The State & the EPA are DEFINITLY NOT the same. The Passaic issue was not generated by the EPA, but by the local Mayor's office looking for cash handouts with the help of the State via political party alliance. The EPA is Federal while New Jersey has the NJDEP which, since the Florio administration, has become nothing but an arm of the State to push and bully companies and private residents around by threatening to ruin their lives and hand down monstrous fines without due process of the law. All in all, they are simply used to enforce political whims (under the guise of public health & safety) and serve as a revenue generator.
The Passaic C&D Transfer Station was a classic case of misuse of government resources to enforce political blackmail and shakedown.
The EPA has their own issues but nothing as severe as NJDEP. The NJDEP operates as if they are part of a criminal syndicate and use the same M.O.(Method of Operation) - seeking protection money via outrageous permitting requirements or something "bad" will befall the business.
I have worked for various environmental companies and departments (big & small, corporate, consulting, & contractors) over the last 20 years, and have seen first hand how NJDEP has run various small Mom & Pop companies out of business via regulation, equipment requirements, insurance requirements, and penalties. As a business, you can only survive in NJ if you have deep pockets.