Elvin Montero is deputy executive director of the Chemistry Council of New Jersey (CCNJ), the trade association representing corporate polluters in New Jersey’s chemical, pharmaceutical, consumer products, flavor & fragrances, petroleum refining, and precious metals industries.
When the Department of Environmental Protection tried to set strict standards for 1,4-dioxane, a synthetic chemical carcinogenic found in drinking water from 17% of New Jersey’s public water systems, Montero’s group threatened that residents would be faced with higher water bills.
Right now, he is representing polluters trying to halt the implementation of regulations to restrict certain per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in New Jersey.
The same organization convinced the courts to invalidate state regulations intended to protect residents from Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), a synthetic environmental contaminant found in people and wildlife along with PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid).
PFAS, PFNA, PFOA and PFOS are known as ‘forever chemicals’ due to they break down very slowly over time, which result in harmful human health effects. Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, forever chemicals are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment.
Instead of identifying Montero as one of the culprits responsible for profiting off corruption in government that allows big money to threaten the health and safety of people, some Democrats are embracing him as a prospective leader.
In a truly shocking move, Governor Phil Murphy included Montero when he nominated three corporate lobbyists to replace three seasoned environmental leaders as members of the independent agency whose mission is to “preserve, protect, and enhance the natural and cultural resources of the Pinelands National Reserve, and to encourage compatible economic and other human activities consistent with that purpose.”
The Pinelands Commission executes a comprehensive plan to guide land use, development and natural resource protection programs in the environmentally-sensitive 1.1 million-acre Pinelands National Reserve in southern New Jersey, one-fifth of all land in the state.
Montero has been working for the Chemistry Council for about 18 years, championing greater freedom for polluters, lower taxes on oil companies, and looser regulations that could lead to environmental catastrophe.
When Murphy picked Montero to replace environmental lawyer Ed Lloyd, retired science teacher Rick Prickett, and D’Arcy Rohan Green, activists who have fought for decades to protect the Pinelands screamed about it and the corporate polluter’s lobbyist was pulled from the list.
Now, the Mercer County Democratic Committee is considering Montero —recognized by the group as a “Democratic Rising Star” in 2017— as one of seven contenders hoping to be among three Mercer County Commissioner candidates selected on Wednesday, March 16.
Rep. Bonnie Watson-Coleman asked Montero to represent her district at a special roundtable on national LGBT polices hosted by the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Xavier Becerra and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
The chemical industry lobbyist is a sergeant at arms for the Mercer County Democratic Committee and an unsuccessful candidate for Council-At-Large in the City of Trenton who was nonetheless recruited as Transition Team co-chair and he remains a close advisor to Mayor Reed Gusciora, who has presided over chaos, corruption and two years with a record number of murders in the capital city.