, the increases made by EPA on adoption were so large (averaging some 18 times the TCPA values with 33 of the 60 substances common to both lists assigned from 5 to 167 times corresponding TCPA values) that they are not technically justifiable in an area as densely populated as New Jersey where substances are generally handled on small sites, and would correlate with a significant increase in the number of potential fatalities.

Got that? Whitman policy would result in an “Increase in the number of potential fatalities”. That was 9 months BEFORE the Knapp Technologies disaster. In addition to ignoring those TCPA warnings, Whitman  slashed New Jersey’s Right to know list by about 2,000 chemicals and adopted the weaker federal EPA RTK reporting thresholds, based on her Ex. Order #27 federal consistency policy.

But, in the immediate response to the Knapp explosion, note how Whitman sprang into spin PR mode, appeared “in hospital gown, mask, gloves and a cap”, and deflected attention from her administration’s DEP regulatory policy rollbacks and instead blamed workers and local zoning: (NY Times)

Gov. Christine Todd Whitman went to the Lodi firehouse at the height of the blaze in midmorning and later visited some of the eight injured workers at Hackensack Medical Center. She said that zoning rules in New Jersey no longer allow construction of chemical companies in residential neighborhoods.

“This factory far predated any of the regulations that would have kept them out,” she said. “We have already learned, and that is why you have zoning codes that do not allow this kind of thing to happen with new construction.”

For a comprehensive review of Whitman RTK rollbacks, see this Report by the NJ RTK Coalition.

Whitman also brought energy deregulation to NJ in 1999, initiated the right wing attack on, rollback and politicization of regulations (see Ex. Order #27 and Ex. Order #15) and abolished the Office of Environmental Prosecutor (see Ex. Order #9) There are numerous similarities between Whitman and Trump policies. ~~ end update]

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