We are seeing the results of what happens when the government stops regulating industries and allows businesses to self-police. The tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the West Virginia coal mining explosion are proof of this. Through privatization and deregulation we have allowed companies to self-regulate. In both cases lax enforcement and letting companies self-certify led to disaster. The failure of government to regulate puts not only the environment at risk but public health and safety as well.
In New Jersey, we have privatized site remediation. The government has deregulated cleanup of toxic sites all over the state, taking the word of consultants who work for companies which are supposed to be regulated. The consultants choose the cleanup plans and certify the sites whether or not they have been sufficiently remediated. This is going to lead to disaster, worse than that Ringwood with Ford or Pompton Lakes with DuPont. The fox is not only watching over the henhouse, but also saying the henhouse is safe.
Governor Christie supports privatization of toxic sites but also says the New Jersey can have no rules stricter than those of the federal government. The federal government allows coastal drilling for oil. Governor Christie says no to drilling. The governor has a double standard — one for off coast and one for the mainland.
Jeff Tittel is the New Jersey Sierra Club director