The Murphy DEP Refuses To Regulate To Protect Against Climate Impacts

October 14th, 2020 No comments

DEP Says It’s Not Their Job To Say NO

DEP Rejects Regulation, Relies Exclusively On Risk Disclosure & Private Property Deed

A "Climate Impact Statement" and deed recording solves this problem?

A “Climate Impact Statement” and deed recording solves this problem?

The Murphy DEP just stated that the equivalent of a termite inspection is adequate to address climate impacts and risks.

This is not a joke or hyperbole.

Frankly, after just reading today’s NJ Spotlight story on the upcoming Murphy DEP Climate regulations that have been dubbed PACT, I’m beside myself and so angry I can’t think straight.

We predicted this was coming over 3 months ago, based on DEP’s release of their climate science report, see:

And over a year ago, I wrote in detail about how the Murphy DEP signaled this was coming, see:

But while I knew this was coming, I am astonished that DEP would openly admit to such a gross and irresponsible abdication of their authority and responsibility to protect people, public health, and the environment from the accelerating climate catastrophe.

Former corporate lawyer and current Murphy DEP Deputy Commissioner Shawn LaTourette (who should have been fired after the fiasco and lies about the Union County Covanta incinerator PFAS experiment) openly admitted the DEP’s collapse:

Although developers and builders fear the new rules will tighten limits on where they can build in coastal and inland areas, the regulations are unlikely to do that, LaTourette said in an interview with NJ Spotlight News. …

“We’re not at a point, nor do we think it’s our role, to tell people: ‘Don’t build here, you shouldn’t build there, you can’t do that,’” LaTourette said. “It is about making folks assess their risk and recognize the risk they are taking on. We are not saying: ‘You cannot build in a future flood-risk area.’ We’re saying that in a future flood-risk area, you need to at least do what you do now in an existing flood-risk area, which is: assess the risk, and notice that risk. It will forever live in the deed record of that property.”

What?

It’s not DEP’s role to say “you can’t do that”?

It’s not DEP’s role to say “Don’t build here, you shouldn’t build there”?

Mr. LaTourette is a lawyer, which makes his open admission even more astonishing.

Has he not read the NJ Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act? The Flood Hazard Area Control Act? The Coastal Area Facilities Review Act? The Water Pollution Control Act? The Highlands Act?

Each one of these laws not only provides legislative authority to DEP to SAY NO and regulate development, they require DEP to do so.

Lambertville, NJ (Hurricane Irene flooding, August 2011). Swan Creek in background.

Lambertville, NJ (Hurricane Irene flooding, August 2011). Swan Creek in background.

Mr. LaTourette’s statement contradicts 40 years of NJ environmental law, regulation, and policy.

It’s an astonishing abdication. Absolutely Astonishing.

But the fact that it applies to climate impacts makes it even worse.

A photo from Monmouth County of the affected pipe (source: Star Ledger)

A photo from Monmouth County of the affected pipe (source: Star Ledger)

Instead of relying on traditional DEP regulation, LaTourette takes a page out of the radical libertarian Cato Institution play book and says the Murphy DEP will rely on private market forces.

Specifically, DEP will rely on disclosure of risks via a “climate impact statement” and deed recording, basically a builder and  buyer beware program.

This is a radical policy that goes beyond the failed right wing corporate policy of voluntary compliance, because at least there were underlying standards that the private sector voluntarily complied with. DEP retained authority to look behind the voluntary compliance to ascertain true compliance status.

The new radical disclosure – property deed approach relies exclusively on market mechanisms and abandons DEP’s regulatory role entirely.

This can not stand.

More to follow after I get a chance to calm down and collect my thoughts.

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Pinelands Commission “Approves” Over A Mile of Gas Pipeline Replacement With No Public Review

October 8th, 2020 No comments

After years of pipeline battles and litigation, Commission still has no policy

Another example of failure to address the climate emergency

“inadvertent return of drilling fluid … may occur during the installation”

According to the Pinelands Commission’s September Management Report (excerpt below), Executive Director Wittenberg, via a letter, determined that replacement of over a mile of gas pipeline by South Jersey Gas was not subject to the Commission’s review.

The Wittenberg unilateral letter was issued with no public process or Commission vote, yet it imposed regulatory requirements designed to avoid “potential inadvertent return of drilling fluid that may occur during the installation“.

