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Governor Signs Dirty Water Bill

Date : Tue, 13 Jan 2012 17:27:25 -0500

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

*Governor Signs Dirty Water Bill * Our state's water quality will continue to decline as the Governor signed legislation today to roll back and delay important pollution reduction rules.The Governor took the side of builders over clean water and the health of New Jersey's families by signing *A4335/S3156.*This law will delay updated water quality regulations for two years.The rules determine where sewer lines can do, determining where future growth will be, and the revisions would remove 300,000 environmentally sensitive acres from sewer service.In addition to the delay, the new law would allow for sewers extensions even if the local treatment plant does not have capacity and approvals can move forward with only partial wastewater management plans in place. All the major newspapers in the state editorialized against the bill because they understand the impacts it will have on our water.The Governor actions jeopardize our drinking water quality.Once again he has put his political interests above what is best for New Jersey's environment and public health.

"By signing the bill today, the Governor is eliminating protections for drinking water and allowing millions of gallons of pollution into our waterways and the destruction of 300,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land.Ink from a single pen can cause millions of gallons of water pollution,"*said* *NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel*. Governor Christie signed the legislation despite significant opposition from the EPA- including concern the bill will directly result in violations of the Clean Water Act.The Sierra Club will be petitioning the EPA to remove delegation for Water Quality Planning from New Jersey and have direct federal oversight on New Jersey's water programs restored.Because this bill violates the Clean Water Act, the EPA not only has the authority to remove delegation and permitting from the state of New Jersey when it comes to water, they can also block millions in grants for infrastructure.

"Governor Christie is taking care of special interests before protecting the drinking water for New Jersey residents.By signing this legislation, Governor Christie is jeopardizing our water quality, the environment, and public health.There is no threat more devastating to our families than the threat from having polluted water supplies.This law directly threatens surface and groundwater water supplies for the people of New Jersey," *said* *Jeff Tittel*.

"Today as the Governor delivers the State of State address the state of our waterways are failing. By signing this bill, the Legislature and the Governor are putting our drinking water at risk by siding with developers and polluters over protecting our drinking water. New Jersey has some of the most polluted waters in the nation and instead of cleaning up our waters they are rolling back vital protections. This is the power of special interest money threatening our environment and our future. This is wrong and we are going to fight to change this and protect our drinking water for future generations," *continued* *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*. Despite outcry by the EPA and environmental groups, the law has a loophole allowing for new sewer service in areas that do not have capacity to treat wastewater at existing treatment facilities.This provision could extend sewers into new parcels 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 law would also remove requirements to clean up groundwater pollution.Counties can now submit wastewater management plans without septic density standards to regulate growth in more rural areas and still receive approval from the DEP. This law 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*. There are plenty of other areas for New Jersey to grow without opening up the 300,000 sensitive acres.75,000 acres are open to development under a loophole for parcels under 25 acres and there are some 300,000 vacant acres in existing sewer service areas.We have hundreds of thousands of acres that are in need of redevelopment or are underdeveloped including brownfields and deserted strip malls.This law is about sprawl and destroying New Jersey's last remaining open spaces.We currently have approvals in existing sewer service areas that are not being built.This law is not about jobs, it is about greed

"There are plenty of projects proposed in sewer service areas that are not moving forward because of the economy.This is not about jobs, it's about taking care of polluters and special interests," *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.

"This is the type of bill the Governor would veto if he really cared about protecting our water or channeling economic development into our cities and existing communities.By signing this bill the Governor is attacking clean water. This law means more pollution, loss of more open space and more flooding.Governor Christie has wiped out years of progress in cleaning up and protecting our waterways with the stroke of his pen," *said* *Jeff Tittel*.

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2012-01-13 14:27:25

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