Home > Uncategorized > Murphy DEP Issues Report That Whitewashes Gov. Christie’s 8 Year Long Record Of Climate Denial And Rollbacks

Murphy DEP Issues Report That Whitewashes Gov. Christie’s 8 Year Long Record Of Climate Denial And Rollbacks

McCabe DEP Pledges Continuity With Flawed Christie DEP Clean Water Policy

Three years late, the Murphy DEP today finally released the Draft 2016 Clean Water Act Section 305(b)/303(d) Report for public comment. (you can read the full Report and see this for how to submit comments).

As mandated by the federal Clean Water Act, the Report:

This report provides the information about New Jersey’s water resources, current water quality conditions, and causes and sources of water quality impairment needed to inform and guide water quality monitoring, restoration and protection efforts conducted at the state, regional, watershed and local levels. The information provided in this report is also used by Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and the State of New Jersey to establish program priorities and funding for restoring, maintaining, enhancing and protecting waters of the State and the uses and benefits (public health, environmental, and economic) they provide.

I’ll get to the water related contents of the Report in a future post, after I have time to digest this massive tome.

But for now, I want to make 2 important points, the first after reading the climate change section:

I)  Climate Whitewash

The history of DEP’s climate related policy is discussed on pages 87-88.

Remarkably, after discussing Gov. Corzine’s 2007 Global Warming Response Act and the DEP’s 2009 Report mandated by the GWR Act, that section has a 9 year gap – it omits 9 years of Christie climate denial and across the board climate related rollbacks, including, among many other things:

1) issuing Executive Orders #1-4, which: a) handcuffed DEP (i.e. a regulatory moratorium, red tape review, regulatory relief policy & cost benefit analysis), b) abdicated policy to local government (i.e. discouraging unfunded state mandates), and c) effectively blocked any DEP regulation of greenhouse gas emissions or adaptation measures (e.g. advanced notice of rule drafts provided to industry prior to rule proposal, giving them a heads up and chance to kill the baby in its crib);

2) abolishing the DEP Office of climate science and policy responsible for coastal resilience/adaptation. That Office was working on DEP led Statewide policy, planning, & regulation and reported directly to the Commissioner. 

The Christie DEP abolished that DEP led Statewide approach and replaced it with a policy of State abdication and DEP outsourcing of the adaptation program to a handful of local pilot “resilience” studies.

3) terminating NJ’s involvement in the RGGI program (after meeting with David Koch);

4) excluding the findings of climate science from his coastal “rebuild madness” plan in the wake o Sandy;

5) publicly calling climate change an “esoteric issue” that the public didn’t “give a damn about”;

6) directing DEP Commissioner Martin to issue an Order to deregulate reconstruction of public infrastructure wiped out by Sandy;

7) ignoring DEP’s Coastal Management Program’s 319 Coastal Assessment Report findings regarding “strategic retreat” from high hazard areas, putting even more people and property at risk. As we wrote;

Huffington Post first wrote about the history and that Plan in their superb November 2012 investigative piece:  Hurricane Sandy Damage Amplified By Breakneck Development Of Coast:

The intensity of development along the coast clearly influenced the scale of the disaster, said Bill Wolfe, a former analyst for the state’s Department of Environmental Protection who now leads the watchdog group New Jersey Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

“There needs to be an acknowledgement that we can’t keep on doing what we’ve done in the past,” Wolfe said. “We have to face up to the problem.”

8) failure to regulate or reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and

9) adopting an Energy Master Plan that promoted massive expansion of fossil gas infrastructure, killed off shore wind development and set back progress on solar and energy efficiency.

Readers should watch the award winning documentary “Years of Living Dangerously – Episode 5″ for that history. Former DEP Commissioner Mauriello and myself – my interview starts at time 40:06 – are interviewed for that episode. 

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The Murphy DEP report also very selectively presents DEP’s and other actions that are directly related to the above Christie rollbacks, without even once mentioning the Christie DEP rollback.

In order to sustain this whitewash, the Murphy DEP Report also had to omit Gov. Murphy’s own self declared keystone climate policy initiatives, including rejoining RGGI (which had the same water related implication as the 2007 GWRA DEP did mention in the Report), promoting off shore wind, and revising the Christie Energy Master Plan.

Get that? In Order to make the whitewash work and avoid exposing the Christie rollback record, the Murphy DEP actually had to omit Gov. Murphy’s signal climate policies.

DEP also omitted mention of the impacts of the Keep It Green Open Space diversion, which defunded DEP clean water programs discussed in the Report.

It is almost as if Bob Martin or one of his political hacks wrote the Murphy DEP Report.

This is remarkable. How does that happen?

How the hell did a dishonest, technical flawed, selective, incomplete and historically inaccurate Report like that – on THE most crucial issue of our time, climate emergency –  pass scrutiny and receive approval of the DEP management team?

It tells me that the Christie hacks and incompetent careerist bureaucrats are still embedded in the DEP bureaucracy.

II) Murphy DEP Continues Failed Christie Anti-Regulatory Policy

Second, I have written many times about how Murphy DEP Commissioner McCabe has pursued a policy of “continuity” with Christie DEP anti-regulatory policies.

This Report provide another stunning example of that McCabe failure.

The first paragraph of the Murphy DEP Report celebrates the Christie DEP anti-regulatory approach to water policy, including using manufactured scientific uncertainty to avoid compliance with the Clean Water Act and TMDL cleanup program, most notably in Barnegat Bay.

The Murphy DEP Report celebrates this horrible Christie DEP record as follows:

The 2016 Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report (Integrated Report) continues the comprehensive, regional approach to water quality assessment launched by the 2014 Integrated Report to support the identification of specific causes and sources of pollution, and to develop management measures tailored to the unique circumstances of one of New Jersey’s five Water Regions each assessment cycle.  … The Barnegat Bay Initiative served as a pilot for this approach, which was expanded to the entire Atlantic Coastal Water Region for the 2014 Integrated Report.

Why is the Murphy DEP continuing Christie DEP policies that set back progress on clean water for almost a decade?

We will be providing a more in depth review in future posts, but for now, are scratching our heads in response to another clear example of failed leadership, mismanagement and incompetence by Murphy DEP Commissioner McCabe.

End Note: the idiots at DEP even retained their OPRA secrecy lie – the disclaimer “DRAFT AND DELIBERATIVE” is splashed across the top of every page. The only reason that was put there was to deny OPRA requests for the document and the data – DEP does this to prevent the public from seeing how their reports change over time. There are often very revealing changes made.

The fact that they left it there either means the document got no management review, or DEP managers are OK with cynical legalistic attempts to frustrate the intent of OPRA.

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