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Murphy DEP Eliminates Enforcement Division – Seeks “Greater Alignment”

More Evidence That The Murphy DEP Is Worse Than The Christie DEP

[Update: I confirmed this in a second place. Buried on DEP website bio of Sean Moriarity:

Sean leads DEP’s internal legal team and serves as its general counsel on all matters of regulatory compliance and rule-making, and will oversee the newly created Office of Enforcement Policy. He also is a member of the Commissioner’s executive team, providing input on priority initiatives that include climate change and environmental justice.

This is overt politicization of enforcement. It centralizes control of enforcement in the hands of a former corporate lawyer.

If Gov. Christie and his DEP Commissioner Bob Martin ever did this, the environmental groups would be in the streets, complaining about “taking the cop off the beat” and “giving polluters a pass” and “polluters holiday” at DEP.

Yet not a peep of criticism – and I got no inquiries from media either. Unbelievable collapse. ~~~ end update]

Sometimes you find amazing things reading DEP documents.

Just now I learned, according to the DEP posted official minutes of the Environmental Justice Advisory Council’s June 2021 meeting, that DEP Commissioner LaTourette – former corporate polluter lawyer – has eliminated DEP’s enforcement Division!

And get this, ironically, the justification is “greater alignment”!

(Gov. Christie’s DEP Commissioner Bob Martin coined that phase in seeking “alignment” of DEP’s land use programs, which was a cover story for regulatory rollbacks and insane management re-assignments and bureaucratic reshuffling. But even Commissioner Martin wouldn’t get away with eliminating DEP’s enforcement division on those grounds. Of course, I nailed Martin on his “alignment” rollbacks, which he used to justify both land use “alignment” and federal consistency rollback “alignments”:

The “customer service” & “culture change”  Christie DEP Commissioner Bob Martin rolled back DEP’s Highlands and land use regulations under the guise of “regulatory alignment” and reducing “regulatory burdens” and “red tape”).

But let’s get back to Commissioner LaTourette’s elimination of DEP’s Enforcement Division (which Division, a single Division, or all of them, I don’t know).

Here are the EJAC minutes:

Elimination of Enforcement Division. Kim Gaddy raised concern about the elimination of the DEP Enforcement Division. Glenn explained that the goal is greater alignment between enforcement and respective media. DEP will create the position of Chief Enforcement Officer to coordinate and keep issues on Commissioner’s radar.

“Glenn” is Olivia Glenn, DEP Deputy Commissioner, Environmental Justice and Equity.

Elimination of DEP’s Enforcement Division is certainly not just or equitable, by all criteria.

It sounds like this is a done deal, when the Deputy Commissioner confirms it and defends it and it is posted by DEP in official meeting minutes (Of course, DEP would never issue a press release announcing such a radical move).

I could find nothing about it on DEP’s website and really don’t know enough right now to be more specific about what it means other than it is a very bad development.

[Update: Further review of the September 15 EJAC minutes shows DEP spinning the “elimination of enforcement division” to merely a:

Reorganization of DEP Compliance & Enforcement and reporting structure.

Orwell lives. Or should I say the ghost of Bob Martin lives on in many Christie DEP holdovers who remain in management positions. ~~~ end update]

Kim Gaddy, who sits on the EJAC and works for Clean Water Action, seems to have no problem with this radical move, based on her recent appearance at Gov. Murphy’s press conference, where she praised the Gov. effusively for his environmental efforts.  Based on Gaddy’s remarks, the stenographers in NJ media and the Gov.’s sycophants gave the Gov. high praise:

“The Governor understands we can’t afford incremental change, we can’t be patient, we have to do better, not only in New Jersey, but worldwide,’’ said Kim Gaddy, Environmental Justice Director for Clean Water Action.

“The science tells us that we have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030, and that is what the Governor’s EO will do — otherwise we face cataclysmic effects to our environment that cannot be reversed,’’ she said.

(of course, Gaddy remarks were factually false as I documented here )

When Gov. Christie Whitman abolished the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office, it got strong pushback in the environmental community, the legislature, and the media.

From a day to day environmental compliance perspective, this is actually worse than Whitman, and yet I haven’t heard a peep about it from the green crowd, who cheerlead for Gov. Murphy and Commissioner LaTourette.

Who will tell the people about this?

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