Archive for June, 2021

Groundhog Day On PennEast Pipeline – As Predicted, US Supreme Court Backs PennEast (Just Like Biden Did)

June 30th, 2021 No comments

Once Again, We Are Forced To Say “I Told You So”

Failed Strategy, Failed Media, Failed Politics

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Under my administration, America is producing more oil than at any time in the last eight years. We’ve opened up new areas for exploration. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some,” Obama said (source)

Does anyone remember, no so long ago, when Tom Gilbert spiked the ball and claimed that a federal court had “stopped PennEast in its tracks”?

When NJ Attorney General Grewal bragged about his “major victory”?

When the Watershed Wimps spouted drivel about this “groundbreaking ruling”?

Or when NJ Spotlight drank this Kool-Aid and was sure to tell readers that “The Murphy Administration sees it as a big victory”?

At the time (September 11, 2019), of course I called BS on this spin:

They are exaggerating, misleading the public, making factually false statements, and simply not telling the full story. The decision is not a “groundbreaking ruling”, not a “major victory”, and will not “stop the project in its tracks”.

By making these exaggerated and false claims, they are undermining activist efforts to block all proposed pipelines and all fossil infrastructure, to inject climate change in regulatory decisions, and to enforce the Clean Water Act.

We exposed the failed focus on open space, see:

I want to make a few points of contrast to explain why the response by conservationists to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision on the PennEast pipeline is so wrong headed, selfish, counter-productive, diversionary, and outright dangerous.

And we exposed the failed neglect and outright lies about DEP’s regulatory power, most recently last January, see:

Once again, they got it wrong on the permit status. NJ Spotlight wrote:

“In October, the DEP denied PennEast’s application for a water-quality permit for the second time, saying the Third Circuit’s ruling means the company “no longer has the legal authority to perform activities” on the 49 parcels.”

Spotlight got it wrong again – the DEP phrase “no longer has the legal authority” issue is NOT a denial of the permits on the technical merits. The DEP deemed the applications incomplete because company can’t submit a complete application because they are blocked from condemning state land.

As a result of the Supreme COurt’s decision, PennEast is no longer blocked from condemning state land, so the ball will soon be back in DEP’s court for a real substantive regulatory decision on PennEast permits.

[For the complete 9/11/19 post, see;  Here’s How To Really Kill The PennEast Pipeline]

Well, yesterday the US Supreme Court – in a 5-4 decision – reversed that “groundbreaking ruling“, wiped out that “major victory” and put PennEast right on track.

So once again, we are forced to say “We told you so!” (something I’ve been vindicated on multiple times for more than a decade now). Once again, these fools got it wrong and are caught FERC-ing off.

Are there no consequences for failure? Or is failure rewarded?

It is remarkable that these idiots don’t lose any credibility for repeated failure, but instead garner even MORE Foundation and wealthy donor money (especially from those rich white people in Hunterdon County with art studio’s and organic gardens) and media coverage.

But that’s not all.

In today’s NJ Spotlight story that reported on this US Supreme Court decision, all the prior celebrations and spin were completely ignored.

Even worse, NJ Spotlight coverage and Tom Gilbert again:

1) failed to mention the Water Quality Certification issue, which is the only regulatory tool DEP has to actually kill the pipeline;

2) failed to mention that the Biden Administration’s legal brief to the Supreme Court supported PennEast, a huge betrayal, (for that brief, see:

3) misled readers about a fake DEP permit denial (DEP did not deny the permits on substantive grounds that are enforceable, i.e. WQC denial on the merits)

Back in March 2021, upon learning of the Biden Supreme Court brief, I went out of my way to highlight the fact that Biden was contradicting his own climate commitments and to explain the implications of the likely Supreme Court loss. I wrote:

In the likely event that the 6-3 right wing Supreme Court agrees [with the Biden and NJ BIA briefs], the implications are nation-wide and a disaster for climate and anti-pipeline activists. The NJ BIA brief makes those implications very clear

I also reiterated (for the 10th time?) a strategy that can kill the pipeline and survive judicial scrutiny:

The Biden brief exposes the misguided strategy of NJ’s “Green Mafia”, who have relied on private property protections and virtually ignored State Police powers and DEP’s regulatory powers under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to kill the PennEast and other pipelines.

