Home > Uncategorized > NJ Gov. Murphy And DEP Off The Hook Again – Dodge Accountability For Actual Climate & “Resilience” Record

NJ Gov. Murphy And DEP Off The Hook Again – Dodge Accountability For Actual Climate & “Resilience” Record

NJ Spotlight Again Diverts From Flawed Or Non-Existent DEP Climate Plans And Regulations

Focus On FEMA Diverts From DEP and Misses The Mark

[Update: 9/19/21 – So called “Resilience” (aka “flood mitigation”) projects not only failed in Jersey City (as discussed below). Hoboken is another major example of failure: (Fund for a Better Waterfront)

Since Superstorm Sandy hit the region nine years ago, Hoboken, aided with a $230 million federal grant, has made a concerted effort to implement a series of flood mitigation measures. New parks on the western side of town include stormwater detention systems. Rain gardens and bioswales have been constructed throughout town. Three wet weather pumping stations, costing tens of millions, have been built since 2010. Yet what has been completed to date was overwhelmed by Ida, which put parts of town under several feet of water, flooding basements and causing untold damage. ~~~ end update]

NJ Spotlight political reporter David Cruz – who I previously praised for opening Pandora’s Box on climate regulations and the “resilience” sham – did a followup story.

Sadly, that story put the final nail in closing Pandora’s box, following corporate PR efforts by PSE&G and efforts by the Murphy administration to divert attention and bury any story about the administration’s actual policy and that would expose the actual regulatory record and fatal flaws in NJ’s billion dollar funded “resilience” projects.

Last night, Cruz ran a followup piece on NJ TeeVee.

Despite the facts I provided to him, the narrative thrust of his new take on the issue is that the problem is not the “obsolete” and “failed” “resilience” projects he originally reported on in Jersey City.

Instead, Cruz now reports that the problem is really a plethora of very good “resilience plans” that just have not been funded!, see:

This is completely false.

Cruz reported on a hodgepodge of local and private groups voluntary plans for specific narrow purposes. Some were not even “plans”, but the equivalent of press releases. These “plans” are all fatally flawed, not because they were not funded, but because they are based on obsolete or lax DEP regulatory standards (i.e. amount and intensity of rainfall, volume and rate of runoff, flood hazard maps, storm surge and flood elevations, etc).

(it’s actually good that these local voluntary piecemeal “resilience plans” were never funded because they were designed to fail – read on)

The real unreported “Pandora’s box” story is:

The planning and regulation of resilience is a State responsibility, under federal and NJ State laws. Here is just one example: (link)

58:16A-50. Short title; declaration of policy

a. This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Flood Hazard Area Control Act.” is in the interest of the safety, health, and general welfare of the people of the State that legislative action be taken to empower the Department of Environmental Protection to delineate and mark flood hazard areas, to authorize the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt land use regulations for the flood hazard area, to control stream encroachments, to coordinate effectively the development, dissemination, and use of information on floods and flood damages that may be available, to authorize the delegation of certain administrative and enforcement functions to county governing bodies and to integrate the flood control activities of the municipal, county, State and Federal Governments.

DEP is the lead agency delegated authority to develop and enforce those plans though regulations.

The State of NJ has no “resiliency plan”.

The DEP has abdicated its statutory responsibility by delegating that planning to local governments and/or outsourcing and privatizing that planning to DEP funded private groups.

DEP has abandoned their regulatory role – the Murphy DEP has not adopted a dingle climate regulation (for greenhouse gas emissions “mitigation” or climate impact “adaptation”).

I told Cruz all that. I also told him that NJ Spotlight was intentionally missing the story and that their coverage was being corruptly influenced by politics and donors.

Cruz responded with a personal attack:


You don’t know me. If you think that I’m writing a press release for a donor, then it’s best that you don’t get to know me. For all your public mouthing off on social media, I would think you’d have something intelligent to say. So far, a lot of bluster. Thanks for not much.

You don’t know how journalism and journalists work.
I don’t know where you developed the notion of funders getting involved in stories.
It’s a fantasy. I was trying to figure out if you were an activist or a gadfly.
You’ve answered my question.

I fired back this:

Dave – Gadfly? I’ve written and worked on dozens of DEP regulations and worked in the field for 35 years (at a policy level, with Gov.’s Offices back to Tom Kean). I was a media critic before Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent”. NJ Spotlight (and Tom Johnson when he was at the Star Ledger) used to quote me all the time. So did Ed Rogers of NJN. I even had a column at NJ.com.

If you deny any role of funders in stories, you are naive beyond repair.

Self censorship by journalists reflects the boundaries they know exist, and those boundaries are political (not fact based) and part of those politics is the desire of funders.

You surely know all this.

Here’s my response, in detail:

A Note To NJ Spotlight On Cheerleading Versus Journalism


But Mr. Cruz is not the only problem at NJ Spotlight – the corruption is systemic.

Another example of this lack of accountability and diversion from DEP and regulatory flaws is today’s NJ Spotlight story by Andrew Lewis:

That story not only ignores DEP’s planning and regulatory role, it buries the lead on fatal flaws with FEMA flood mapping in this quote, several paragraphs into the story:

“We don’t have flood insurance,” Carl said. When he and his wife bought the house in 2019, they learned that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood zone ended just short of their house, running through the center of their backyard. But that worried them little. “We knew about Lost Valley, so we knew there was a chance of flooding, but everybody said it was a one-in-ten-thousand chance.”

Obviously, FEMA’s flood plain maps were wrong. And DEP’s flood plain maps are wrong for the same reasons.

They are wrong because they fail to consider climate science.

Ironically, FEMA themselves criticized NJ DEP for this failure, calling it a “significant deficiency”. FEMA wrote THIS to DEP:

To highlight, FEMA finds that the abandonment of the nonstructural stormwater management in design and the absence of restrictions in the increase in runoff volume post-development to be significant deficiencies.

FEMA is also concerned that the proposed rule does not consider future conditions of increasingly intense precipitation that is expected with climate change. 

The use of the term Green Infrastructure will not offset the proposed changes to the nonstructural stormwater management strategies and the multiple missed opportunities to reduce riverine and urban flooding impacts.

Let me rephrase FEMA’s warning to NJ DEP – maybe NJ Spotlight will report it:

[the DEP] rule does not consider future conditions of increasingly intense precipitation that is expected with climate change. 

As a result of these flaws, thousands of people live in dangerous flood hazard areas and don’t know it.

As a result of these flaws, people are unknowingly buying homes in hazardous locations and putting their families and financial futures at risk.

As a result of these flaws, billions of dollars of property located in dangerous flood hazard areas is not insured.

As a result of thee flaws, developers are being allowed to build in hazardous locations and pass the costs on to the public.

As result of these flaws, we are wasting billions of dollars on fatally flawed “resilience” projects that are “antiquated” and designed to fail because they are designed to meet “obsolete” DEP regulatory standards that do not reflect climate science.

As the late great reporter William Greider said: Who will tell the people?

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
You must be logged in to post a comment.