New Jersey DEP Proposes Gag Order on Science Info

June 3, 2009

The Newark Star-Ledger reports a move by a top New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection official to prevent public disclosure of scientific information that should be public until political appointees without science credentials and press officers have approved it.

In the article, Brian T. Murray wrote:
 
"The commotion surrounds written guidelines from Jeanne Herb, the DEP's director of policy, planning and science, against employees disclosing technical and scientific reports — even if they are the subject of an Open Public Records Act request — until they are approved by upper management and the press office. The directive follows the April release of a report by DEP scientists concluding a new, stricter soil cleanup standard is needed for hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6, because the cancer-causing substance is riskier than previously believed.
 
The chromium-6 recommendation could force the DEP to review past and ongoing cleanups at more than 200 Hudson County sites where pollution was left behind by three now-defunct chromite ore refinement plants. The sites include valuable properties planned for development along Hudson County's 'Gold Coast' — Hudson River real estate facing New York City."