Home > Uncategorized > Gov. Murphy’s DEP Commissioner Joined Trump EPA Head Pruitt Press Spin, Just Days After Congressional Hearings On Pruitt Scandals

Gov. Murphy’s DEP Commissioner Joined Trump EPA Head Pruitt Press Spin, Just Days After Congressional Hearings On Pruitt Scandals

Does NJ DEP Acting Commissioner McCabe Read The Paper?

Clueless Deer in the headlights?

What was she thinking?

I’ve tried to give NJ Gov. Murphy’s Acting DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe the benefit of the doubt, given Gov. Murphy’s lack of resolve and that her confirmation is being held hostage by Senate President Sweeney, and Sweeney had his own former Senate staffer, Eric Wachter, installed as McCabe’s Chief of Staff.

But after learning of her unprecedented and corrupt “Sweeney Tour” and craven politicization of a wetlands enforcement case, not any more.

But – aside from the Sweeney Tour – this could be one of the most either naive or stupid things any DEP Commissioner ever did.

It is no secret that Trump EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is waging a war on EPA, on Obama climate policies, and on environmental regulations that protect public health and the environment (for just some of the dirty details, see; Scott Pruitt’s Dirty Politics)

Follow the timeline: On April 26, 2018THE HILL reported

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faces a make-or-break day Thursday on Capitol Hill with back-to-back congressional panels where he will be grilled over a series of controversies endangering his tenure at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Yet despite Pruitt’s scandalous record, last week, on April 30, just days after Pruitt faced two critical Congressional hearings on his ethical lapses and disastrous policies, NJ Gov. Murphy’s DEP Commissioner McCabe joined a misleading and diversionary Pruitt EPA press release, using a NJ Superfund site to tout Pruitt’s so called “accomplishments” in reforming the EPA Superfund program.

Long prior to Congress’s recent investigation of Pruitt’s ethical lapses, he had been under severe criticism not only for his unprecedented rollbacks of  EPA regulatory protections of public health and the environment, but also for appointing an unqualified crony, Albert “Kell” Kelly, to head the Superfund program. Pruitt crony Kelly was not only unqualified for the EPA position, he received a lifetime ban from the banning industry.

“Kell” Kelly’s most notorious action was presiding over a Pruitt created “Superfund Task Force” that issued a detailed set of recommendations to “reform” the Superfund program. The objectives of that exercise were transparent: to reduce polluters’ cleanup costs and promote redevelopment:

expediting cleanup and remediation process- reducing financial burden on all parties involved in the entire cleanup process- encouraging private investment- promoting redevelopment and community revitalization- and, building and strengthening partnerships

My friends at PEER sought to find out who Pruitt appointed to the “Superfund Task Force” and who wrote the Taskforce report. After suing EPA under FOIA for failure to produce records, here’s what PEER found out:

Washington, DC —U.S. Environmental Protection Administrator Scott Pruitt claims his Superfund Task Force developed a detailed plan to revamp the program without any preliminary or briefing paperwork, according to correspondence posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Thus over approximately one month, this Task Force produced a set of 42 recommendations with no identifiable antecedent or a single supporting document.

On May 22nd, Pruitt announced that he was taking personal control over all major future and ongoing Superfund projects and appointed a task force headed by Albert Kelly, a disbarred Oklahoma banker and long-time Pruitt campaign supporter. PEER submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking basic information about this effort, such as: Who was on this task force? How were they picked? What materials did they look at and how did this group arrive at decisions?

The Chicago Tribune wrote that story:

EPA says Superfund Task Force created by Pruitt kept no records of meetings

And “Kell” Kelly, who has gotten a lot of media attention, is not even the worst problem in Pruitt’s Superfund policy rollbacks that NJ DEP McCabe legitimatized. Check this one out!

Does Acting DEP Commissioner McCabe read the newspaper or follow developments at her former agency, EPA?

All this was well known BEFORE McCabe signed on to the April 30, 2018 EPA press release.

The EPA press release was an obvious diversion from Pruitt’s Congressional investigations, after which an EPA Whistleblower says Pruitt lied during congressional testimony.

Just Tuesday May 2, Pruitt’s corrupt crony “Kill” Kelly resigned amid scandal.

Albert “Kell” Kelly, a top aide to Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt who was hired to revitalize the agency’s cleanup of toxic sites, resigned Tuesday amid scrutiny of his previous actions as the leader of a bank in Oklahoma and his lifetime ban from banking.

Politico reported: Pruitt’s security, Superfund chief leave as probe heats up

So here it is.

Aside from all that, here’s the outrageously false and diversionary claims NJ DEP McCabe signed on to and legitimized.

According to an April 30, 2018 EPA press release(which I received via email from EPA Region 2 press official Dave Kluesner and is not on the Region 2 or EPA HQ website):

Under Administrator Pruitt’s leadership, the Superfund Program has reemerged as a top priority to advance the Agency’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment. Berry’s Creek is both within a site on the National Priorities List and Administrator Pruitt’s December 2017 list of Superfund sites targeted for immediate and intense attention.

“The proposed plan will address the worst contamination first as EPA develops a final plan to ensure a comprehensive cleanup of the entire site,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We are making tremendous progress expediting sites through the entire Superfund remediation process, ensuring polluted areas are addressed quickly and thoroughly.

Here’s how McCabe legitimized those lies:

“The nation’s Superfund program, based on contaminated site objectives developed in New Jersey, has been a tremendous success. However, in some cases cleanup work has been too slow,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “Placing additional focus and resources on those sites is the right thing to do to ensure protection of natural resources and public health.”

What was she thinking?

McCabe is dead wrong not only on the optics, but on the policy as well.

Wonder if she’s read the Pruitt EPA Superfund Task Force Report?

Wonder if McCabe understands that NJ’s now cleanup law she touts as a model for Superfund, was privatized under the Corzine Administration and Lisa Jackson’s leadership?

Wonder if McCabe will go the way of Gov. Florio’s first DEP Commissioner? Sure looks like a possibility at this point.

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