Home > Uncategorized > Christie DEP “Regulatory Hit Man” Promoted To Assistant Commissioner For Natural Resources In Murphy DEP

Christie DEP “Regulatory Hit Man” Promoted To Assistant Commissioner For Natural Resources In Murphy DEP

Bukowski Worked To Provide “Regulatory Relief” and Dismantle DEP Land Use, Air Quality, and Enforcement

Was Involved In Dirty DEP Enforcement Deal With Trump Golf Courses

[Update: 12/18/21 – A tweeter just advised me that Bukowski recently retired.  I have no way to confirm that, as he’s still on DEP website. That’s good news, but does nothing to change this story. Oh, I failed to note that Bukowski was involved in the Christie Administration’s dirty Trump enforcement deal and lied about it (ProPublica story):

In this case, the DEP did assess a fine: Despite five years of violations, just $294,000 — before cutting the amount in half, to $147,000 (plus $2,790 in interest), as part of the settlement. Bukowski asserts that Trump got no special treatment.

The Commissioner was personally involved in the Trump case. That alone is special treatment and Bukowski knows it. Worse, longstanding violations were ignored and DEP’s proposed paltry fine was cut in half. Bukowski lied: (ProPublica):

Clearly unhappy about the situation, Trump got personally involved. In October 2012, he called DEP Commissioner Robert Martin to discuss the matter. What Trump said is unknown, but a letter that Martin sent him afterwards alluded to the discussion:

How does someone spend 8 years of collaboration with the Christie DEP and get caught in a blatant lie on a high profile TRUMP enforcement case, and then get promoted to Assistant Commissioner in a “pro-environment” Democratic administration? Just what does it take to derail a career at DEP? (I know: just leak documents that expose corruption).

As Murphy DEP Assistant Commissioner, Bukowski also attended NJ Audubon’s corrupt Sparta Mountain logging tour. ~~~ end update]

When a new Governor is elected, during the transition process, the DEP management team and about a dozen political appointees are asked to leave and depart by January when the Gov. is sworn in. High level managers that have civil service protections are sent back to the bowels of the bureaucracy and told to stay in their cubicles.

The Christie Administration cleaned house at DEP – perhaps most importantly by abolishing the Office of Climate Change in the Commissioner’s Office – but the Murphy Administration did not.

As a result, there are many holdovers, including what I will call “regulatory hit men” that collaborated with the Christie regime under new Commissioner Bob Martin.

In many ways the Murphy Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is actually worse than the Christie DEP.

We’ve already exposed the fact that the Murphy DEP Commissioner was a corporate lawyer for some of NJ’s biggest corporate polluters, including the Fortress Energy LNG export project.

LaTourette was perhaps the most egregious example of revolving door abuse. His former Director of Legislative Affairs – the controversial Murphy Pinelands nominee now with off shore wind developer Orsted – could be a close second.

The Christie DEP was led by a far less experienced and knowledgeable corporate hack Bob Martin – who was a mere financial consultant and lacked the knowledge to do real damage (compared to LaTourette, who not only is far more knowledgeable, but has been spun successfully by Gov. as a public interest lawyer and a “diverse” and first openly gay DEP Commissioner).

Everyone knew Bob Martin was a corporate consultant and Christie had an anti-regulatory agenda. But, with Murphy, it’s just the opposite: he is spun as a “green leader” and LaTourette as a defender of Erin Brockovich, not the corporate lawyer he was!! LaTourette himself plays these misleading games. So,  compared with Bob Martin, LaTourette is not the “lesser of two evils”. He is – as Glen Ford said of Obama – the more effective evil.

We’ve already exposed the fact that the Murphy DEP not only failed to rescind Christie DEP regulatory rollbacks and strengthen current rules, but instead has re-adopted many Christie DEP rollbacks and gone even further and weakened important stormwater rules.

