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Christie cutting $65 million for global warming prevention

globalwarming120409_optN.J. DEP employees to have shorter workdays in 2011

BY TOM HESTER SR.
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Gov. Chris Christie is taking $65 million, the entire allocation, from the state's global warming fund, and $5.9 million, from the toxic waste site cleanup program, to help close the over $10 billion deficit in his $29.3 billion 2010-11 state budget, the state environmental protection commissioner said Monday.

In discussing the Department of Environmental Protection's proposed $380.6 million budget before the Assembly Budget Committee in Trenton, Commissioner Bob Martin said he hopes the loss of the $65 million, funding for the state's role in a regional effort to combat global warming, will only be for one year. He told the committee that DEP staff will continue to attempt to work against global warming and so-called greenhouses gasses despite the lack of money.

Martin said while he does not anticipate that DEP employees will be among the 1,300 state workers Christie plans to layoff in January, the commissioner does intend to move to save $1.4 million at that time by reducing the workweek of employees, at least those in management, the state parks, and Highlands Permitting from 40 hours to 35 hours.

Martin spoke of the multi-million funding loss as he vowed the DEP would aggressively move to remediate more than 20,000 contaminated sites in New Jersey and attempt to improve the quality of the state's air, water, beaches and ocean.

Martin also said that keeping the state parks and state-run historic sites open while attempting to improve them, especially for financially-struggling New Jerseyans and improving and streamlining the DEP's regulatory process are also priorities.

The DEP budget has been cut by $29.8 million with $11.6 million of the amount money that would have gone to managing the parks and historic sites. He said $3.4 million has been allocated for park and historic site improvement. The parks and sites have a long backlog of needed repairs and improvements that total $300 million.

"Let me state unequivocally that the governor and my commitment to protecting the environment and the health and safety of the people of New Jersey will not waver as we proceed with our efforts to streamline and enhance our operations,'' Martin said.

"While all parks and historic site remain open, the (2010-11) budget plan calls for the consolidation of parks and modifying some operating hours and amenities based on demand,'' Martin said. "We are also working to expand mission-appropriate business opportunities through concessions and partnerships, providing improved visitor amenities in parks, forests and historic sites that may ultimately enhance access and revenue potential.''

The commissioner said the Shore Protection Fund will be fully funded at $6.3 million while funding for the Pinelands commission has been reduced by $423,000 and by $463,000 for the Highlands Council.

Funding for the black bear management and education program has been eliminated. Martin said $3.5 million will be saved by cutting DEP aid to cities and towns by one-third and eliminating all aid to towns that receive $5,000 or less annually.

Martin described the DEP as broken, overworked and under staffed.

"We must and will make dramatic changes to how we fundamentally do business at the DEP,'' he said. "We need to make permitting and inspections timely and predictable. We need to play a key role in the economic growth of the state. All regulations need to be based on science, data, facts and a cost-benefit analysis. Individuals and business coming to the DEP must be treated like a customer.''

Martin said a review found that between 1995 and 2009, the Legislature and governors approved 450 bills placing new requirements on the DEP while the number of employees dropped from 3,700 to 2,995. He said the department has staff assigned to 57 commissions, 42 extraneous bodies and 30 federal external or national non-profit boards.

"We are reviewing everything we do, analyzing those things we need to do better as well as those things we can eliminate without adversely affecting delivery of our core programs,'' Martin said. "In some cases, we will be coming back to the Legislature for statutory fixes of those provisions that are overly constraining and in some cases contradictory. We may be coming to you to eliminate those boards, councils and commissions that have outlived their usefulness or are not performing the functions for which they were intended.''

After the hearing, New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said the DEP budget is designed to dismantle many key environmental programs and cost the state so-called green jobs.

"Governor Christie has announced that he will cut money (the $65 million) for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and $68 million in programs funded by RGGI will be eliminated,'' Tittel said.

RGGI, a compact with multiple states in the Northeast, was established to create programs that reduce the greenhouse gas footprint. Programs help pay for clean energy programs that reduce carbon and create jobs.

Tittel charged that by cutting the fund, the governor is hurting the environment and keeping green jobs out of the state.

"When it comes to clean energy and reducing greenhouse gases, this budget shows the governor is full of hot air," Tittel said. "He keeps taking money away from green jobs and clean energy programs, undermining the environment and costing us jobs as well.