Executive Director Wittenberg came under withering criticism – including by the Philadelphia Inquirer  and Pinelands Commissioners – for her favorable treatment of South Jersey Gas during prior gas pipeline controversies and her unilateral action and manipulation of the Commission. (“my baby, just wrote me a letter“)

More recently, in July there was a damaging accident caused by inadvertent return of drilling fluid during pipeline construction, and permits were suspended. 

Here is the excerpt from the Commission’s Management Report (emphases mine):

“South Jersey Gas (App. No. 2020-0083.001): On September 21, 2020, the Commission staff issued a letter indicating that the replacement of 5,900 linear feet of natural gas main in the Hamilton Mall area of Hamilton Township did not require an application to the Commission. No application to the Commission was required because the proposed main would serve development which has received all necessary approvals and permits (N.J.A.C. 7:50-4.1(a)6). The September 21, 2020 letter requested that South Jersey Gas prepare a contingency plan to address any potential inadvertent return of drilling fluid that may occur during the installation of approximately 1,135 linear feet of natural gas main by horizontal directional drilling under the Atlantic City Expressway. The letter indicated that the contingency plan should provide for the immediate notification of the Pinelands Commission regarding the inadvertent return of drilling fluid.”

This is completely unacceptable administrative practice.

The letter also reveals the Commission’s longstanding failure to adopt enforceable requirements to address the climate crisis and fossil infrastructure.

Here is the text of the cited exemption: (see: NJAC 7:50-4.1(a)6)

The installation of utility distribution lines, except for sewage lines, to serve areas which are effectively developed or development which has received all necessary approvals and permits;

These are exactly the kinds of loopholes in the CMP that must be closed and beefed up with enforceable requirements to address the climate emergency.

But, as we learned by reading the Commission’s August Management Report, they have done absolutely nothing on the regulatory front and still are diddling with “guiding principles”:

  • Land Use, Climate Impacts & Sustainability (LUCIS): The LUCIS Committee met on August 28, 2020. The Committee discussed the five guiding principles that would be incorporated into a preliminary amendment of the CMP regarding climate change. The Committee agreed that a draft resolution establishing the guiding principles be drafted for their review.

I wrote Commissioner Lohbauer, who has been a leader on climate and pipeline issues, the following note as a heads up:

Commissioner Lohbauer – According to the Commission’s September Management Report (excerpt below), the Commission “approved” a 5,900 linear foot gas pipeline replacement by South Jersey Gas, with no public process, allegedly because the project was exempt from CMP review requirements.

Even if that were the case – which I do not concede without analyzing the Commission staff’s written regulatory analysis if one even exists – the Commission imposed regulatory requirements (i.e. contingency plans) absent any regulatory process.

This is unacceptable administrative practice and poor policy and planning.

As fossil infrastructure ages and replacement is sought, there should be phase out policies and plans and retrofit requirements – including energy efficiency, electric conversion of buildings, renewable energy installation, etc at the Commission approved development the pipeline served.

Are you aware of this? Are you advocating CMP amendments to enforce these kind of climate and energy policies?

Respectfully,

Bill Wolfe

We’ll let you know what we hear back. I’m not expecting much.

[End Note: NJ DEP also has regulatory responsibilities – see my note to Department Assistant Commissioner Vince Mazzei:

Hey Vince – saw that you recently briefed the Pinelands Commission on the development of DEP’s climate PACT regulations and thought you might be interested in this, which also applies to DEP’s wetlands (401 WQC) and stream encroachment rules. Has DEP issued enforcement action or modified regulations on “inadvertent return of drilling fluid that may occur during the [pipeline] installation”?
Wolfe

 

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NJ Schools Development Authority Scandals Back In The News

October 1st, 2020 No comments

NJ Spent $330 Million To Buy Toxic Sites “Patently Unsuitable” For Schools

Poor and Minority Kids Ripped Off and Exposed To Toxic Risks

The scandal ridden former Schools Construction Corp (SCC) – allegedly reformed and renamed the Schools Development Authority (SDA) – is back in the news, see today’s NJ Spotlight story.

Once again, patronage and political scandal drive out any focus on policy.

Specifically, once again, news coverage ignores the SCC/SDA’s corrupt practice of purchasing toxic waste sites – including a radioactive former Manhattan Project site and a Superfund site – for new schools in low income and minority “Abbott” school districts.

