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Red Tape Report Takes Credit for Destroying Environment

Date : Wed, 8 Feb 2012 15:32:08 -0500

/For Immediate Release/
February 8, 2012 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100


*Red Tape Report Takes Credit for Destroying Environment* Today the Red Tape Review Commission Released their Findings and Recommendations Report which trumpets rolling back more than 30 years of environmental protections.*Jeff Tittel, Director of NJ Sierra Club*, issued the following statement in response:

"The Lieutenant Governor's Red Tape Review Report today is one of the most disturbing reports I have seen in 25 years of dealing with state government.They are actually taking credit and patting themselves on the back for working to dismantle 30 years of environmental protections.This Red Tape Review is a report by special interests for special interests without the public's input.We have seen a series of their recommendations put into place and now they are crowing about it instead of being ashamed of themselves.This is a document that polluters, special interests, right wing nuts, and tea partyers will be cheering about but will impact the daily lives of New Jersey residents.The policies they are touting will mean more pollution, sprawl, flooding and higher taxes because of the environmental and public health damages they will cause."

"There are six major policies the Commission takes credit for that directly undermine environmental and public health protections:

*No state rule stricter than federal standards*.Review Group member, Assemblyman Burzichelli has introduced a bill in the Legislature that would not allow state rules to exceed federal standards.New Jersey has more toxic sites and a higher population density than any other state in the country and needs more protective standards than states like Montana or Idaho.

*Waiver rule.*The DEP has issued a draft waiver rule that would allow the DEP Commissioner to waive compliance with environmental protections across over 100 programs.The rule is subject to pay-to-play abuse.Consumer Affairs and the Department of Community Affairs have also released waiver rules and all agencies are required to do so under Executive Order.

*Beach Access Rules. *The report takes credit for the DEP's rollbacks to the beach access regualtions, shutting the public out of the beaches that belong to all of us.

*Revisions to Administrative Procedures Act procedures for Guidance documents*. This will make it harder for the average citizen to follow how rules and regulations work and will delay the adoption of new rules.

*Substantive Rule Change Upon Adoption.*This will allow agencies to change rules after public comment periods have closed.You can have a rule on cleaning up toxic sites and after the DEP has closed public comments, the staff can sit down with polluters and make major changes.This removes transparency and public input.

*Streamlining business permits*.The Review Group puts incorrectly puts economic considerations before environmental protections. However DEP staff and regulations are not the cause of delay in permit reviews.The Permit Review Task Force found that 65% of the delays in permitting came from incomplete or false applications submitted by the applicant."

"This report is the Red Tape Review Group and this administration taking a victory lap on their environmental roll backs.Because of these policies the average New Jersey family will now see more pollution in their air and water and more sprawl.This is the height of audacity, to take credit for dismantling so many environmental and public health standards."

"This is the limbo report.Just when you think they could not go any lower they do.They are not just taking credit for dismantling protections they actually want to go further.The report recommends replicating the DEP LSRP program across agencies and streamlining bidding procedures, which will mean more privatization and outsourcing of government functions.These recommendations have nothing to do with making it easier for people to work with government, they are all about dismantling governmental and environmental protections.Having consultants that work for special interests granting permits as if they are the government is worse than the fox guarding the hen house. It is the fox also certifying the hen house is safe.When you talk about outsourcing these protections for clean water, clean air and development on open spaces, you realize every part of New Jersey is at risk.These consultants work for the polluters and developers, not the public and therefore our environment will not be safe.

"Expanding the use of General Permits, as called for in the report, eliminates public oversight and review.This will be used to weaken public participation in environmental standards."

"Reducing governmental overlap will be used as an excuse to allow inappropriate development that will destroy our resources to move forward.For example the Department of State's State Planning Commission can approve filling in wetlands for housing in a Growth Area in the Strategic Plan.The Department of Community Affairs could approve the construction of housing next to streams when the DEP would deny the project under stream buffer requirements.DCA objected to Category 1 stream protections as a hindrance to redevelopment and new growth.When expanding a highway, the Department of Transportation rules allows for filling in a wetland rather than building a bridge over it, the more expensive protocol.More projects will be able to impact our environment as a result."

"This is not about Red Tape, this is about taking care of special interests at the expense of the environment.This is not about removing red tape and helping business, this is about eliminating environmental protections.The public should be seeing red as the government is working against the interest of the people it is charged to protect." The Red Tape Report can be accessed at:

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
NJ-Sierra-Chapter-Ex-Committee List Info & Archives:
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Received on 2012-02-08 12:32:08

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