We’ve been writing about that and NY State and Connecticut’s 401 WQC denials, and criticizing NJ fools like Tom Gilbert for their failure to focus on it for over 4 years, see:

Media should ask AG Grewal if NJ DEP is willing to pull that legal trigger. [i.e. legal support of DEP’s WQC denial]

Because NJ Attorney General Grewal has pledged to enforce other legal authorities to kill the pipeline, so let me repeat that point:

Media should ask AG Grewal if NJ DEP is willing to pull that legal trigger. [i.e. legal support of DEP’s WQC denial]

I would expect that the real climate and anti-pipeline activists [i.e. the Empower NJ Coalition] have a sign-on letter to Gov. Murphy all teed up – demanding that DEP deny the WQC – a letter they should deliver to the Governor at a huge Trenton protest.

I get tired of this Groundhog Day.

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DEP Issues Dirty Water Report – Delays Critical Cleanup Plans And Ignores Harmful Algae Blooms, Toxic Chemicals, And Climate Change

June 24th, 2021 No comments

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The NJ State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has successfully flouted numerous NJ State environmental laws that mandate the DEP submit annual public Reports to the Legislature about the Department’s performance in enforcing State environmental laws, e.g. Reports required by the NJ Clean Water Enforcement Act, the Private Well Testing Act, the Right To-Know and Pollution Prevention Acts, toxic site cleanup priorities, the “Doria” Permit Report, et al.

The DEP issued the last “Doria Permit Activity Report” in 2006 – 15 years ago!

Those annual Reports provided important information to the public, the media, and legislators about critical environmental issues and served to hold DEP and corporate polluters accountable.

Historically, they became an embarrassing spectacle of bad press, as the Reports invariably revealed that NJ’s huge pollution problems persisted, that polluters were making little progress in reducing pollution yet were not being subjected to strict enforcement by DEP, and that DEP rubber stamped 95% of permit applications despite severe air and water pollution, while failing to consider critical issues like climate change and environmental justice.

Historically, Tom Johnson would have a front page Star Ledger story, often published the day after the DEP issued the Report.

So DEP simply just stopped issuing them. Many of the links to these Reports are dead on DEP’s website. Down Orwell’s Memory Hole!

And the media just stopped reporting on them. Or reporting on DEP’s failure to issue them (with one exception, where I successful pitched this issue to an AP reporter).

And Foundation funded environmental groups stopped working on these issues.

But, DEP can not simply flout federal environmental laws that mandate that DEP issue various public Plans and Reports. DEP must comply and issue those Reports (or the EPA would withhold federal funding which provides over 25% of DEP’s budget, last time I looked).

I recently wrote about a critical State Implementation Plan mandated by the federal Clean Air Act, see:

Yet media completely ignored it. [Note: Just like they ignored DEP’s proposed Statewide Forest Action Plan to manage NJ’s forests.]

Earlier this week, DEP released for public comment a major biennial Report mandated by the federal Clean Water Act, see:

Will the media completely ignore that too? They missed DEP Statewide plans for air, water, forests. What else can they miss?

Will these dirty air and water Reports force environmental groups and their Foundation funders to reconsider their current issue focus and priorities? Why are no environmental groups working on these fundamental issues? Why are no Foundations funding this work?

