Home > Uncategorized > NJ Environmental Groups Have “No Comment” On Alleged “Historic” Settlement For “Forever Chemicals” Pollution Damage And Cleanup

NJ Environmental Groups Have “No Comment” On Alleged “Historic” Settlement For “Forever Chemicals” Pollution Damage And Cleanup

Gov. Christie’s Notorious Exxon $225 Million Sweetheart Deal Was Larger

No comment on anything- DEP Budget cut – staffing down, parks falling apart , Clean Energy Fund Raided, No climate fund – but money for beach replenishment-  So on – ~~~ Keen observation from a longtime NJ environmental leader

In what could be an historic example of political cowardice, NJ environmental groups had “no comment” on the Murphy DEP’s alleged “historic” proposed settlement on toxic “forever chemicals” PFNA’s.

NJ Spotlight reporter Jon Hurdle tells us:

Three environmental groups who have long accused Solvay of PFAS pollution reserved judgement on the settlement until they had examined its terms.

Even worse, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Frank Kummer reports:

Tracy Carluccio, deputy director of the nonprofit advocacy group Delaware Riverkeeper Network, said she remains cautious about the settlement until more details are available, saying about her group and other organizations that “we all need to see the details and do a deep dive on them before we say too much, either positive or negative, on the proposed Solvay settlement.”

“No one should be rushing to make pronouncements,” Carluccio said. “It’ll take days if not weeks to be able to make authoritative statements.”

What? “Rushing to make pronouncements”? “deep dive”? It will take “days if not weeks to be able to make authoritative statements”? Are you kidding me?

(what Tracy is really saying here is “don’t listen to critics” – they haven’t read the “details” and are not “authoritative”. Not only is this the ultimate in providing DEP cover, but I find it personally offensive as my criticism is being dismissed here.)

I guess their ethically challenged buddy Murphy DEP Commissioner LaTourette didn’t give them a heads up and secret briefing and talking points and praiseworthy quotes in the DEP press release, like he did recently for the BASF settlement. For details of that fiasco, see:

The environmental groups were fully aware of the serious flaws in the Solvay settlement, because I sent my detailed analysis to Tracy Carluccio (Delaware Riverkeeper), Amy Goldsmith (Clean Water Action) Anjuli Ramos (Sierra Club), Dave Pringle (consultant) and Doug O’Malley (Environment NJ) yesterday, and did so well before reporters wrote and filed their stories.

So, they intentionally ducked and failed to criticize their friend at the Murphy DEP.

I sent the same analysis to NJ reporters Frank Kummer (see his Inquirer story), Jon Hurdle (NJ Spotlight) and Wayne Parry (Associated Press). Only Mr. Parry included my criticism, the mildest one, at the close of his AP wire story (picked up by ABC news):

Bill Wolfe, a former environmental department official and longtime critic of the agency, said much of the payments Solvay will make are required under existing environmental department regulations and should not be considered an outcome of litigation.

If you subtract the $214 million in financial assurance (which is not real money) from the $393 million, you get a paltry $179 million, which makes the Christie DEP’s notorious $225 million Exxon Settlement far larger. A fact that makes the Solvay deal – at a time when other States are recovering BILLION dollar settlements with real money – absolutely pathetic: (e.g. see this NY Times story from just last week:

So, instead of reposting my analysis of the settlement (especially see points #1 – #9 in End Notes – which took a coup of hours, not “days or weeks”,), let me rehash a Cliff Notes version today.

Perhaps the environmental groups can read them again and grow a spine and the press can do followup stories to correct the misleading DEP spin.

Here’s the email I sent them just now on their “no comment”:

It took me a couple of hours to read the proposed settlement and flag numerous troubling issues.

First off, $214 million is financial assurance, not real money. That fact exposes the “historic” magnitude claim as misleading (at best) and makes the Christie DEP’s $225 million Exxon Settlement larger.

Second, the large majority of the substantive requirements merely restate DEP remediation regulatory requirements.

Third, the NRD does not consider the Delaware River damages (by far the largest) and there is no DEP delineation or documentation of what, the actual Natural resource injuries are, so it’s impossible to know if the $75 million is pennies on the dollar again.

Fourth, there was no community involvement, no ongoing public process, or earmark of what the NRD money will be used for.

In terms of the quote you [Jon Hurdle, NJ Spotlight story) gave to a corporate lawyer, in a fact free speculation on Solvay’s motives for settlement, you left out the more likely possibility, based on DEP’s NRD history, that DEP offered a sweetheart deal.

Finally,other States have settled for BILLIONS, so NJ is not leading the way. For details and excerpts of the text. See:

[Update: A longtime environmental leader sent me this very apt note:

No comment on anything- DEP Budget cut – staffing down, parks falling apart , Clean Energy Fund Raided, No climate fund -but money for beach replenishment-So on –

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