"DEP is at its lowest level of funding in more than 25 years," Tittel said. "There won't be enough people at DEP to issue the permits required to protect public health and the environment and ensure that our economy gets going."

Tittel said Christie plans to take $15 million from the constitutionally-dedicated corporate business tax revenue, which traditionally goes to environmental programs like fixing parks or helping towns to do watershed planning to meet stormwater rules. The revenue would also go to retrofit diesel school buses.

"The commissioner talked about one-stop shopping and making the DEP easier for companies and developers, but forgot to mention the environment or the public,'' Tittel said. "Polluters and developers were at one time called ‘applicants'. Then they were called ‘responsible parties'. Now Commissioner Martin wants to call them ‘clients,' Who does DEP work for, the environment and the citizens of New Jersey or polluters?"

 
Comments (28)
28 Friday, 23 April 2010 09:17
EscapedFromNJ
Christie impresses me more every day. Fat man for president in 2016 after he finishes fixing NJ.
27 Wednesday, 21 April 2010 21:11
Tortuga
Really? Come on, you're trying to frame polluters as persecuted victims? You are ridiculous.
26 Wednesday, 21 April 2010 21:05
DA30
A lot of these comments are completely ignorant. The vast majority of scientists around the world are virtually certain that global climate change is a real problem caused by the emissions of greenhouse gases due to human activities. If those of you in denial are an example of this state's education system, not only are you dead wrong about climate change, but you are also living proof that the last thing we need is education cuts, another brilliant idea from our governor!
25 Monday, 19 April 2010 22:04
When what you mean is found to be a lie then change what you mean
Then why not just call climate change or global warming UNPREDICTABLE; therefore unpreventable, EVENTS and COSTS - why all the granola language? You are absolutely wrong - that is not the UN"s definition of global warming, nor Gore's - the kingpin. Why not call it Adverse Events Risk Management? No. because then there is no preventable cautstrophic bullshit event that the whole world needs to unite against (which the citizens of the world are to blame for causing of course - false guilt - false dilema) to ensure that the citizens of the world voluntary surrender to slavery and poverty for to prevent. We are not as stupid as you had hoped - the dumbing down of education, readily available porn, drugs and hollywood propoganda movies have not had there intended effect on the human brain. Wave the white flag already.
24 Monday, 19 April 2010 21:46
perspectives
BTW it is not called global warming - it's called climate change which means the climate is changing - that way if it gets colder - it's climate change - if it get's warmer - it's climate change. The worst scenario would be if climate didn't change - which of course it does, because that is its nature.
23 Monday, 19 April 2010 08:17
Martin65
It's called getting quality employees who are NOT being bribed on the side.
22 Sunday, 18 April 2010 09:14
Paul Strauss
Fact is "polluters" ARE the public. They're the job creators, the employees, and those with pension and retirement plans holding the stock of major companies being hampered by BOGUS, false, fake "climate change" worries and "carbon footprint" NONSENSE that has been COMPLETELY and utterly DEBUNKED.

IMHO, Christie doesn't go near far enough. A good FIRST STEP would be to completely eliminate all "enviornmental" rules that deal with climate change, and cut the $300 + million budget for DEP down to $50 million and lay off 3/4ths of the employees. Cut the pay of the remaining staff down to at or below the median wage for the entire State-- in fact while I'm on the topic of state workers- their TOP pay should be no more than the median pay of every other citizen. It's called public SERVICE.

YOU WORK FOR US!
21 Thursday, 15 April 2010 21:49
Haley Inn
Okay I'm gonna blow it open. The whole global warming meme is a metaphor for the alien invasion of Earth happening right now! They're here. They're manifestly evil and self-righteous. They must be destroyed!
20 Thursday, 15 April 2010 14:39
Zdzislaw Meglicki
$65 million is but crumbs compared to the $10 billion deficit. But it's a good move to kill this wasteful, ideologically driven allocation on the "Global Warming Prevention" nonsense anyway. It sends a good signal to the electorate, to the remaining states, to Washington and to the Greens. This story is over and it's time to move on.
19 Wednesday, 14 April 2010 23:47
CalConsrv
Yes, the Terminator should stop the crazy invironmental wack jobs we have here in the once Golden State... Between the Air Quality Board and the Coastal Commission we have become a haven for leftist extremists. We have had more rain last year and this year and yet the farmers of the San Jaquin valley can't get water because of some minnow in the delta...