We’ll be digesting that DEP Dirty Water Report in future posts. For now, after a cursory review, I want to very briefly highlight just the most glaring deficits in the DEP Report:

1. DEP Again Delayed A Cleanup Plan for Barnegat Bay 

Over a decade ago, a Rutgers scientist testified to the legislature, warning that Barnegat Bay was on the verge of ecological collapse. He criticized Gov. Christie’s Management Plan and urged the DEP to significantly ramp things up, see:

The federal Clean Water Act requires that when a waterbody does not meet water quality standards (technically know as “impaired), DEP is required to develop and enforce a cleanup plan, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

But DEP has flouted this mandate for over a decade and simply has refused to develop a TMDL for Barnegat Bay. It was so blatant, even EPA was forced to reject DEP’s plans.

In this 2018-2020 Report, DEP again defers and delays a TMDL cleanup plan for Barnegat Bay. DEP classifies the Bay a “medium” priority for a TMDL. It will be at least 2-4 more years before a TMDL is even begun. We told you this was coming 3 years ago.

2. DEP Ignores Harmful Toxic Algae Blooms In Lakes And Coastal Waters

For the last few summers, everyone knows that many NJ lakes have been closed due to toxic Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB’s).

Already, HAB’s proliferated this year, before summer even began.

Yet the DEP Report, which is supposed to provide public information about the health of NJ waters and set priorities for the protection and cleanup of critical State waterways – ignores HAB’s.

While DEP has issued various press release and purely voluntary State plans on HAB’s, because they are not regulatory under NJ State law and they not included in this Report, they are not subject to federal EPA oversight and are not federally enforceable.

That critical lack of federal oversight applies to all the other issues I mention here that DEP has ignored by failing to include them in this CWA Report.

Lake Hopatcong, another highly significant State waterbody, also is ranked a MEDIUM PRIORITY for TMDL cleanup – and there is no mention of HARMFUL ALGAE BLOOMS THAT IMPAIR THE LAKE!

[Note: DEP adopted a weak “framework” nutrient TMDL in 2003 for Lake Hopatcong and otters lakes, but it was never implemented or enforced and has been virtually ignored by DEP, EPA, environmental groups and the media. Do they even know it exists? More on that in a forthcoming post.]

Toxic Harmful Algae Blooms also threaten coastal water, bays and NJ seafood, see:

DEP ignores all this.

Worse, DEP is not proposing any NEW NUTRIENT REDUCTION TMDL mandatory pollution ratchet downs for so many freshwater Lakes and Bays that are suffering TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMS.

3. DEP Is Violating federal Clean Water Act Cleanup Plan Requirements

The DEP Report provides several examples of DEP’s attempts to delay or completely avoid mandatory  TMDL cleanup plans under the CWA.

For example, this DEP policy is an end run around and a violation of the Section 303 of the Clean Water Act:

“Sublist 5R – Development of a watershed restoration plan can be an effective alternative to a formal TMDL”

“Effective alternative”?

This DEP policy also is a blatant violation of Section 303 of the Clean Water Act:

“Waters that exceed SWQS require the development of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) or other alternative approaches to address the impairment”

“Other alternative approaches”?

4. DEP Is Ignoring The Impacts Of Climate Change On Water Quality

Everyone now knows that climate change is now having and will have even worse major impacts on, among other things, water resources.

Yet, DEP Report simply ignores all that science.


5. DEP Is Ignoring The Impacts Of Toxic Unregulated Chemicals, Like Pharmaceuticals and Endocrine Disruptors

Unfortunately, not everyone knows that DEP knows that there are over 500 unregulated chemicals present in NJ waters and that those chemicals have unknown toxic effects on ecosystems, fisheries, and human health.

For the human health implications, I remind readers that the Toms River childhood cancer cluster was caused by unregulated chemicals.

For the ecological implications, see:

The two major categories of those unregulated chemicals are pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors.

For the implications of endocrine disruptors, see:

For the implications of pharmaceuticals, see:

The DEP Report simply ignores all that science.


6. The Large Majority of NJ Waterways Remain Severely Polluted

(see above chart)

7. Voluntary and Local Watershed Efforts Have Failed

Since the 1996 Watershed Management Act (a law which unfortunately I must confess I wrote), DEP has largely abandoned their mandatory planning and regulatory tools in favor of voluntary, local, watershed planning.

