Home > Uncategorized > Murphy DEP Flat Out Lying About Failure To Include A Public Hearing On Major Rollback Of Toxic Site Cleanup Standards

Murphy DEP Flat Out Lying About Failure To Include A Public Hearing On Major Rollback Of Toxic Site Cleanup Standards

DEP “Postpones” a non-existent public hearing

DEP caught trying to stealth a major rollback while public diverted by COVID

Yesterday, I posted a brief overview of flaws in DEP’s proposed rollback of toxic site cleanup standards.

I also immediately submitted a formal comment to DEP demanding that the proposal be withdrawn. I made this demand because DEP not only proposed this major rollback during a Gubernatorial declared public health emergency, but DEP also failed to include a legally required public hearing.

So, I was shocked to read an email from DEP providing a public notice that DEP was extending the public comment period and a “postponement of public hearing on proposal”:


Take notice that the Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is extending the comment period for the proposed new rules, amendments, and repeals at N.J.A.C. 7:26D, Remediation Standards, and postponing the public hearing. The remediation standards apply to contaminated sites throughout the State. […]

The Department is also postponing the public hearing on the proposal, which was originally scheduled for May 11, 2020.

Say what?

How can DEP “postpone” a public hearing that never existed?

There was no May 11, 2020 public hearing included in the original proposal.

They are flat out lying.

Here are the facts. Here is the language from the DEP proposal. Note that not only was there no public hearing scheduled, DEP never even made a commitment to hold a public hearing. They only “anticipated” a hearing, but then said they might not hold one:

The Department anticipates holding a public hearing on the proposal. The date and time of the hearing will depend on circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 public health emergency. If the Department holds a hearing, the public comment period will be extended until after the hearing.

Further information on a public hearing, if one is held, will be posted on the Department’s website at www.nj.gov/dep/rules/notices.html at least 15 days prior to the date of the hearing. Notice will also be sent to those who have subscribed to the Department’srulemaking listserv. To subscribe, go to www.nj.gov/dep/rules/subscribe.html.

DEP got caught and called out for trying to stealth a major regulatory rollback during a public health emergency.

The new public notice today is merely a CYA move and it is in response to my comment, where I blasted them (see also update #3 on yesterday’ post):

** Electronic Rulemaking Comment **

Submisison Date (sic): 04/06/2020 18:53:08

First Name: Bill

Last Name: Wolfe

Affiliation: citizen

Dear DEP:

As you know, Gov. Murphy has declared a statewide public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As you also know, the NJ Administrative Procedures Act requires that a public hearing be held on a major regulatory policy proposal.

It is totally inappropriate and unlawful for DEP to propose a major regulatory change during such a declared emergency, which the DEP itself admits makes it impossible for the public to participate, as required by the NJ Administrative Procedures Act.

The DEP admits this by failure to include a public hearing (“if” a public hearing is held).

This proposal was not subject to the calendar requirements of the NJ APA. That compounds the need for a public hearing on the proposal, as the public was blindsided.

Given the declared emergency, the APA calendar issue, and the lack of a public hearing, the proposal must be withdrawn immediately via public notice in the NJ Register.

I reserve my rights to submit additional comments on the proposal.

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