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NJ Environmentalists Respond to Christie's Earth Day Silence

Governor offers no official recognition of Earth Day

by Tom Johnson, NJSpotlight.com

Earth Day passed, if not away, then at least quietly in New Jersey yesterday.

There were an array of small events, but not the usual big ceremonies celebrating the state’s once unyielding commitment to the environment, a record embellished by some of the nation’s toughest laws to protect the air, water and public from harmful pollution.

Gov. Chris Christie, the target of criticism from environmentalists during his tenure, failed to even acknowledge the day.

Asked whether that reflected his interest in the environment, his spokesman, Michael Drewniak, responded: “It signifies nothing and the premise of your loaded question is false and offensive.’’

David Pringle, campaign director of the New Jersey Environmental Federation, which endorsed Christie in his election effort, said Christie's failure to do an Earth Day event reflects the fact that he does not have much to brag about. Responding to Drewniak's comment, Pringle added, "It's typical -- when you can't attack the message, you attack the messenger -- whether it's Tom Johnson or Jeff Tittel [director of the New Jersey Sierra Club].

Perhaps fittingly, it rained all day, bringing welcome precipitation to a state parched by unusually dry weather with worries New Jersey soon could be in the midst of a new drought crisis.

At a time when environmental laws face increased scrutiny and criticism in Trenton, and, more so in Washington, the view that the public and New Jersey might be moving in that same conservative direction where environmental laws apparently have less support was disputed by some environmentalists.

“You see a lot of young people going green -- recycling and bringing canvas bags to supermarkets. You see a lot of companies going green -- putting solar on their roofs or grounds,’’ Tittel said.

“Now, you see government going in the wrong direction,’’ said Tittel, citing both the Christie and Obama administrations.

Nevertheless, it did not stop Democrats from hurling criticism at the Republican governor.

In a press release issued by the Democratic press office, Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex), a sponsor of the bill creating protections for the New Jersey Highlands, the source of drinking water for many residents, sharply lashed out at the appointment of a new executive director at the regional agency.

“The Christie administration continues to play politics with the environment by pushing Morris County Freeholder Gene Feyl as executive director of the Highlands Council, following the unconscionable ouster of Eileen Swann, who was removed from her post, despite doing an outstanding job of implementing the Highlands Act,’’ McKeon said.

Feyl was hired as executive director of the council this past Thursday, a move that some environmentalists saw as a ramping up of what they view as a bid by the governor to repeal the Highlands Act, not by legislative means, but from the inside, according to Doug O’Malley, field director for Environment New Jersey.

“The truth is there’s not much to celebrate this Earth Day,’’ said O’Malley whose group was among 27 organizations that joined together to file a lawsuit against a controversial new rule that would allow the Department of Environmental Protection to waive environmental regulations if they were deemed unduly burdensome.

Read more at NJSpotlight.com

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Kat April 27, 2012 at 09:29 PM
I did read. You started with "The fat man ..." That is my point. What does his weight have to do with any political agenda. Then we have eyes wide shut with this "the man with more Chin's than a Chinese phone book" which is also not very "pc" along with being another "fat" joke. Scondo - you have made great contributions - statements made up of fact and reasoning. I am sorry if I offended you, I was certainly not speaking about you when I made my original comment.
Big Ben May 02, 2012 at 01:11 AM
What caused all the global warming and glacier melts in the dozen or so times that this happened before man came along? How did the planet survive and correct the condition without Al Gore? My belief is that this global warming, global cooling is all part of the normal life cycle of the planet. Perhaps the planet might even die if man develops technology/strategy to end this cycle.
Tommy P May 02, 2012 at 02:10 AM
The science is settled, they want to take your money.
Keith Jensen October 03, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Have you heard about the 3 large concrete reservoirs that are going up in your area's back yard? This has already been quietly voted on, passed, and the press is keeping it on the hush-hush. Well, that is if you allow it to stay that way. The reservoirs are to be drained and these $100Million monoliths will rise (along with your property taxes) for everyone to see looming above Paterson on Rte. 80. Read and comment here if it is a concern: http://englewood.patch.com/articles/nj-environmental-federation-endorses-democrats-for-congress-blasts-gop#comments
Scondo October 03, 2012 at 02:14 PM
The truth follows "EPA’s mandate requires that all open reservoirs that contain drinking water to be covered with concrete or undergo additional retreatment processes to protect drinking water from biological pathogens." This is a Jackson / Obama? EPA mandated solution to a non problem.

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