That law provided funding, which has fueled the growth of local watershed groups across the State. State money is compounded by Foundation grant funds. The Foundations also fund voluntary local efforts, not State DEP regulatory mandates.

The watershed program has been a total failure (i.e volunteer and watershed groups provide less than 2% of the water quality data DEP relies on. Which also validates my criticism that environmental groups have just stopped working on these issues).

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Flathead River (Montana)

June 20th, 2021 No comments

We turned 64 here

To paraphrase my friend Neil Young: “64 and there’s so much more”

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Old Man (1972 – Neil Young – Listen):

Old man, look at my life

Twenty four and there’s so much more

Live alone in a paradise

That makes me think of two

Love lost, such a cost

Give me things that don’t get lost

Like a coin that won’t get tossed

Rolling home to you

Old man, take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you

I need someone to love me the whole day through

Ah, one look in my eyes and you can tell that’s true

And I’m still searching for a Heart of Gold.

Just a Coyote.

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Murphy DEP’s Proposed Clean Air Plan Ignores The Climate Emergency And NJ’s Environmental Justice Law

June 15th, 2021 No comments

DEP Plan Required To Ratchet Down On Pollution To Attain Federal EPA Clean Air Act Ozone Standards

An Example Of Gaslighting: Rhetoric Versus Regulation

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[Update below]

The Murphy DEP just proposed revisions to NJ’s federal Clean Air Act mandated State Implementation Plan (SIP), see:

The Ozone SIP has huge implications for public health, environmental justice, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and conversion of NJ’s transportation sector to zero emission electric vehicles. 

The “mobile source” powers even provide back door land use leverage to restrict or effectively block traffic intensive land uses, like warehouses (e.g.  just think if DEP mandated that new warehouses not only had to be net zero emissions, but also had to have 100% electric trucks. Solar ready? that’s political cover, not science based policy).

The SIP revisions were required by US EPA in order to demonstrate how NJ would come into compliance with federal EPA’s ground level ozone standards – technically the entire state of NJ is in “non-attainment” status for ozone and the problem is serious and getting worse. According to DEP’s SIP revision:

The purpose of this State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision is to address the requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) regarding New Jersey’s plan for attaining the 2008, 75 ppb 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) in its Northern New Jersey multi-state nonattainment area by its attainment date of July 20, 2021. This nonattainment area was reclassified from moderate to serious by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) effective on September 23, 2019.

It is not clear, but I suspect that a more restrictive plan is required to meet the lower existing 70 ppb standard -which scientists have criticized as inadequately protective:

  • On December 23, 2020, the [Trump] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acted to retain, without revision the primary and secondary ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The standards, established in 2015 by the Obama-Biden Administration, are set at 70 parts per billion (ppb), in terms of a 3-year average of the annual fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour average ozone concentrations.

A huge coalition of scientists, environmental groups criticized the Trump EPA for retaining that 70 ppl Obama EPA standard: (WaPo)

“There is powerful, overwhelming evidence that shows that this standard is not adequate to protect the health of Americans,” the group said in a statement. “EPA’s proposal violates the core purpose of these standards under the Clean Air Act: to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety.”

Curious, those same groups were silent when the Obama EPA withdrew and later adopted that “inadequate” standard (something we wrote about at the time (Obama’s first term) and later during Trump’s EPA.)

Regardless, there is no doubt that ground level ozone is a significant threat to public health. NJ has failed to attain the ozone standard for decades.

Ozone pollution disproportionately impacts urban “environmental justice” communities and is exacerbated by increasing temperatures driven by the climate emergency (i.e. see: “urban heat island” effect). Many ozone precursors are volatile organic compounds that are hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that cause serious public health impacts and risks, like cancer. Many pollution sources have localized “hot spot” and “cumulative impact” environmental justice concerns . Many ozone precursor pollutants also contribute to global warming and their effects are magnified by global warming.