Current DEP Commissioner LaTourette, while previously representing his corporate polluter clients, actually litigated a case that did much damage to the Natural Resource Damage (NRD) program in DEP.  see:

That NRD program provides huge leverage over corporate polluters, as the public learned in the Exxon $8 billion case, which was corruptly settled by the Christie Administration for pennies on the dollar.

That NRD program is administered by the Assistant Commissioner for Natural Resources, who is now led by a former Christie DEP Hit Man named Ray Bukowski. I strongly doubt that an unqualified yes man – hit man  heading that important NRD program and reporting to a former corporate lawyer Commissioner who successfully litigated against the NRD program on behalf of his corporate clients is a coincidence. Strongly – Doubt – It.

So, today, we expose the fact that there are Christie DEP holdovers who not only continue to do damage below the radar, but were actually promoted.

ray_bukowskiWe start with Murphy DEP Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources, Ray Bukowski.

Bukowski was a willing collaborator and served as a “regulatory hit man” for the Christie DEP.

(A role his Murphy DEP bio describes as “a Management Improvement Specialist in the Commissioner’s Office.” Orwell lives)

I borrowed the term “hit man” from John Perkins’ superb expose: “Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man”.

Everyone knows what the job of a Mafia “hit man” is.

In a similar vein, Perkins spent his career as an “economic hit man” and uses that experience to expose the role of an “economic hit man” as doing the necessary behind the scenes technical work to serve powerful interests:

Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources. Their tools included fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.

There are people who serve the same “hit man” role within the DEP bureaucracy.

During the Christie Administration, DEP Commissioner Bob Martin – a hit man with zero environmental training or experience or knowledge of DEP regulations – launched a vicious attack on DEP regulations.

In his “DEP Transformation Plan” – really code for a policy of dismantling, deregulation, and privatization – here’s what Martin said about DEP regulations – despite the fact that he had absolutely no knowledge or working experience with them:

Regulatory Reform. External and internal stakeholders have identified the need for true reform of the regulatory process for many years, most notably in the last transition reports. The regulatory process is cumbersome, resource intensive, and time consuming. We cannot respond quickly and efficiently to identified needs for rule changes. No effective measures have ever been taken to address this administrative process. DEP must address internal processes and then act as a pilot for the state in identifying APA reforms. Additionally, our rules are prescriptive, not outcome based, and inflexible. DEP must ensure that our regulations truly protect the environment, are science based and further

Martin flat out lied when he claimed that the goal was “regulatory reform”.

Actually, the policy of the Christie administration – as codified in Gov. Christie’s Executive Order #2, which he issued in the first hour of his first day in Office (EO #1 was a moratorium on regulations, EO# 3 was Red Tape Commission and EO#4 blocked state regulatory mandates on local government) – was  an across the board assault and called for a policy of “regulatory relief”, not “regulatory reform”.

EO#2 made the “regulatory relief” policy goal very clear:

For immediate relief from regulatory burdens, State agencies shall

Martin’s  “DEP Transformation Plan” was an effort to implement Gov. Christie’s “regulatory relief” policy.

Everyone in DEP knew that. Non-cooperative DEP staffers were overtly threatened by Deputy Commissioner Kropp’s “Burning Platform” presentation. Remarkably, Martin insanely claimed that he had established  a “New World Order” at DEP. Martin was such a zealot, he even tried to abolish the D&R Canal Commission, a foolish move – like his Bulls Island clearcut plan – that he was repudiated and humiliated on.

But Martin couldn’t do that by himself. Martin desperately needed collaborators to work as his “regulatory hit men”.

He was reliant on DEP “regulatory hit men” – DEP staff that knew enough to collaborate with his regulatory dismantling.

As the “DEP Transformation Plan” noted:

it is imperative to actively include our staff in the transformation process. DEP staff possesses a wealth of knowledge that can help us identify problems and solutions.