This is the grandmother of racist “environmental injustice“, whereby scare public funds ordered by the NJ Supreme Court and designed by the Legislature to equalize educational resources and opportunities in what Rutgers/UCLA Report described as “NJ’s Apartheid and Intensely Segregated Urban Schools” were instead wasted on the purchase and “cleanup” of toxic waste sites.

This corrupt practice not only diverted scarce public educational resources intended to benefit poor and minority kids to corporate landowners and a panoply of politically connected lawyers and cleanup consultants, it put vulnerable childrens’ health at risk.

In the height of cynicism – and often at the request of local officials seeking to preserve “clean” lands for development that produced tax ratables – these toxic sites knowingly were purchased and cleaned up with public funds, thereby reducing the corporate polluters’ legal and economic responsibility to spend millions of dollars to clean them up and freeing up other lands for development.

We spent a lot of time calling out that corruption, over a decade ago, e.g. for one of several, see:

We also exposed a secret deal between the Schools Construction Corp (SCC) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to expedite the DEP’s review and approval of toxic waste sites for school construction, with no public disclosure or public process so that communities could participate in SCC and DEP decisions that impact the health of their children.

Today’s NJ Spotlight story is based on and focuses on a September 30, 2020 report by the State Commission of Investigation. That SCI Report was not linked to the Spotlight story, so readers can find it here.

In scanning the SCI Report, I noticed that it once again also ignores the contaminated land issues.

Worse, the SCI report essentially normalizes these corrupt practices by making “site remediation” appear to be a legitimate component of the schools construction program. SCR Report stated (@ page 7):

This landmark series of rulings eventually led to the adoption of the Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act in 2001, which authorized up to $12.5 billion in taxpayer-funded bonds to fund remediation and construction projects across the state. 7

The SCI equated remediation with school construction.

But in reviewing the 2000 legislation that created the school construction program, it appears that “site remediation” costs are only authorized for “demonstration projects” (see Section 6, the only section of the law that mentions “site remediation”).

How could something this huge be not only glossed over, but actually factually misrepresented by SCI?

So, I fired off this quick note to SCI – I won’t hold my breath waiting for an answer from SCI, but perhaps the current focus on “environmental justice” might prompt media or advocacy interest in this set of long ignored issues:

The SCI 9/30/20 Report states:

“This landmark series of rulings eventually led to the adoption of the Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act in 2001, which authorized up to $12.5 billion in taxpayer-funded bonds to fund remediation and construction projects across the state. 7 ”

However, P.L. 2000, c.72 authorizes costs for “site remediation” only for “demonstration projects” (see Section 6).

This raises questions, particularly as a former SCC official publicly stated in the press (Star Ledger, I believe) that millions of dollars were on acquisition of contaminated sites that were “patently unsuitable” for schools:

1. How was the SCC/SDA allowed to bond for, contract for, and expend over $330 million for acquisition of contaminated sites and “site remediation” costs?

2. Why was there no SCI investigation and legislative reform of the SCCC/SDA land acquisition practices regarding siting criteria, due diligence, and restrictions on purchase of known contaminated sites?

3. Why was DEP allowed to enter into an agreement (MOU) with SCC to expedite the DEP review and approval of contaminated sites (with no public process), given the narrow scope of authorization of “site remediation” costs to a “demonstration project”?

I’d appreciate your response to these questions at your earliest.

I am a retired DEP planner.

Bill Wolfe

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Photo-Propaganda – Weapons of Mass Deception

September 27th, 2020 No comments

Photo-Journalism Trumped By Photo-Propaganda

Bush’s codpiece serves exactly the same propaganda purposes as Barrett’s womb

[Updates below]

The powerful cultural and political influence of a visual image (photograph) can not be denied.

Professional photo-journalism is built on this fact, as is propaganda.

But there is a huge difference between photo-journalism and visual propaganda.

We leave you with these two egregious examples of photo-propaganda to ponder:

The first is from today’s NY Times story on Trump Supreme Court candidate Barrett, announced – without a hint of irony – as an “heir to Scalia”

Source: Doug Mills/The New York Times (9/27/20)

Source: Doug Mills/The New York Times (9/27/20)

There’s a lot going on in this photo.

Note the cameras on the lower right. They were placed there to provide a “pussy level” shot, so the visual focus would reinforce the abortion rhetoric and illustrate a fertile womb (the role of women being to replicate the white race). At the same time, it subtly legitimizes the “virility” of pussy grabbing Trump (and if you look closely, it almost looks like her female genitalia are as pronounced as Bush’s).

