Home > Uncategorized > Murphy DEP’s Scheme To Use Environmental Groups To Manipulate Media and Public Opinion Is Exposed By Toms River BASF Deal

Murphy DEP’s Scheme To Use Environmental Groups To Manipulate Media and Public Opinion Is Exposed By Toms River BASF Deal

Sierra Club And NJ Audubon Were Quoted In Support Of Deal In DEP Press Release

The Toms River Community Was Not Fooled And Blasted The Deal

Murphy DEP Commissioner Shawn Latourette repeatedly has used environmental groups to provide green cover and politically support Gov. Murphy’s policies and DEP initiatives.

Because environmental laws, regulations, and science are complex, if a DEP Commissioner is willing to do it – and environmental groups are willing to let him get away with it – it’s very easy to manipulate the media and public opinion.

I recently ran into that cynical game in the Pinelands, where the PPA and NJCF supported DEP’s logging scheme.

That game has been used multiple times to dupe the press and the public, most recently when Doug O’Malley (Environment NJ) and Anjuli Matos (Sierra Club) supported Gov. Murphy’s abandonment of the Energy Master Plan.

But that cynical strategy was exposed and blown up in Toms River.

As we recently revealed, the Friday before the DEP BASF Toms River settlement deal was announced to the public, DEP held a secret meeting with environmental groups to brief them and seek their support, see:

That secret meeting resulted in a Monday DEP press release, where DEP quoted environmental leaders supporting the plan:

New Jersey Audubon enthusiastically supports this use of Natural Resources Damages to create forests and parks in Toms River. … NJDEP and BASF have worked together to clean up and restore a contaminated area for residents to enjoy. This project is particularly significant in that the funding is going directly back to the community that experienced the damages from contamination. said Alex Ireland, President and CEO of New Jersey Audubon.

“The Ciba Geigy historic settlement is great news for open space and preservation in Toms River,” said Taylor McFarland, Conservation Manager for the Sierra Club, New Jersey Chapter. “More importantly, it is a step in the right direction for the people who have been suffering from the contamination of The Ciba-Geigy Superfund Site for decades. ~~~ DEP Press Release 12/5/22

These people’s credibility is shot. (And Audubon has done no work on DEP’s toxic site cleanup program issues or at the Ciba Geigy site. Neither has Ms. McFarland of Sierra Club, who’s comments were a complete reversal in Sierra’s longtime real work there. The fact that Commissioner LaTourette used these people reveals his ignorance as well.)

And there is a huge crack in the facade of the DEP PR machine.

The people of Toms River and the Toms River Mayor and Council were not buying that DEP PR bullshit.

They were shut out of and blindsided by the DEP deal and – contrary to the spin of the Trenton environmental groups – they don’t think it’s remotely acceptable compensation or restoration of the harms from the Ciba Geigy site.

The Mayor and Council adopted a Resolution opposing the plan and the Toms River community vehemently opposed the deal at a public hearing last Thursday night.

Associated Press reporter Wayne Parry got the community opposition aspects of the story exactly right: (but he let DEP Commissioner LaTourette mislead again about NRD legal and economic issues. I’ve written about that previously so will not here. Hit the link and read the whole story)

So, let’s hope that the Toms River episode exposes the rancid schemes of Murphy DEP Commissioner LaTourette and his faux green sycophants.

Let’s hope the NJ media reporters now see what’s going on and stop taking DEP and green groups statements at face value and regurgitation DEP and green groups spin.

What’s left of their credibility is shot.

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