Earlier this month, the New Jersey legislature enacted a privatized system, modeled on Massachusetts approach, for cleaning up state superfund sites. Score one for truth, justice and the American Way. If that were all, the NJ legislation might be worth just a brief mention, but I thought it noteworthy that the Greenwire article concerning implementation of the program focused not on the spread of the privatized program approach, but on the outrage being mustered by the environmental community at the sell-out to polluters by the NJ government.
I like to think that I’m not naïve on such matters, but I find such articles unspeakably depressing. Why must there be such a knee-jerk reaction to what is unambiguously progress, allowing cleanups to proceed more quickly and cost-effectively, and saving governmental resources for the places where they are really needed?
For those who care, the statistics on the Massachusetts program demonstrate that, although MassDEP audits frequently find paper violations and sometimes require more field work to assuage MassDEP concerns, additional cleanup is almost never required as the result of audits. In other words, private cleanups do the job and protect public health and the environment.
I’ll therefore get on my soapbox once more and ask why Lisa Jackson, late of NJ, and now with a really bully pulpit, cannot praise the NJ statute? Rather than being defensive about it, she could even suggest it as a model for appropriate changes to the federal Superfund statute, CERCLA.
I can dream, can’t I?