DEP’s own Climate Science Report (July 2020) noted the interactions between ozone and climate and EJ:

Increases in temperature expected as a result of climate change could intensify air pollution as well as respiratory and cardiovascular health concerns. Such impacts are of particular concern for already overburdened environmental justice communities.

But when it comes to putting that science and press release rhetoric into enforceable regulations, DEP takes a walk.

Remarkably, none of this is even mentioned – never mind addressed – in the DEP’s SIP.

The climate  and EJ issues, however, ARE included in the SIP, but only in rhetoric, not in regulation – a critical distinction.

But these issues are implicit and DEP evasively alludes to these issues, but ultimately dismisses them as “Another complexity”:

Another complexity involves the nonlinear relationship between NOx and VOC levels and ozone formation. Areas, such as the majority of the landscape in the OTR, that have extensive forests that produce high levels of isoprene and other VOCs during the summer month achieve the best ozone reduction through reductions in regional NOx, but dense urban areas such as New York City that lack natural VOC production can be VOC limited, and in some cases NOx reductions increase ozone levels due to less NOx being available to destroy already formed ozone through titration.

Serious consideration of climate and environmental justice would force radical changes in DEP’s air quality planning and regulatory programs – from everything from the location of air monitoring stations to the scientific methods for risk assessment and air quality modeling.

But despite the passage of recent environmental justice legislation and the 2007 Global Warming Response Act, DEP has not even begun to make these kind of changes, as this SIP reveals.

In addition to neglecting climate and environmental justice, quite honestly, I could not understand the specific regulatory mandates DEP was planning in order to reduce pollution levels necessary to attain the EPA standards (unless all that is implicit in the models). Let’s hope EPA holds NJ’s feet to the fire on that and makes critical issues transparent.

So, here’s some background on the DEP plan and suggestions on how to pierce the regulatory jargon and spin to read this complex document.

The core elements of the DEP SIP plan are called “Control Measures” (see Chapter 3) – they are regulatory mandates on industry that require specific reductions in emissions of chemical pollutants that cause or contribute to the formation of ground level ozone.

In accordance with Section 172(c)(1) of the CAA (or 42 U.S.C. §7502(c)(1)) states are required to implement all RACM as expeditiously as practicable as part of their effort to attain the NAAQS.

But even in Chapter 3, keep an eye out for DEP weasel words, like this:

State Voluntary Mobile Measures

Emission reduction estimates in this section are not being relied on to meet any required SIP milestones but support the States goal of ozone attainment.

The SIP also must include an “Attainment Demonstration” (see Chapter 6) that provides the data and modeling on exactly how the mandatory reductions will attain the ozone standards. 

NJ based petro-chemical, pharmaceutical, and energy Industries have long strongly opposed DEP regulatory mandates to ratchet down on pollution, often blaming “mobile sources” (cars and trucks) for the problem.  DEP has long deferred to these self serving industry arguments and delayed the necessary ratchet down on pollution controls on both industrial and mobile sources required to achieve the ozone standards and protect public health.

Historically, to mask these failures and avoid accountability – going back to the Whitman “open for business” administration – DEP and NJ industry have claimed that out of state pollution is the major cause of the problem.

The Murphy DEP continues to assert this lame excuse:

The transport of ozone from sources upwind of the nonattainment area continues to contribute significantly to the poor ozone air quality in the Northern NJ-NY-CT nonattainment area, particularly at monitors located in Connecticut. […]

Modeling Studies Confirm That Emissions From New Jersey Sources Do Not Significantly Contribute to the Remaining Nonattainment Area Ozone Levels

The results of recent ozone source apportionment modeling and zero-out ozone sensitivity modeling demonstrate that New Jersey actions by themselves, regardless of stringency, are insufficient to achieve attainment levels of ozone in the nonattainment area.

