Home > Uncategorized > Putting Your Drinking Water And Health At Risk: NJ Gov. Murphy’s DEP Is Still Following Gov. Christie’s Anti-Regulatory Executive Order

Putting Your Drinking Water And Health At Risk: NJ Gov. Murphy’s DEP Is Still Following Gov. Christie’s Anti-Regulatory Executive Order

“Stakeholder” review designed to frustrate new regulation

Cost-Benefit Analysis Still Improperly Driving Public Health Regulatory Policy

NJ Spotlight reporter Jon Hurdle wrote a critical story today about DEP delays in adopting drinking water standards for toxic chemicals, see:

The otherwise very good story missed important issues that I need to clarify here.

The Spotlight story focused almost exclusively on the process of developing drinking water standards, including this:

The DEP denies tomorrow’s stakeholder meeting will mean further delay in setting health limits on two toxic chemicals

The focus on “Stakeholder” review is important not only due to the delays it causes, but because it shows that the Murphy DEP is still following the anti-regulatory procedures created by Gov. Christie’s Executive Order #2, which sought “immediate regulatory relief” :

1. For immediate relief from regulatory burdens, State agencies shall:

a. Engage in the “advance notice of rules” by soliciting the advice and views of knowledgeable persons from outside of New Jersey State government, including the private sector and academia, in advance of any rulemaking to provide valuable insights on the proposed rules, and to prevent unworkable, overly-proscriptive or ill-advised rules from being adopted.

Note that the objectives of the “advance notice of rules” (for “stakeholders”) are to provide immediate relief from regulatory burdens” and “to prevent unworkable, overly-proscriptive or ill-advised rules from being adopted.”

As Ive written before many times, such “advance notice” also creates a back door that provides “stakeholders”, i.e. industry lobbyists, ample opportunity to work politically behind the scenes with the Governor’s Office, the DEP Commissioner, and the Legislature to kill DEP rules before they are even proposed with no fingerprints or accountability.

Call it dark regulation.

If you think I exaggerate, read this letter from the Chemical Industry to DEP, thanking DEP managers for killing proposed new water quality regulations for toxic chemicals.

We’ve also written many times about the Christie DEP’s abuses of the “by invitation only” “Stakeholder” process, allowing business and industry to dominate and control the agenda, dictate the scientific and policy deliberations, restrict the policy substance, and eliminate any media coverage or environmental opposition to emerge.

So why is the so called more environmentally friendly Murphy DEP still following these corrupt anti-regulatory Christie policies?

Additionally, the Spotlight story also obfuscated the critical issue I wrote about previously, i.e. the DEP’s false claims about the need to consider costs in setting health based drinking water standards, see:

So let me repeat that clarification.

Curiously, Spotlight reporter Jon Hurdle altered the money quote in his original story by DEP scientist Gary Buchanan (see the full original Buchanan quote in the “repeats lies” link above).

Hurdle did this by omitting Buchanan’s full original statement about consideration of costs, i.e.  he said “We also have to look at costs.”

Instead, Hurdle wrote the following, which eliminated entirely and qualified Buchanan’s cost consideration quote:

State government does not move quickly,” Buchanan said in answer to questions on why regulating the two chemicals was taking so long. “It takes time to get things right. We want to use the right science, the best available science, we want to consider all the options, we need to talk to our stakeholders.”[omission here]

He said officials are also required to examine the costs of regulation for water suppliers who must test for the chemicals and treat them if necessary.

Let me repeat: the NJ Safe Drinking Water Act does not authorize DEP to consider costs in setting drinking water standards, known as “MCL’s”.

In fact, the NJ SDWA specifies exactly the factors DEP must consider and thereby not only does not authorize cost considerations in setting MCL’s, but effectively prohibits consideration of costs.

When will Mr. Hurdle and NJ Spotlight cover that critical issue?

How much is you life worth? See:

Finally, as I’ve written many times, there are at least 15 carcinogenic chemicals and contaminants for which the Drinking Water Quality Institute has made scientific recommendations to DEP to develop MCL’s that are being completely ignored. These DWQI recommendations were not only ignored, they triggered a complete shut down by the Christie DEP.

This does not include the more than 500 unregulated chemicals that DEP has found in NJ’s drinking water. That entire issue is being ignored as well by environmentalists and the media.

Why no outrage over all that?

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