Christie’s Henchman Bob Martin Joins Christie’s Lobbying Firm – No Surprise
This week, former Governor Chris Christie announced that Bob Martin will join his lobbying firm, Christie 55 Solutions LLC, as managing director. Bob Martin served as New Jersey’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection under Governor Christie from 2010 until 2018.
“Bob Martin was the former DEP Commissioner under Chris Christie. He actively worked to implement Christie’s anti-environment agenda, siding with polluters over public health and the environment. It is fitting that he will be Christie’s henchman once again as managing director at his lobbying firm. Their administration was the most anti-environmental administration that New Jersey had ever seen. They worked to roll back or undo many of the greatest achievements of the DEP. Bob Martin is Christie’s loyalist. He does whatever Christie wants, and now he has joined Christie’s lobbying firm where there are some of the biggest polluters in the region,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “As DEP Commissioner, Martin sided with polluters and special interests time and time again. Now he is going back to work for Christie.”
The Christie Administration weakened many environmental regulations, including stormwater rules which would require recharging and detention of stormwater as well as buffers. Instead of improving the broken stormwater control systems in New Jersey, Chris Christie vetoed legislation to finance detention basin retrofits.
“During Bob Martin’s time as DEP Commissioner, DEP led the rollback of protections. He cut DEP staff by a third and cut programs from one part of DEP to another, from clean air and clean water, toxic sites, climate change, and open space. The permits given out by the DEP during Bob Martin’s time there was like a Who’s Who of special interests. He especially went after the Pinelands by pushing through damaging pipelines like South Jersey Gas and the Southern Reliability Link, and the Highlands with the Highlands Septic Density Rule. Together, Christie and Martin worked to pull out of RGGI. They refused to deal with greenhouse gases, leaving us more vulnerable to climate impacts like flooding and sea level rise,” said Tittel. “Bob Martin helped Christie close the Office of Climate Change and end DEP’s Coastal Program for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation. By refusing to acknowledge climate change, they made our state more vulnerable to pollution and flooding.”
During Bob Martin’s time at the DEP, they rolled back the Flood Hazard Rules, which included removing important protections for headwaters, increasing permit by rules, and letting a permit by certification process increase development in flood-prone areas.
“Under Bob Martin, DEP enforcement and inspections were down 40-60% and they had the lowest levels of staffing ever. Parks were falling apart, lead oversight wasn’t being performed in schools. Under Christie, Bob Martin helped roll back the Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA) and Coastal Zone Management Rules. They weakened the Wetlands Rules, Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, Stream Encroachment Rules, as well as the Water Quality Management Rules. Bob Martin’s Waiver Rule was one of the most extreme attacks on environmental protections. It allowed 124 existing rules to be waived, which meant polluters and developers were exempt from critical environmental, public health, and safety protections,” said Jeff Tittel. “These rollbacks are the reason that New Jersey is top three in the nation for developing homes in flood-prone areas.”
Chris Christie opposed efforts to improve the health of Barnegat Bay. The DEP refused to designate portions of the Bay as impaired. Christie vetoed legislation that would have put in place a TMDL plan to clean up the Bay and opposed legislation that would improve stormwater management systems. He allowed Oyster Creek to continue to operate without cooling towers.
“When Bob Martin worked for Christie’s administration, polluters were treated like customers. They invited polluters’ input on new rules, standards, and weakened environmental protections without public input or any transparency. Bob Martin was nothing but Christie’s puppet in rolling back 40 years of environmental protection. Together, they cut enforcement, weakened protections on drinking water, and failed to do anything to combat climate change. It is fitting that Christie would want Martin to work for him again. Bob Martin will do anything that Chris Christie asks him to do,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The damage that they did together will hurt New Jersey for decades to come.”