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The Record Gets It Half Right On Gov. Murphy’s Hypocrisy On Climate And Environment

And they leave out a lot

Gov. Murphy has corrupt cheerleaders who are lying to the public about his record

[See End Note below]

The Bergen Record published a story today that attempts to hold Gov. Murphy accountable on his climate and environmental policy record (sorry the article is behind a paywall, see:

The Record got it half right  – and they left out a lot of what could have been even far harsher criticism.

I’ve been writing about all that from day one – exposing Gov. Murphy’s hypocrisy on climate and documenting Gov. Murphy and his DEP’s regulatory record – so I need to make a few clarifications of the Record’s reporting.

First of all, the article opens up with a highly misleading claim, praising Gov. Murphy for killing a proposed pipeline under Raritan Bay:

In June, Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration denied permits to a controversial pipeline that would send natural gas from New Jersey under Raritan Bay to New York City — a move that environmentalists said reaffirmed the governor’s goals to move the state away from fossil fuels.

But that’s a load of crap – 3 weeks before, NY Governor Cuomo already killed the pipeline – see the NY Times story:

So Gov. Murphy’s DEP denial of permits did nothing to kill the pipeline project – the project was already dead by Cuomo’s hand (and the basis for NJ DEP’s permit denials was very different legally and technically fro NY’s and did not establish any regulatory precedent to deny pending pipelines, like the Penn East seeking wetlands and water quality certification).

NJ environmentalists heaped false praise on the governor at the time. They continue to do so, blatantly lying to the public.

The Record now again misleads readers and repeats this false praise.

The fake Raritan pipeline denial is not inconsistent with Murphy DEP’s approval of permits for the stealth Delaware River LNG plant (and that LNG project is not nearly the first major new fossil project DEP issued permits to).

Second, while the Record correctly criticizes Murphy and DEP in this strong paragraph, the truth is even worse:

He has not fulfilled his promise to reopen the Office of Climate Change, which was shuttered by former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican. Murphy has diverted hundreds of millions of dollars in environmental funds to help balance the state budget. New Jersey is one of two coastal states without climate adaptation plans

And the administration has not set forth rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions or rolled back Christie-era regulations viewed as harmful to the environment.

At the Governor’s level, Gov. Murphy’s EO 63 repealed Christie Executive Orders 1-2, but it continued the cost benefit policy and added a whole bunch of even worse policies. I wrote about that here:

At the DEP bureaucratic level, technically, the Record got it wrong. The Gov. did “reopen the Office of Climate Change” – but, as I wrote, that did absolutely nothing but mislead the public, see:

As I noted in my post, DEP Commissioner McCabe’s response to legislature’s written questions specifically about the Office of Climate Change flat out contradicts Gov. Murphy’s spokesperson quoted in the Record article:

And the administration has done “far more” than just reopening the Office of Climate Change, she said, by naming a chief resilience officer and reorganizing the Climate & Flood Resilience Program, which “serves as a hub responsible for coordinating the climate change resilience and adaptation work ongoing in many programs across the DEP.”

Hit the link to my post above and read McCabe’s written responses to OLS. They contradict the Gov.’s Office spin.

More importantly, while the Record gets it exactly right here,

And the administration has not set forth rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions or rolled back Christie-era regulations viewed as harmful to the environment.

They fail to call out the NJ environmental groups that are flat out lying about this, like Tom Gilbert at Rethink NJ and cynical Ed Potosnak at NJ LCV (the lying sack of shit from the “Keep It Greed” campaign)

The Record got it exactly right – there have been no new rules and no new policies and no restoration of Christie DEP rollbacks. NONE. NADA. ZILCH.

Third, there has been no “progress” on the DEP regulatory front.

Gov. Murphy and DEP Commissioner McCabe have not been “chiseling away at the edges” of the Christie DEP’s policies:

“The rollbacks were so massive under Christie that you can’t just chisel away at the edges,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “You need a full reversal. We have seen progress on that front, but not fast enough

This is not a question of the pace of reforms or incremental versus comprehensive reforms. There are no reforms.

This is probably the best illustration of the Murphy DEP failure to reform the status quo:

As I’ve written numerous times, Gov. Murphy and DEP Commissioner McCabe have not only not reversed any Christie DEP regulatory rollback – the C1 buffer rule had already been vetoed by the legislature – they have embraced many Christie DEP anti-environmental pro-business policies, see:

Worse, instead of restoring protections for exceptional C1 stream buffers, the Murphy DEP has actually rolled back existing protections, see:

But you don’t have to take my word for it.

Even the Trump FEMA called out the Murphy DEP for rollbacks to critical stormwater and flooding protections, see:

Finally, there are many important environmental policy issues the Record simply ignored or lacked pace to write about  – and they falsely praised a fatally flawed RGGI – stuff like this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And the DEP is still bungling so the new NRD lawsuits and PFAS Spill Act Directive are destined to fail, see:

I could go on – interested readers should word search many prior posts – but I think you get my drift.

And finally, I hope folks will begin to realize that Gov. Murphy has a bunch of corrupt “green” cheerleaders who are flat out lying to the public about his record.

When will news reports make this point clear?

[End Note: As the Record story noted, to the Gov.’ credit, there is one regulation that the Murphy DEP did in fact strengthen protections, i.e. the upgrading of some 749 exceptional water quality stream miles to “Category One waters”.

However, even that proposal was over-sold, because the prohibition on disturbance of C1 buffers was reduced from 300 to 150 by Gov. Christie’s DEP. I explain all that in this post:


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