[Update – 10/16Jeffrey St. Clair is on point:

+ Since Barrett is a self-described textualist and English Lit major it might be worth exploring the etymological evolution of her middle name, “coney,” which before the latest vowel shift was pronounced “kunnie,” to rhyme with money. A coney was a domestic rabbit raised “for the table,” but by Shakespeare’s time it was also slang for “vagina”, a poetic pun for “cunt”, an origin for cunnilingus, or coney-licking. ~~~ end update]

The confident stride says “fuck you, liberals! I’m being confirmed!”. Pure power.

Note that Barrett is walking in front of her kids (who seem distracted) and looking at the flag, which signals her loyalties and priorities (and then there’s the ethical issue of using your kids as props – but, anyone who would accept a nomination from Trump under these circumstances has no ethics at all).

The conservatively dressed kids – including a black adopted son – say “I’m a traditional (fertile) mom, so fuck you feminist, careerist, child abusers, infertile LBBTQ perverts,  and BLM identity politics racists!”.

[Update: I was hesitant to explore the meanings of Barrett’s adopted black Hatian son. Why Haiti? Why a black boy? It’s not white liberal guilt.

No, it reflects a twisted stew of Christian white settler colonialism – The White Man’s Burden to civilize the barbaric natives. Same reason why native American children were taken from their parents and sent to Christian schools (i.e. destroy culture, language, history, and identity as a means of social control).

But the Haitian origin has a special significance. Haiti is the symbol of black revolutionary struggle and liberation:

In the midst of the French Revolution (1789–99), slaves and free people of color launched the Haitian Revolution(1791–1804), led by a former slave and the first black general of the French Army, Toussaint Louverture. After 12 years of conflict, Napoleon Bonaparte’s forces were defeated by Louverture’s successor, Jean-Jacques Dessalines (later Emperor Jacques I), who declared Haiti’s sovereignty on 1 January 1804—the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the second republic in the Americas, the first country to abolish slavery, and the only state in history established by a successful slave revolt.[26][27

Barrett’s adoption of a black Haitian child signals the restoration of white settler colonial power.

Just like Barrett’s legal views reflect 18th century legal notions, so too her entire worldview.

Additionally, a black adopted son sends a message that solutions to poverty, racism, inequality, opportunity, justice, and social mobility are best solved by individual voluntary Christian charity, not collective politics, government intervention, legal mandates, and redistributive economic and social policies.

[Update: 10/16/20 – Jeffrey St. Clair at Counterpunch nails it:

+ NYU sociologist Ann Morning: “Amy Coney Barrett on her white kids: ‘smart,’ ‘math gene,’ likely to go to law school. On her black kids: he is ‘happy-go-lucky’ and she ‘deadlifts as much as the male athletes.’ Judge Barrett’s 2020 description of her kids echoes 18th-century scientist Linnaeus: Homo europaeus is ‘acute, inventive’–i.e. smart–while Homo africanus is ‘relaxed’ and ‘indolent’–not smart.” ~~~ end update]

Capitalism, private property, markets and corporate power are at the core of American life and law, not government and social democracy:

The corporate interests funding the growth of the Federalist Society probably weren’t especially interested in abortion, but they were almost certainly committed to crippling the regulatory state.

This is the twisted stew of white christian settler colonialism – probably best illustrated by Orwell in “Burmese Days” and Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”. ~~~ end update]

The flags and the Trump say “Onward Christian Soldiers – We are a Christian Nation!“.

In other words, “Mission Accomplished!”.

Just a few of the visual messages being not so subtly conveyed.

[Update #2 – A much more learned and detailed analysis can be found in this superb essay:

Compare that work of propaganda with the infamous Bush “codpiece – Mission accomplished” shot:

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Of course, you can’t miss the codpiece. Bush shows that he has balls (unlike his wimpy father, who refused to crush Iraq when he had the chance to).

Bush’s codpiece and balls serve exactly the same propaganda purposes as Barrett’s womb.

And the assholes at the NY Times put them in play at a time when:

1) Trump is packing the Court with right wing judges (by Trump’s own words as a way to provide “insurance” to assure “re-election”), including Barrett who swore an oath to or made a covenant with a religion cult and

2) Trump and Republicans have openly announced plans and are in the process of stealing the election.

Recalls how Bush got in Iraq in the first place: lies, reprinted and legitimized by the NY Times.

At some point, Fascist tactics and Fascist tendencies produce a Fascist State.

