Home > Uncategorized > Senator Sweeney’s Block On The Confirmation of Gov. Murphy’s DEP Commissioner Prolongs Gov. Christie’s Anti-Environmental Policy

Senator Sweeney’s Block On The Confirmation of Gov. Murphy’s DEP Commissioner Prolongs Gov. Christie’s Anti-Environmental Policy

Acting DEP Commissioner McCabe Sandbagged by Christie Holdovers

Unable to appoint management team & begin policy reforms

Sweeney holds McCabe hostage – is he seeking policy concessions?

Senator Sweeney on Senate floor. He knows how to pressure DEP on behalf of polluters & developers.

Senator Sweeney on Senate floor. He knows how to pressure DEP on behalf of polluters & developers.

[Update: Here is DEP website for McCabe DEP’s “organizational chart”

This document is currently being updated. Please check back at a later date.
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[Update in text below]

Senate President Sweeney is blocking the confirmation of, among others, Gov. Murphy’s nominee for DEP Commissioner, Catherine McCabe.

It is almost March, and the Senate Judiciary Committee still has not set a date for McCabe’s confirmation hearing and Sweeney has not scheduled a full Senate confirmation vote.

The inability of McCabe to secure Senate confirmation has a series of negative consequences.

Historically in deference to the Constitutional power of Senate oversight via the confirmation process, the Acting DEP Commissioner will not exercise bold leadership or initiate major policy changes until confirmed.

First of all, as a result, McCabe has been unable to appoint her senior management team and initiate the arduous process of reversing 8 full years of Gov. Christie’s policy and regulatory rollbacks (i.e see: Forty Policy Questions For Gov. Murphy’s DEP Commissioner’s Senate Confirmation Hearing.

McCabe also has been unable to appoint her own management team and purge Gov. Christie and Bob Martin’s installation of incompetent corporate hacks in senior management positions. And there was a lot of collaboration with the Martin regime’s “cultural change” program by DEP middle managers that will need to be purged as well, perhaps down to at least the Division Director level, lower in some individual cases.

The DEP is a huge and complex regulatory institution, so it will take considerable leadership and persistent efforts to turn the ship of state around.

In addition, McCabe can expect strong pushback from powerful economic forces, as well as the leadership of her own party, as she seeks to “claw back” the Christie giveaways (e.g. see: Sweeney and Christie-Crats Throw Pinelands Legacy Under the Bus)

Already there are signs that Christie holdovers have sandbagged Acting Commissioner McCabe.

For example, the very first press release McCabe issued upon taking office was an ill advised move to double down on a terrible trifecta: Gov. Christie’s climate denying shore engineering, dredged material disposal, and luxury boat subsidy policies (see: DEP LAUNCHES PROJECT TO REPAIR BEACHES ON LONG BEACH ISLAND USING MATERIALS DREDGED TO MAKE LITTLE EGG INLET CHANNEL SAFE (not to mention the personnel issues involved).

Even worse, McCabe apparently relied on Christie holdovers in the discredited DEP press office to spin the release of the DEP’s annual fish consumption advisories, transforming the historic public health focus of those advisories into a sham effort to claim reductions in toxic chemicals and improvements in “ecological conditions” (see: NJ Gov. Murphy’s DEP Commissioner – A Woman – Downplays Health Risks To Women and Children From Eating Toxic Fish.

[Note: Or, McCabe, in downplaying toxic fish risks, could have been trying to avoid pissing off Sweeney, whose (oil soaked) District sits on the banks of the Delaware River (where advisories were “eased”) and includes Sweeney’s polluter and fossil friends, particularly Dupont, the largest toxic polluter to the river, who owns billions of dollars in cleanup and NRD liability that DEP could pull the trigger on. ~~~ end note]

The lack of Senate confirmation also has political – as well as policy implications.

That political intimidation by Sweeney could explain the timid and ill-advised selection of Deputy Commissioner Debbie Mans (see: Murphy DEP Commissioner McCabe Makes Her First Move – A Mis-Step)

In that sense, Sweeney – who is no friend of the Gov’s Murphy’s energy or environmental  policies (especially on wind) and a supporter of many of Gov. Christie’s “regulatory relief” policies is holding the sword of confirmation over McCabe’s head and likely seeking political commitments or policy moderation from McCabe behind the scenes. He has a dirty history.

Sweeney needs to be told by progressive and pro-environmental Democrats to back off and schedule McCabe’s confirmation hearing and Senate vote and get behind Gov. Murphy’s energy and environmental policies.

[Update: a reader and longtime Trenton activist just sent me a note that laid out the political games being played by Gov. Murphy’s Office on the nuke bailout bill. Basically, as I suspected, the Gov. Office has frozen out the progressives and is using corporate tools NRDC, EDF, NJ LCV and Rethink Energy NJ for cover for a sellout to PSEG. Murphy is listening to National groups and dissing the local NJ state groups.

The Gov.’s Office and Acting DEP Commissioner McCabe might want to consult former Commissioner Brad Campbell, who relied on NRDC for his disastrous “Big Map” initiative, which was his Waterloo. See NY Times story (6/26/05) for all that “These Days, A Commissioner Is Under Siege” ~~~ end update]

Maybe Democrats can get around to doing that after they end the Sweeney madness on the nuclear subsidies and poison pill for renewable energy he is trying to ram through the legislature, see: IN SIXTH ITERATION, NUCLEAR SUBSIDY BILL CLEARS COMMITTEE

Sweeney is sabotaging Gov. Murphy’s energy, environmental and even tax policies, remarkably in a partnership with NJ’s ALEC Chairman,  right wing Republican Senator Oroho.

Enough is enough. Get in his face!

yours truly (R) gets in Sweeney's face in his District (Earth Day, 2005)

yours truly (R) gets in Sweeney’s face in his District (Earth Day, 2005)

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