I wish we only had to fear criminals with guns instead of leftist/liberal with their control on our state...
18 Wednesday, 14 April 2010 21:55
West Houston
Quoting:
"By the way, global warming is not in dispute (and PR money may buy a lot, including, often, misleading media coverage, here in the US, but it doesn't buy science.)"
Commenting:
MANMADE global warming IS in dispute. Also the warming trend has reversed in recent years (or haven't you noticed?). AND there have been many times in the past when the climate has been much warmer and THAT is not in dispute at all, Pal. Michale Mann’s “hockey stick” is “Bovine Sewage”.
As far as media coverage, those guys have been sucking up to you alarmists for so long, they've forgotten how to be journalists.
17 Wednesday, 14 April 2010 21:42
Dickie Moe
"Gov. Chris Christie is taking $65 million, the entire allocation, from the state's global warming fund, and $5.9 million, from the toxic waste site cleanup program, to help close the over $10 billion deficit in his $29.3 billion 2010-11 state budget, the state environmental protection commissioner said Monday."

Yes! Yes! Yes!
About time!
Thank you!
16 Wednesday, 14 April 2010 20:14
Martin65
By the way, global warming is not in dispute (and PR money may buy a lot, including, often, misleading media coverage, here in the US, but it doesn't buy science.)

Google "Global Warming" denial for an eyeful.

Also, I'm not in any way related to the person in the article.
15 Wednesday, 14 April 2010 15:56
BO STINKS
Martin you are a fool
14 Wednesday, 14 April 2010 12:19
Martin65
Weather patterns are shifting, and have shifted many times in the past, and when that happens, we need to adjust. Because it means that things we take for granted may change. The cause is irrelevant, we still need to adjust.

During the last Ice Age, much of New Jersey was covered under a mile thick sheet of ice. Is that shift enough for you? The evidence for climate change is all around you, it can be subtle, bees or bats dying of new illnesses, or dramatic, like the decline of the glaciers in Glacier National Park. Glaciers and permafrost melting, habitats shifting, ocean currents changing. The evidence for recent shifts in the past is certainly dramatic, just look at Google Earth, you can still see the canyon of the Hudson, miles out at sea. Or glaciation effects (for example, the Finger Lakes region) Or do you deny that ever happened too? Were the grooves on the rocks in Central Park carved by some crazy environmentalist?

External events cause climate changes too.

Sometimes meteors hit Earth and cause huge fires, and that causes rapid shift in global climate. Its there in the ice cores and we can see that the shifts in climate come and they are substantial. Sometimes the reasons are impossible for us to discern - thousands of year later.

Here's one example..
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080619142112.htm

The lack of science literacy in the US does not help us economically. We got where we are because of our past leadership in science.
13 Wednesday, 14 April 2010 11:02
Chris R
Yeah, they are still using outdated scientific findings. Most of what underpins the fear mongering, from melting ice caps to killer hurricanes has been either dismissed outright or significantly downgraded to something less than an immediate threat. Give them some time. How would Christians react if they were confronted with irrefutable proof that Jesus never died on the cross? Debunking the science is easy. Destroying their faith is harder.
12 Wednesday, 14 April 2010 10:58
Chris R
Real ones come first. This fat governor is turning out to be a pleasant surprise. Keep going, Chris C!
11 Wednesday, 14 April 2010 09:35
Jay Davis
Governor Christie has got the right idea. Since AGW is a HOAX, spending money to combat it is absolutely STUPID! I wish our idiot governor here in Maryland would do the same. But since he is a liberal democrat, I doubt he will, no matter how bad the State's financial situation is.
10 Wednesday, 14 April 2010 08:09
RLW
I will vote for him in 2012 with moves like this!
9 Wednesday, 14 April 2010 07:45
wws
The "precautionary principle" was the entire reason we invaded Iraq. How do you like the way your "precautionary principle" works out in real life, Martin?
8 Wednesday, 14 April 2010 02:22
Weatherhappens
@Martin65 you must have missed the memo that the IPCC 4th Assessment Report that predicted a greater frequency of intense storms has now been proven false. Even many in the IPCC disavow it. But I know, don't confuse you with the facts because they just get in the way of your agenda.
7 Tuesday, 13 April 2010 23:01
RWE912
To Martin 65: Anthropogenic Global Warming is a hoax. The climate has been changing for millions of years, and will continue to change. AGW is a get rich scheme for Al Gore and company.
6 Tuesday, 13 April 2010 22:45
MyHeadIsGoingToExplode
There is only an $11 Billion defecit on an imaginary $40 Billion Budget. REVENUES MATCH EXPENSES IN CHRISTIES 29.3 billion budget. Is there no one who can read a budget out there. The budget dropped 3% a year for the previous 2 years. Why would it go up 40% in 1 year. These are bogus numbers.
5 Tuesday, 13 April 2010 21:36
Sirithil
If DEP, despite these cuts, still has enough surplus money and staff to fight "global warming" in addition to cleaning up these 20,000 toxic sites, then it stands to reason DEP can be cut further still.
4 Tuesday, 13 April 2010 18:07
Martin65
When I was growing up here, New Jersey had a well deserved national reputation for being one of the most heavily polluted states in the nation.