We’re far down this road and the folks at the NY Times seem either oblivious or in denial about that.

[Update 3 – 9/30/20 – This New Yorker piece raises critical issues:

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An Open Letter To NJ’s Black, Poor, and Environmental Justice Communities – You Were Just Sold Out

September 24th, 2020 No comments

Environmental Justice Bill Will Not Work

Fake EJ Advocates Compromised and Sold You Out

Dangerous Illusions

“I am growing tired of seeing myself, and especially of seeing veteran militants who ‘never ran from struggles’ in their own times, receive countless lessons in effectiveness from critics who have done nothing more than point their ‘seats in the direction of history.’” ~~~  Camus

Look, I’m an old white guy living in a school bus in the Rocky Mountains and desert. I grew up in a working class family, in a predominately white suburb, attended elite universities, and spent my adult life and career in a professional capacity mostly working on public policy. So I’m not on the ground in NJ right now and engaged in black life and EJ activism and I don’t pretend to be.

But, I have over 30 years experience and am an expert on NJ’s environmental laws and with DEP as an institution. I know a lot about DEP’s role in protecting public health and the environment and have worked with NJ EJ activists. I have longstanding commitments to “living in truth” and social and economic justice, including environmental justice. And I’ve taken personal and career risks and paid the price for those commitments:

Today’s liberal classes believe only in one thing: maintaining their privilege. Their one priority is power. The number one rule is: preserve our careers, our institutions at all cost. (original source: THE LIBERAL CLASS IS COMPLICIT IN MASS MURDER

I don’t need to tell you what you already know, but you’ve been – at best – ignored and neglected by  NJ’s environmental laws and DEP for decades. (I argue affirmative structural racism and class warfare are operating).

Elite NJ conservation and environmental groups cynically have used your community as a prop in their fundraising campaigns.

baraka

And NJ politicians have provided lip service and empty platitudes.

The disproportionate burden of pollution you now experience on a daily basis is all legal under NJ’s environmental laws and allowed under DEP permits.

Those permits have ignored your community, your health, and the cumulative impacts created by all the individual pollution permits DEP issues.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.

Heres’ what US District Court Judge Orlofsky found, 18 YEARS ago in case known as in South Camden Citizens v. NJ Dept. of Environ., 145 F. Supp. 2d 446 (D.N.J. 2001) (emphases mine):

As described in greater detail in this Court’s Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law set forth below, the NJDEP granted the necessary air permits to SLC to allow its proposed facility to begin operations. In doing so, the NJDEP considered only whether the facility’s emissions would exceed technical emissions standards for specific pollutants, especially dust. Indeed, much of what this case is about is what the NJDEP failed to consider. It did not consider the level of ozone generated by the truck traffic to and from the SLC facility, notwithstanding the fact that the Waterfront South community is not currently in compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (“NAAQS”) established by the EPA for ozone levels, nor did it consider the presence of many other pollutants in Waterfront South. It did not consider the pre-existing poor health of the residents of Waterfront South, nor did it consider the cumulative environmental burden already borne by this impoverished community. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the NJDEP failed to consider the racial and ethnic composition of the population of Waterfront South.

Which takes us to Gov. Murphy’s approval of “environmental justice” legislation, which is most recent example of a longstanding pattern of neglect, manipulation, and political platitudes.

The Gov. and his sycophants – some of them black and self described EJ activists – claim that this law is “groundbreaking” and a “national model”.

They are not telling the truth.

First of all, as I’ve written in detail, the law does nothing to change the legal, scientific and regulatory basis for issuing all those permits that Judge Orlofsky criticized and have created all that undue pollution burden in your communities.

Nothing. DEP can continue to conduct risk assessments that ignore the actual health status of the community and actual on the ground conditions in the community. DEP can continue to issue permits that ignore EJ concerns, just as Judge Orlofsky found. The EJ law does not require that these flawed DEP regulations and permit methods be changed. Instead of doing that hard work, the law grafts a flawed EJ impact statement on to a flawed DEP regulatory foundation.

Covanta and the refineries and the chemical plants will continue to poison you – or the Fatal Fifteen or a bomb train might outright kill you – and all this now with a happy corporate PR “Sustainable” cum “EJ commitment” and seal of approval from NJ DEP. You can thank you brother EJ advocates for that.For details, see:

The Gov. and EJ advocates rely on 3 important things the bill does do, purportedly to address longstanding undue and unjust pollution burdens in low income and black communities:

1. The law authorizes DEP to deny certain permits in EJ communities and mandates that DEP deny the permit if disproportionate burdens are found.

