A "D" is nothing to be proud of after more than two years in office. Unfortunately, that's the grade Governor Christie is receiving on his environmental report card. We're grading the Governor because it's time for him to begin living up to his promises and get serious about protecting our water, air, and health.
We graded the Governor on thirty-nine (39) issues in 7 overarching subjects of environmental policy. These were the most important issues, the most active, and/or most representative of New Jersey's environmental concerns.
The grading for each subject and issue was based on (in priority order):
- The importance of the issue and how well is the Governor addressing it
- Whether he had previously committed to addressing it
- How his efforts compared to past governors'
Overall, the Governor has performed poorly - receiving "poor" or "failing" marks on 28 of 39 issues graded. Some of the top highlights and lowlights include:
- The Governor received his highest grades on offshore issues -- a "very good" for his unchanging opposition to liquid natural gas plants off the Jersey Shore and deepening the Delaware Bay and River Channel, and a "good" for opposing oil drilling and supporting wind power projects offshore.
- On clean water, he received failing grades for efforts to dismantle the Highlands Act and failure to fulfill his promise to better protect the state's most important ('c1') waterways, and a 'poor' on Barnegat Bay despite his well-publicized 10 point plan due to loopholes and poor implementation.
- On climate change, the Governor gets an "F" for not only abandoning his commitment to more aggressively implement the 2008 Energy Master Plan and 2007 Global Warming Response Act, but also for taking steps to weaken them.
While the report card is quite comprehensive, it has its unavoidable limits -- it cannot be all encompassing, is by its very nature subjective, and is a snapshot in time.
During his remaining time in office, the Governor not only can, but needs to improve his grades and do a better job protecting public health and the environment.