The DEP also has engaged in a lot of finger pointing, by blaming EPA and other states. The Murphy DEP continues this bureaucratic game – an incredible hypocrisy given NJ’s proposed major increase in transportation related emissions (new roads (and ports and airports) like the Turnpike and GS parkway expansions, create more vehicle miles travelled, and more pollution from mobile sources): Here’s DEP finger pointing:

Mobile Source Rules: Upwind states should adopt mobile source measures similar to those in New Jersey such as the California Low Emission Vehicle Program. The USEPA must also do its part to address mobile source emissions that contribute the largest portion of total NOx emissions within the nonattainment area as well as the region.

This behind the scenes industry lobbying and bureaucratic finger pointing largely explain why NJ has failed to attain federal EPA ozone standards.

The Murphy DEP has even gone so far as to echo the polluters’ discredited economic attacks and blame public health protection and environmental regulations for economic growth concerns. I’ve heard this Big Lie spouted by the Chamber of Commerce and NJ BIA for decades, so its disturbing to find it in the DEP’s own SIP:

New Jersey does not yet meet the federal ozone NAAQS. Therefore, the federal Clean Air Act requires new sources of NOx (e.g., power plants) and VOCs (e.g., gasoline refineries) to offset their NOx and VOC emissions by buying emissions “credits” that are sold by other facilities. Emissions offset credits can be costly and time-consuming to obtain, which is an added burden on new businesses or existing businesses that want to expand. Some upwind neighbors contribute significantly to New Jersey’s ozone problem, but they do not have to comply with the “offset” requirements that sources in New Jersey do if those states meet the ozone standard. Thus, a company that wants to build a facility in the Northeast might find states upwind of New Jersey more economically attractive.

Amazingly, not one NJ environmental group, public health group, or environmental justice group requested that DEP hold a public hearing on this SIP revision, which has tremendous implications for air quality, public health, and climate justice.

As I’ve written many times, the Foundations do not fund this essential regulatory work and therefore NJ environmental groups no longer do it.

Just as remarkably, DEP used this ENGO failure to cancel the scheduled public hearing on the proposed SIP revisions. Just what the corporate polluters wanted, as they remain below the radar. Here’s is DEP’s public notice:

Take notice that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) will not be holding a public hearing on July 13, 2021, or on another date, because a public hearing was not requested.

So, let me just highlight the major flaws in the SIP revision. Keep in mind that the core regulatory requirements that actually require that pollution emissions are reduced are established in the  “Control Measures” (Chapter 3)  and “Attainment Demonstration” (Chapter 6).

It is critically important to keep this in mind because the DEP Ozone SIP plan does include a lot of rhetoric – which has no regulatory meaning and is not enforceable – about climate change and environmental justice. Basically, DEP inserted the text of a press release in a regulatory plan – but it was done in a way that is not enforceable (or subject to EPA oversight).

This distinction between rhetoric and binding regulations exposes the Murphy DEP Ozone SIP as a highly misleading fraud.

Similarly, it is critically important to distinguish actual regulatory controls with plans to develop future regulatory controls.

It is also critical to distinguish quantified pollution emissions reductions with rhetorical assertions and aspirational goals.

The Murphy DEP plan is largely written in the future tense and does not quantify emissions reductions associated with either future proposals or rhetorical program assertions (unless all that is implicit in the models). Here is a perfect example of that:

New Jersey is in the process of preparing the following rules to address NOx and VOCs. […]

The Murphy DEP plan includes a lengthy Executive Summary that rhetorically describes various air pollution related programs and State funding for those programs.

But there is a huge difference between air pollution related programs and program funding and actual biding, quantified, and enforceable regulations on pollution reductions.

Finally, it is important to distinguish taking credit for prior accomplishments with current and binding future regulatory actions.

The Murphy DEP SIP is loaded with descriptions of prior actions, but very thin on current and binding future regulatory mandates.

