Home > Uncategorized > Murphy DEP Issues Another Climate Science Report – And Does Nothing

Murphy DEP Issues Another Climate Science Report – And Does Nothing

No “Climate Emergency” Declaration By Gov. Murphy

No Moratorium On New Fossil Infrastructure

No DEP Regulations To Mandate Consideration Of This Science Or Mitigate Impacts

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(Source: Figure 1. Maps and model estimates for 2051 levels of ozone across New Jersey)

The DEP just issued an “Addendum” to their 2020 Report on Climate Science, see:

As the title suggests, the Report focuses on devastating public health impacts currently occurring and projected to worsen due to the climate emergency.

As I expected, the Report was given glowing superficial news coverage by NJ Spotlight – I have not searched for or read any other NJ media stories.

The science is not new, but some recent data on the increasing rate of adverse NJ health effects is.

The inclusion of the health effects of ultra fine particulates is good, because that is an issue that has long been downplayed or flat out ignored by DEP in their air pollution permitting and regulations.

I have not conducted a close reading of the Report, so for today, I will make a few observations on the policy and regulatory implications of the science, which, as usual, were completely ignored by NJ Spotlight’s story (other than this casual allusion at the end of the story:

The supplement to the 2020 study is expected to better inform the public on the health impacts of climate change and to steer the state’s planning and preparation for a worsening climate crisis. It also is expected to inform the development of the state’s climate change resilience strategy.

“Steer state planning” and “expected to inform”? Are you kidding me?

And, also as usual, NJ climate activists are giving the Gov. and DEP another pass by focusing on the national level and Biden, instead of controversial issues right in their backyard before Gov. Murphy and DEP:

The report was released at the start of Climate Week and coincided with a separate event by New Jersey’s most prominent environmental groups calling on the Biden administration to enact stronger pollution standards to protect public health and to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change.

So, here are some of the NJ based policy implications of the DEP Report that NJ’s “most prominent environmental groups” ignore:

1. Despite Climate Emergency And Increasing Health Impacts, Gov. Murphy Fails To Declare A Climate Emergency Or Impose a Moratorium On New Fossil Infrastructure

For years, climate activists have called on Gov. Murphy to use his Executive powers to declare a climate emergency and impose a moratorium on DEP approvals of new fossil infrastructure.

If not now, when?

2. DEP Proposed Power Plant CO2 and Environmental Justice Rules Do Not Mandate Consideration And Mitigation Of The Health Impacts Documented By DEP Report 

Despite the science documenting devastating health impacts on poor and minority overburdened and highly vulnerable designated “environmental justice communities”, the previously proposed DEP rules on CO2 emissions from certain large fossil power plants and on “EJ permitting” do not mandate consideration of these health effects and do not mandate mitigation of the harms created by regulated activities.

3. DEP Has Not Yet Even Proposed Climate Adaptation Land Use Regulations

No further comment required. All slogans: “resilience”, “adaptation”, “PACT” and “REAL” – it’s all FAKE.

Years of Talking Dangerously.

4. The Science Supports Shut Down Of Garbage, Hospital, And Sludge Incinerators

The findings include this:

The combustion of refuse produces not only the normal pollutants (e.g., CO, SO2, NO2, particulate matter, etc.), but can also release an abundance of toxic chemicals including, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, furan, & PCBs.

We say, shut them down:

See Section 3.1-1.1 Air Pollution from Biomass Combustion.

If DEP were serious about negative health impacts of fine particulates from fires, they would ban agricultural burning & prescribed burns; (and repeal immunity for harms), shut down garbage, sludge & medical wast incinerators; & regulate wood stoves (and ban new fossil combustion – gas plants emit ultra-fine particulates – as well as revise numerous air quality program regulations – see below)

5. The Science Supports Bans On “Prescribed Burns” And Logging Of Remaining Forests

The Report walks back prior DEP’s public statements that exaggerated NJ wildfire risks:

While the scale of wildfires in NJ does not compare to regions in the western United States, a significant portion of its homes are adjacent to forested areas, making even the small fires a concern for human health & property.

We called DEP Commissioner LaTourette out on those exaggerations:

The DEP’s “prescribed burn” and “active forest management” policies are making the air pollution impacts worse.

And the Murphy DEP is not serious about reducing the risks of wildfires – they won’t even harvest the low hanging fruit and take action:

6. The Science Supports Bans On New Development In High Hazard Areas, Including Extreme Wildfire And Coastal and Inland Flood Zones

We’ve written many times about the need for a “strategic retreat” policy and plan, DEP bans on new development in high hazard locations, and revocation of NJ’s “right to rebuild” storm damaged properties in NJ CAFRA and Flood Hazard Acts.

Watching DEP do nothing in response is infuriating.

7. The Science Supports Revisions Of Several Key DEP Regulations, Technical Manuals, Guidance Documents, and Risk Management Policies, Standards, And Practices

The findings of this Report demand that everything at DEP, from ambient air monitoring to risk assessment, must change. I’ve outlined and provided details in these posts:

DEP is not only ignoring the need to revise all this, but they are covering it all up by hiding behind their flawed EJ rule proposal.

8. The Science Supports Major Revisions To Put Teeth In NJ’s Global Warming Response Act and State Planning Act

Land use has major climate implications, from transportation emissions, electrification retrofit of existing buildings, and preserving forests and wetlands to maximize carbon sequestration and storage in forests and agricultural lands, to adaptation to extreme events.

But NJ’s land use planning regime under the State Plan is “toothless” and “doomed to fail”, according to Jim Gilbert, the man who wrote the 1986 State Planning Act and sat on the State Planning Commission:

I’ve written so many times about the similarly toothless Global Warming Response Act I won’t even waste your time to provide a link. If you are a new reader out unfamiliar with all this, use the search box in the upper right hand corner.

9. The Science Does Not Support DEP Proposal Of “Emergency Rules”

We have a climate emergency, but – unless Gov. Murphy declares an “emergency” – that does not meet the “emergency” standard in NJ Administrative Procedure Act.

In sum, this DEP Report amounts to more Years of Talking Dangerously.

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