The New Jersey Sierra Club this afternoon bemoaned the selection of Michele Siekerka, assistant commissioner of Water Resource Management at the NJDEP, as the new presdient of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), labeling it the worst kind of revolving door Trenton politics.
The Sierra Club opposed Siekerka’s appointment to the NJDEP because of her past work and what the organization cites as her inherent conflict of interest since she also serves as a chairman of the board of Roma Bank, which invests money in shopping centers, office parks, and residential developments.
“It comes as no surprise, but it is shameful,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the NJ Sierra Club. “As Deputy Commissioner she was working for BIA and other polluters all along, not the people of New Jersey. She has been one of the leading people enforcing the Christie agenda of rolling back protections and cutting enforcement. When she was in DEP she was a walking conflict of interest. She was a lobbyist for polluters before she was in state government, after she was in state government, and now afterwards. Under her, DEP has been the Department of Excessive Pollution.
“As Asst. Commissioner of Water she oversaw the weakening of protections for drinking water and the expansion of sewers into environmentally sensitive areas,” Tittel added. “As Deputy Commissioner she was one pro-fracking pushing for lifting the moratorium at the DRBC. She oversaw the rolling back of enforcement, the problems at Roxbury landfill, with enforcement down 60% and failure of New Jersey to use climate change in rebuilding and weakening of coastal protections. She is going where she belongs but did a lot of damage to New Jersey’s environment while at DEP. This is part of the revolving door of lobbyists in government that Christie promised to end. As head of NJBIA she will be using her connections in government to lobby for their interests to use government action to benefit polluters.”