2. The law authorizes DEP to consider cumulative impacts from multiple sources of pollution.

3. The law requires that certain permit applicants prepare an “environmental justice impact statement” and provides the community an opportunity to review and comment on it.

But these potentially powerful tools are mostly just window dressing. They won’t work and won’t change anything.

They all were effectively gutted by other provisions of the law. The so called EJ advocates caved in to these polluter driven political concessions. Let me explain briefly:

1. The DEP permit denial authority is narrow in scope and gutted by huge loophole.

The denial power applies only to NEW pollution sources, not the existing sources of pollution that are creating the current unhealthy burdens. DEP may only impose “conditions” on the renewal of permits for existing pollution. The law does not mandate a “nexus”, i.e. that these DEP imposed “conditions” actually reduce pollution or mitigate its harm. This invites abuse, as in the Covanta garbage incinerators Newark deal, which provided, among other things, $5 million for a sports stadium.

When those deals are made, you can be sure that the well connected will benefit, while the community suffers. The so called “activists” and their organizations that supported this sell out have already and will continue to benefit economically from selling out communities as they get grants and other benefits from the “conditions” imposed by DEP.

Worse, the DEP permit denial authority is destroyed by an “exception” – a huge loophole provision that allows DEP to waive the mandatory permit denial and issue the permit if a polluter claims that there is a “compelling public interest” for the industry or facility seeking the permit, even if there are disproportionate and unjust impacts.

There are no definitions, standards or limits on what a “compelling public interest” is, so anything goes. And polluters are provided a new legal platform they never had to make this “compelling public interest” argument and can legally challenge DEP’s refusal to waive the law on this basis. As such, the EJ law actually weakens current environmental law.

2. The cumulative impact provision was turned into a joke.

First of all, the law applies only to air pollution sources that emit more than 100 tons per year. That is HUGE, especially for emissions of cancer causing hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Smaller pollution sources that create local pollution “hot spots” like DEP found in Paterson NJ (e.g. industry emitting HAP’s next door to a school) and unacceptable cumulative pollution are not regulated by the law.

Second, the law does not apply to so called “mobile sources” of pollution that account for significant pollution (i.e. cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, ships, railroad engines) because DEP does not issue permits to these sources.

Last, a major source or health risks in EJ communities – i.e. toxic waste sites – were exempted from the law.

How can anyone with a straight face say that “cumulative impacts” don’t include smaller air pollution sources, mobile sources, and toxic waste sites?

3. The “environmental justice statement” will not work.

The law does not include any content requirements or scientific standards for an acceptable EJ impact statement.

The EJ impact statement will be written by consultants for the polluter, not by those employed by the community.

**There are no resources (e.g. technical assistance grants, as under other environmental programs) provided to the community so that they can hire expert consultants and effectively participate in the highly scientific and legally complex EJ impact statement preparation and review process.

[**Clarification: the bill provides authority, but does not mandate, that DEP impose fees on the permit applicant in order to provide technical assistance to the community. But the DEP. will provide this technical assistance. The community can not hire their own expert with this DEP money.]

We’ve seen this story before and know how it turns out after decades of fighting industry prepared environmental impact statements.

Adding insult to injury, the law deleted a prior provision that would have given local governments a veto power, so local activists have been neutered and reduced to playing DEP’s game on the polluters turf.

4. Despite a Climate Emergency, There is No Climate Justice.

Finally, the Governor and the EJ advocates do not say anything about what the bill fails to include.

I’ll mention just one huge omission (there are several):

The law does not apply to emissions of greenhouse gases and does not authorize DEP to require that polluters reduce those emissions, install energy conservation or energy efficiency, or renewable energy technologies.

The law does not apply to the impacts from climate change, particularly extreme heat waves and urban heat island effects that are now killing people in cities.

The law does not apply to adaptation to climate change and does not authorize DEP to impose conditions that require industry and developers to adapt to climate change.

Remarkably, the law can not provide ‘climate justice” – including all the local jobs that would be created to address climate issues the law ignores.

So, my friends, sorry: you were just sold out and lied to. And it wasn’t the first time.

End Note – if anyone thought my prior photo of Dave Pringle was an aberration or cheap shot, here’s a contemporaneous shot of Pringle whispering in the ears of his friend from NJ BIA and Chamber of Commerce:

IMG_4685

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