For all these reasons, the headline correctly notes that the DEP SIP “ignores” climate and environmental justice – because it does so rhetorically and not with science and binding regulation.

The essential distinction that must be kept in mind while reading the document is between an enforceable regulatory standard and a press release.

So, with that context in mind, here are the major flaws.

1. DEP’s Ozone SIP Revision Ignores Climate Emergency

The DEP SIP (see Chapters 3 and 6) does not include a discussion of the relationships between ozone and GHG emissions or the climate emergency.

The DEP SIP does not include enforceable mandatory pollution emissions reductions regarding greenhouse gases and NJ’s aspirational 80% GHG reduction goal in the Global Warming Response Act.

Here’s how DEP rhetorically addresses climate: (emphases mine):


In addition to the above legislation, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order Number 100 (EO 100) on January 27, 2020 that initiated a targeted regulatory reform effort that will modernize New Jersey environmental laws. EO 100 is referred to as Protecting Against Climate Threats (NJ PACT). NJ PACT will usher in systemic change, modernizing air quality and environmental land use regulations, that will enable governments, businesses and residents to effectively respond to current climate threats and reduce future climate damages.

As a national leader in environmental protection, over the next two years, the NJDEP will create a regulatory roadmap to reduce emissions, build resilience, and adapt to a changing climate. This includes the enactment of new air pollution regulations that achieve critically needed reductions in carbon dioxide and short-lived climate pollutants (e.g., methane and black carbon) including technology-forcing measures that pave the way for a clean-energy economy. A number of the new air pollution regulations promulgated pursuant to the NJ PACT to address carbon dioxide and SLCPs will also have the co-benefit of reductions of emissions of ozone precursors.

And notice how DEP just again quietly delayed the implementation date of the climate PACT regulations by 2 years! (BTW, if you hit that link, notice that DEP has taken down all the PACT Stakeholder meeting information, including the specific lists of regulations that DEP pledged to revise to address climate. This makes it impossible for the public to see what rules must be revised and allows DEP to spoon feed single rules to manipulate perception of DEP progress. So, when they put up their monitoring/reporting rule, it makes it look like they’re doing a lot when they’re not).

2. DEP’s Ozone SIP Revision Ignores Environmental Justice

Environmental justice is given similar rhetorical treatment – where aspiration goals, programs and funding are described, but there are no quantified and mandatory actual pollution emissions reductions, especially in environmental justice communities (which are not part of DEP’s air quality monitoring, modeling, or risk assessment programs):

Finally, on February 16, 2021, Governor Murphy announced an investment of more than $100 million in clean, equitable transportation projects that will improve air quality and reduce the effects of climate change while moving New Jersey towards 100 percent clean energy by 2050 . Leveraging proceeds from RGGI and the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Funds will bring electrification programs, equitable mobility projects, and electric charging infrastructure to New Jersey’s environmental justice communities.

There is no doubt the these are complex issues and that DEP has historically implemented a fairly rigorous air quality program.

But that was longs ago and DEP continues to rest on those laurels instead of making the radical changes demanded by the climate emergency and environmental justice.

And the Foundations, environmental groups, and media have totally abandoned this field, so there is no accountability – the entire DEP air quality planning and regulatory program has devolved to cheerleading for political rhetoric.

[End Note:

The DEP SIP also includes a pollution emissions inventory (for ozone precursors, but the thresholds are high for including an emission source).

But among all the data tables and pie and bar charts, you can not find the names and locations of individual corporate polluters or industrial facilities (aside from the consent decrees at mostly refineries).

The manner in which DEP presents the emissions inventory data provides cover for corporate polluters.

It is totally useless for citizens seeking to identify. pollution sources in their communities.

This too must change.


I have written many times about very similar failures in the NJ DEP’s air toxics regulatory program and explained why the recent NJ environmental justice law will not fix them, so I thought I’d put all those posts together here for the curious reader/activist or intrepid journalist, see:

end update]

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