Home > Uncategorized > The Christie DEP Ignored The Clean Water Enforcement Act’s Mandate To Submit Annual Report

The Christie DEP Ignored The Clean Water Enforcement Act’s Mandate To Submit Annual Report

No Way For The Legislature and Public To Know If NJ’s Keystone Act Is Being Enforced

We need a public process regarding reforms at DEP after 8 years of Christie radical rollbacks

The Christie DEP simply ignored the legal mandates of the Clean Water Enforcement Act (CWEA) to submit an annual Report to the Legislature and the public.

The last annual Report was submitted 8 years ago, back in 2010.

DEP’s own words: (boldface mine)

In 1990, the Legislature enacted substantial amendments to the Water Pollution Control Act (WPCA), commonly known as the Clean Water Enforcement Act, P.L. 1990, c. 28 (CWEA). The CWEA requires the department to inspect permitted facilities and municipal treatment works at least annually. Additional inspections are required when the permittee is identified as a significant noncomplier. The CWEA also requires the assessment of mandatory minimum penalties for violations of the WPCA that are considered serious violations and for violations by permittees designated as significant noncompliers.

The CWEA requires the department to submit a report on the implementation of the CWEA’s requirements to the Governor and the Legislature by March 31 of each year.The statute also specifies the items that the department must include in the report. The department has organized the required information into several categories, including Permitting, Enforcement, Delegated Local Agencies, Criminal Actions, Fiscal, and Water Quality Assessment.

Take a look at DEP’s CWEA webpage to see that last annual Report was submitted in 2010.

Apparently, instead of a detailed and comprehensive annual report mandated by the Legislature, DEP seems to have shifted the burden to the public to use their cumbersome and technically limited “data miner” to extract the information previously provided by DEP in disaggregated and summary form via an Annual Report.

This is totally unacceptable.

DEP must consolidate the data and report the results. Requiring that the public use Data miner and somehow locate on-line data or Reports can not replace public documents and public access to those documents.

NJ environmental groups should call on legislators to conduct oversight hearings of DEP’s implementation of CWEA (and a host of other programs established by the Legislature, particularly the Global Warming Response Act).

A good first step in that direction would be upcoming Senate Confirmation hearings – once Senate President Sweeney lifts his hold on McCabe – of Acting DEP Commissioner McCabe.

Of course, NJ ENGO’s should also be publicly calling on the Murphy DEP and Commissioner McCabe to initiate a public process regarding needed reforms at DEP after 8 years of Gov. Christie’s radical rollbacks.

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