Now thanks to the hard work of many people, we've managed to put some of that behind us. But global warming presents a huge growing threat to our health and safety, and with our high population density, and industrial economic base, we DON'T have room to cut corners or even make small mistakes.

Basically, it comes down to this, over our history we've built up a body of common sense rules, building and safety codes and the like, that we need to obey, understand that they also need to be strengthened as we learn more.

Its irresponsible for Americans to pretend that knowledge built up globally doesn't apply to us. We need to make the US the environmental leader it once was, again.

We need to brainstorm, and conduct research on how to make our communities stronger, and build up a plan to deal with global warming to insure our safety. Otherwise, we could be buried with a host of problems. Look at the impact to their health of people who were impacted by Katrina.

Those communities have just begun to recover, economically, physically and psychologically. Will it happen again? Of course, it could happen again at any time. Lightning can and often does strike twice in the same place.

What I'm trying to say is that we can't play ostrich and put our heads in the sand. Our understanding of what is dangerous in our world and why it is so, is increasing, exponentially, as scientists grow more connected via the Internet.

When we learn something is a problem, we need to act on it. New knowledge in any area often means that some change needs to be made or some safety standard needs to be tightened up, not relaxed.

Even if its expensive, we would have to be idiots not to see that obeying the tenets of the globally recognized "precautionary principle" is far LESS expensive than the huge costs of ignoring common sense and public safety.

The number one problem presented by global warming is increases in the variability of weather. We'll probably slowly see extremes in weather we have never seen before. The number two problem, is related, its.. warming, which means in some areas, more moisture and more decay, (and tropical diseases that previously only existed south of here) and in other areas, less, i.e. not enough water. New Jersey used to have a huge problem with malaria and other vector borne illnesses. We need to stay vigilant in preventing that from happening again. Otherwise, we could find that, as happened in the past, a great many New Jerseyans fall sick from diseases, some among the largest killers in the world, many of which there are no known cure. That is just one of the realities we face if we ignore the threats posed by the deadly combination of extreme weather and warming climates. Most of New Jersey is low in elevation, but because of our temperate climate, its safe. However if one goes further south, you'll see that in the tropics, bottom land is often not inhabited, or inhabited only by the poor. That is the reason.

Additionally, we need to ask ourselves the hard questions, for example, what will happen here in extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and floods, if we don't site toxic facilities far enough from residential areas and watersheds to prevent danger if they were damaged in some way. Those kinds of things aren't in doubt, do happen, and we need to prepare for them. Look at what happened in Louisiana and Mississippi in Katrina. Such events are rare here, because of climate patterns, but climate patterns can change.

Don't forget, homeowners insurance has exclusions that may not register when its purchased, but that often mean it does not cover damage for many things.

Every community should start by asking what might happen in a 100 year storm. Or even a 300 year one.

Its only prudent because bluntly, politicians often tend to underestimate problems and the costs of addressing them. (They don't like to be bearers of bad tidings, just good.) And those are the good legislators.

How can we ensure that our water and air is safe, if irresponsible legislators tolerate a regulatory environment that "solves" health issues by simply declaring unhealthy situations to be healthy or ignoring their enforcement.

With the HIGH cost of medical care nowadays, that is NOT saving money, just shifting a potentially much greater burden onto families and employers.
3 Tuesday, 13 April 2010 15:37
CPMLohn
California needs to do the same...set aside AB32 for a few years. This will save the CA budget millions, plus, it will relieve the state's businesses of unneeded burdensome costs.
2 Tuesday, 13 April 2010 14:48
The Educator
Trying to solve imaginary problems is always very costly and always results in imaginary success. Nothing has changed in the objective reality world.
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