POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Christie announces $20M to clean up Barnegat Bay

BY David Cruz, Senior Correspondent |

Even at a 15 percent approval rating, Gov. Chris Christie seems to be having a good time. Granted he was in solidly Republican Ocean County to announce a $20 million effort to continue recovery of Barnegat Bay, which has been under stress from pollution from storm runoff and other environmental ills from over development. After seven years of study, the state is implementing its findings, according to Christie.

“First, we’ll be providing $20 million in grants to county and local governments, as well as other organizations, to address the non-point sources of pollution and other stressors to the bay. Second, to reduce the amount of nutrients finding their way into the bay, I have directed the DEP to begin developing focused Total Maximum Daily Load criteria for nutrients to restore impaired areas of the bay to a healthy condition,” said Christie.

Christie would not be shocked to hear that his environmentalist critics are calling this all too little too late, even though they applauded the initiative. It’s that kind of thing that Christie loves, and it showed Wednesday in the Q&A portion of the program.

On Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto criticizing the governor’s using unspent pre-K dollars to fund his opioid initiative, Christie had this to say, “First of all, Speaker Prieto is a liar, so let’s just start off with that. And, he has been for most of his time as speaker, which is why he’s not going to be speaker anymore.”

Prieto said on Wednesday it’s Christie who broke his promises. Again. But, Christie has the power to both call the speaker a liar and redirect funds from his pet projects on a whim. The governor also threw shots at the press, which he says is refusing to ask uncomfortable questions, like why lieutenant governor candidate Sheila Oliver refused to back a bill that would have prohibited the state’s pension fund from investing in companies that boycott Israel.

“I can’t tell you how many questions I’ve had about Parker Space,” said Christie. “Not one question about Sheila Oliver. Why? You know why and I know why. Because the media doesn’t want to ask those questions about Sheila Oliver.”

Even on the Las Vegas killings, the governor who pivoted to the right on gun issues while running for president, appeared to be blaming the messengers: the media.

“You turn on the television, this is all you see. They’re glorifying the guy with this coverage. If you’re another sad, lonely, crazy person who thinks he gets no attention in the world, what do you think this coverage does? Do you think it makes that person more or less likely? I don’t know, but I tell you, I get concerned about it,” he said.

Like fighting drug addiction, the governor knows it’s hard to be critical of cleaning up the environment, and if he can bash his political opponents along the way, it’s just one of the perks of being governor.