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Sierra Club Calls on Governor Christie to Veto Dirty Water Bill

Date : Tue, 13 Jan 2012 17:26:37 -0500

For Immediate Release
January 13, 2011 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

*Sierra Club Calls on Governor Christie to Veto Dirty Water Bill * The Dirty Water bill is currently sitting on Governor Christie's desk after being passed by the Legislature on the last day of the session.This bill would delay and circumvent important regulations to improve water quality in our state.According to the EPA, 77% of New Jersey's waterways do not meet all uses such as fishing, swimming and drinking, and under this bill the problem will get worse.*A4335/S3156 *would push back the implementation of important rules determining where sewers can be placed for two years.The revised rule is key in determining where future growth will be and removes 300,000 environmentally sensitive acres from sewer service.All the major newspapers in the state editorialized against the bill because they understand the impacts it will have on our water.The Sierra Club calls on Governor Christie to veto this legislation to protect our state's water quality, the environment, and the public health.

"By vetoing this bill, Governor Christie can stand up to the special interests and protect the drinking water for New Jersey residents.There is no threat more devastating to our families than the threat from having polluted water supplies.This bill directly threatens surface and groundwater water supplies for the people of New Jersey and we need the Governor to stop it from becoming law," *said* *NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel*. If the 300,000 environmentally sensitive acres that are scheduled to be removed from sewer service are developed over the next two years, our waterways and drinking water will suffer from significant increases in pollution.A report by Princeton Hydro found the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that would be added to waterways is the equivalent of dumping 23,000 bags of fertilizer in the water each year.The increase in suspended solids is comparable to 225,000 dump truck loads in our streams, lakes, and bays.Barnegat Bay would be the hardest hit by the resulting increased pollution, as 35,000 critical acres could be paved over, destroying the Bay. Another report found the bill would cost residents and businesses between $217 and $435 million in additional water treatment costs annually.

"This bill not only affects us at our faucets but at our wallets.Not only will we have more pollution in our waterways but it will cost us more to filter those pollutants out of our drinking water, if we can," *said Jeff Tittel*. The EPA opposes the legislation and believes it will directly result in violations of the Clean Water Act.Because this bill violates the Clean Water Act, the EPA could remove delegation of authoirty and permitting for water quality from New Jersey if the Governor signs the bill.TheEPA can also block millions in grants for infrastructure. The bill has a loophole allowing for new sewer service in areas that do not have capacity to treat wastewater at existing treatment facilities.Sewers could extend beyond the 300,000 environmentally sensitive acres without environmental analysis or to areas without sewer plants or plants that do not have capacity to treat the waste.Compliance with the Clean Water Act would be jeopardized as this will cause greater problems with combined sewer overflows, decrease water quality, and could create requests for package treatment plants.This legislation would jeopardize TMDLs on Barnegat Bay and the Raritan and Passaic Rivers because of all the increased pollution. The bill removes requirements to clean up groundwater pollution.Counties could submit wastewater management plans without septic density standards to regulate growth in more rural areas and still receive approval from the DEP. This legislation will add more pollution and development around critical drinking water supplies.The Oradell, Spruce Run, and Round Valley Reservoirs will all be impacted.Major water supply intakes on the Raritan and Passaic Rivers will suffer from more pollution, impacting the Wanaque Reservoir.Pollution will increase in the Manasquan and Shark River Rivers and the Swimming River, Manasquan, and Brick Reservoirs.We are opening up 35,000 environmentally sensitive acres around Barnegat Bay, enough to double the population of Ocean County, to sprawl development, ultimately destroying Barnegat Bay.

"The Governor's 10 Point Plan for Barnegat Bay is pointless because of all the additional pollution that will enter the Bay as a direct result of this bill," *said Jeff Tittel*. Environmental advocates have been working for over 15 years to get these regulations in place.In 1988, the EPA asked New Jersey to roll back sewer service areas by 1994 and provided the state with $3 million in grant funding to update the plans. In 2009, New Jersey received more than $1.6 million from the EPA for these plans.New Jersey received millions to implement these rules and this delay would violate those agreements.

"Governor would veto this bill if he really cared about protecting our water or channeling economic development into our cities and existing communities.This bill will mean more pollution, loss of more open space and more flooding," *said* *Jeff Tittel*.

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2012-01-13 14:26:37

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
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