Which is where Mr. Bukowski comes in as a collaborator and “regulatory hit man” (read the Transformation Plan to see his specific “hit man” assignments)

Here’s how Martin’s “Transformation Plan” attacked DEP’s land use regulations:

Land Use Regulation. This program is repeatedly the criticism of a host of external, internal DEP and other State agency stakeholders. It is noted as being unresponsive, cumbersome, antiquated, overreaching and expensive due to fees, engineering costs and project overruns. All concerns point to the number one complaint, which is an impediment to economic growth, not due to preservation of resources but rather due to antiquated administrative/technical processes that include no flexibility. Program regulations are too complex and prescriptive. Some regulations are overreaching and overlapping, resulting in programs that face permitting and enforcement conflicts within DEP itself. This often results in confusion on behalf of the regulated community, as they cannot predict what is expected of them in order to comply with our regulations.

There can be no doubt that this is an all out assault on DEP’s land use regulations.

Well, guess who led that “regulatory relief” effort as a “regulatory hit man”?

Yup, Mr. Bukowski.

Here’s how Martin similarly attacked DEP’s air quality regulations, with the additional federal consistency rollback emphasis from Christie’s Executive Order #2:

Air Quality Regulation. This program is criticized by external, internal DEP and other State agency stakeholders as being more stringent than federal regulations, overreaching, over-regulating and expensive due to fees. Program regulations are too complex and prescriptive. Some regulations are overreaching and overlapping, resulting in programs that face permitting and enforcement conflicts within DEP itself.

There can be no doubt that this is an all out assault on DEP’s air quality regulations.

Well, guess who led that “regulatory relief” effort as a “regulatory hit man”?

Yup, Mr. Bukowski.

Take a look at how Martin attacked and sought to scale back DEP’s enforcement:

Enforcement. Interface/interaction with associated partnering programs. Evaluate priorities geared toward focus on true environmental impacts vs. statutory and federal mandates, penalties and settlement authority, interaction with DOL, and process to use new ADR office going forward.

There can be no doubt that this is an all out assault on DEP’s enforcement program.

Well, guess who led that “regulatory relief” effort as a “regulatory hit man”?

Yup, Mr. Bukowski.

Check out how Martin attacked DEP regulation of “linear development”, critical and controversial projects like pipelines:

Linear Construction projects. SRP is working with DOT, Transit, the Turnpike and multiple utility companies to identify how to provide guidance on these unique projects to regulated entities. Most DEP rules are geared toward developers and regulated companies, rarely considering the impact to fast moving linear construction projects. This existing team could be expanded to evaluate how to provide flexibility, guidance and future rule amendment/legislation to accommodate critical infrastructure projects.

There can be no doubt that this was intended to ease DEP regulations on projects like pipelines.

No need to guess. Bukowski was assigned this hit man job too.

And what was the public cover story for all this deeply unpopular corporate “regulatory relief”?

Something that could baffle the media and allow the NJ Green Mafia to greenwash this “regulatory relief” program?

It was the notorious greenwashing slogan “sustainability”:

Sustainability: A steering committee of approximately 12 internal stakeholders will be formed to identify opportunities to promote the application of sustainability science and to incorporate sustainability goals in best management practices both internally and externally. The committee will work with internal and external stakeholders as appropriate. The committee will utilize already existing SAGE workgroup for internal outreach.

Don’t even ask – Bukowski was on that too.

After all this work to weaken environmental protections – including DEP land use protections of natural resources – it is astonishing that Bukowski was not buried in the Siberian DEP bureaucracy. No he was promoted and is now the Murphy DEP Assistant Commissioner with policy control over Natural Resources. 

No wonder corporate lawyer DEP Commissioner LaTourette just abolished DEP’s enforcement program.

No wonder The Highlands Council justified promotion of economic development of 23,000 acres (36 square miles) as “sustainable development”.

As I recently wrote, there is virtually complete continuity between the Christie DEP and the Murphy DEP.

Yet the Green Mafia sycophants cheerlead and the media is AWOL.

Who will tell the people about all this?

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