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Gov. Murphy Revokes Christie Executive Order On Regulatory Policy

But Murphy Replacement Order Raises Major New Concerns

A Sad Tale of Amnesia, Journalistic Malpractice, and Opportunism

Before I get to the substance of Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order #63, let me first say 2 political things that need to be said.

I’ll write this story in 2 parts – consider the below part 1. (see Part II, now posted)

First of all, the hypocrisy of Clean Water Action (formerly the NJ Environmental Federation) cheerleading the Murphy repeal of Christie’s Ex. Order #2 is stunning.

They and the rest of the NJ media have amnesia.

They seem to have forgotten that CWA/NJEF ENDORSED Christie in 2009 and in early 2010, they PRAISED and provided cover for Christie’s Executive Orders #1-#4, including EO#2 that Gov. Murphy just repealed.

And they did so not once, but in multiple news stories by the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Asbury Park Press.

In disgust, I documented all that at the time, see: Hal Bozarth and Dave Pringle – Perfect Together!

Here’s an excerpt from the Philadelphia Inquirer story on Christie’s Executive Orders:

Kudos and caution greet Christie’s business boost – Backers cheer changes that let firms weigh in early on new rules. Some environmentalists worry (by Adrienne Lu  on 2/14/10)

True to promise, in his first few weeks on the job, Gov. Christie has tilted the playing field in favor of business in New Jersey.

Through executive orders, he has upended the way regulations are created, giving his administration broad power to block rules it doesn’t like and allowing businesses to weigh in early in the process.

The business community is thrilled, while environmental advocates worry the economy will be used as a cover to dismantle longtime protections.

Christie is “saying that the state has to reform and redo its regulatory process so that it’s no longer a disincentive for new investment,” said Hal Bozarth, executive director of the Chemistry Council of New Jersey. “That’s frankly the first time in my long tenure that I’ve heard those things.” […]

Dave Pringle, campaign director of the New Jersey Environmental Foundation, which endorsed Christie, was the sole representative of environmental advocacy groups on the DEP transition team. While he disagreed with the tone of the report, Pringle said it contained many ideas his group supported, including prioritizing science over political considerations.

WTF? Pringle actually claimed that EO#2 would result in “prioritizing science over political considerations”?

The Christie DEP under Bob Martin was notoriously political and incompetent and attacked and suppressed science, for 8 long years. 

Here’s how I criticized that at the time (back in February 2010):

… 3) the legal standards in EO 2 elevate costs to at least an equal stature as science, thus undermining the science. I believe this violates underlying federal and state environmental laws that do not authorize DEP to consider costs;

4) In a Star Ledger interview, DEP Commissioner nominee Bob Martin said he supports “cost/benefit analysis, a tool often used by industry expressly to trump science. Martin also supported industry reps on the Science Advisory Board – 3 Dupont scientists have been nominated, as well as 3 other private sector consultants – of 12. So much for objective science.

Here’s more CWA/NJEF lies, from Todd Bates’s Asbury Park Press coverage:

In a November 24 post, I pointed that out that contradiction, by quoting the following text from the APP story:

David Pringle, campaign director for the New Jersey Environmental Federation, said “the state has a lot of inefficiencies and overlapping and conflicting rules, and there’s plenty of things that have absolutely no impact on environmental and public health protection.”

But flat out contradicting Pringle’s spin, the APP reports on just some of the DEP environmental rules that would be impacted (for a full list, see this post).

Pringle also said this to support the EO#1 moratorium:

This process [i.e. the moratorium, Red Tape Review Group, cost/benefit analysis, and new federal standards policy of Gov. Christie’s Executive Orders 1-3] could just enable them to have a better understanding of what they’re getting themselves in to.” Dave Pringle, NJN TV, 3/12/10.

Have Amy Goldsmith and Tom Johnson forgotten all that?

Second, NJ Spotlight reporter Tom Johnson clearly knows all this.

But he not only chose to ignore it, but, worse, he gave CWA/NJEF a platform to escape accountability and at the same time appear to take credit for influencing Gov. Murphy.

That is remarkable journalistic malpractice.

And just as remarkably, despite being recently called out for it, Tom Johnson doubled down on the revolving door abuses and quoted not only Ray Cantor but also Dennis Hart, who also is a former high level DEP official and another example of revolving door abuse.

This is shameful.

Part 2 coming soon – no soundbites: what the Murphy Executive Order actually says and will result in.

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