Gov. Chris Christie was given a "D" grade by the New Jersey Environmental Federation, the largest green group that backed him in his 2009 election.
The group gave him across-the-board poor marks, led by a failing grade for his positions on climate change.
"He told us to trust him, and we have lost that trust at this point in time," said Sharon Finlayson, who chairs the federation committee that makes political endorsements. The group announced the grade today at a press conference in the Statehouse.
Business groups have largely supported the governor's environmental positions, including efforts at the Department of Environmental Protection to decrease the time it takes decide on permits.
The governor's positions on climate change — including reducing the state's renewable energy goals and leaving the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative — and on the Highlands were criticized in particularly.
Federation officials said they held out hope that Christie would reverse course before next year's election. Its chairwoman, Janet Tauro, emphasized that the group derived "absolutely no satisfaction whatsoever" in giving the poor grade, saying that it wished Christie were receiving an "A-plus."
Federation campaign director David Pringle said there are issues that would benefit both the business community and the environment, such as increasing energy efficiency. He noted that Christie has backed wind power, which has been supported by some businesses.
Pringle said the group doesn't regret endorsing Christie, adding that he doesn't know whether Christie misled them or had a change of heart on issues they discussed during the endorsement process.
DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese rebutted the grade.
"We would give the New Jersey Environmental Federation an 'F' for really failing to appreciate the positive environmental accomplishments of the Christie administration on air and water and curbing harmful emissions," Ragonese said.
Ragonese said the administration would have received high grades if the federation had looked closer at the administration's record.
"It's obvious they didn't recall the Barnegat Bay plan and the lawsuits that we have filed against big polluting coal-fired power plants in western Pennsylvania, or that we're now No. 1 and 2 in the nation in commercial and residential solar installations," he said. "It's sad to see that they've ignored these really major accomplishments, but we're still willing to work with them to help improve the environment in New Jersey."
The federation's criticism is "long overdue, in fact, two years overdue," said state Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel in a statement.