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Christie Declares War on Barnegat Bay

Date : Thu, 12 May 2011 17:05:51 -0400

For Immediate Release
May 12, 2011 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Christie Declares War on Barnegat Bay Vetoes Protection Bill

Today Governor Christie has declared war on Barnegat Bay by vetoing one of the important Barnegat Bay cleanup bills. S1856 (Smith) A 2606 (McKeon) a bill, which would have allowed Ocean County and towns to charge a fee to developers to address storm water issues and to provide an incentive to reduce pollution from new developments that threaten Barnegat Bay. This bill is permissive not mandatory it would allow the towns or county the choice to implement this fee. This bill is a step in the right direction provides a tool for towns to use if they want to protect the Bay.

"Today the Governor took the side of the developers and polluters over the people of New Jersey. He would rather play politics than protect Barnegat Bay," said Jeff Tittel, Director of New Jersey Sierra Club.

There are towns that supported the bill and looking forward to implementing legislation including Brick Township. This bill would have encourage better planning and land use decisions that will help protect water quality in streams, rivers, Tributaries and the Bay. The bill would have been voluntary meaning that towns do not have to enforce a fee if they do not want to. Therefore the towns who want to do the right thing for Barnegat Bay can. This is a modest bill that goes in the right direction and it is troubling that the Governor did not sign it.

"Just a couple of months ago the Governor stood at Barnegat Bay putting together a ten point plan to protect the bay. Instead he vetoed one bill, CVed another and is rolling back environmental protection that direct effects the Bay," said Tittel. "The Governor says one thing and does the opposite."

The Governor continues to take the side of polluters and special interests over cleaning up the bay by allowing more pollution to impact Barnegat Bay. The Governor conditionally vetoed a strong TMDL for the Bay, refused to address land use issues that continue to pollute the Bay, and cut a deal with Oyster Creek operator Exelon to allow the plant to continue destroying the Bay's aquatic ecosystems over the next ten years. Governor Christie's proposal for Barnegat Bay is at best mediocre and in some areas it is outright dangerous. By conditionally vetoing the TMDL bill Christie removed the timeline to implement the TMDL standard adding more pollution. The Governor has removed the bill's provision for studies of the Bay to be conducted by the DEP within a year. Now the DEP can study the bay to death without taking any actions to protect it.

"It does not matter how many scientific studies there are to show that Barnegat Bay is in trouble. The Governor would rather side with George Gilmore and developers than protect the Bay," Tittel said.

Barnegat Bay continues to be threatened by overdevelopment and non point pollution. The DEP needs to come forward with a comprehensive plan to protect and save the Bay. This plan should include storm water management, cooling towers at Oyster Creek, stopping sprawl and overdevelopment, limits to impervious cover and pulling sewers out of environmentally sensitive areas and TMDLs. Barnegat Bay is the Jersey Shore's most heavily used body of water. On a summer weekend 100,000 people can be boating on the bay at different times. The Bay is a critical part of New Jersey's $4 billion tourism industry and there is worth a $100 billion in ratables in and around the Bay. If we allow the bay to die, we lose that portion of the economy. What's important to save the bay is to get beyond local and parochial interest. We believe Barnegat Bay is a resource for all the people of New Jersey and must be protected.

"Barnegat Bay is one of the treasures of Jersey Shore and today the Governor is working to make sure that Barnegat Bay will not be there for future generations," said Jeff Tittel.

Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator NJ Sierra Club 145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618 609.656.7612 (f) 609.656.7618 Received on 2011-05-12 14:05:51

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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