Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bills to save New Jersey's Barnegat Bay signed into law

** Updated on Jan. 9, 2011 to add several related  news stories**

In a big win for environmentalists, sportsmen, boaters and lovers of the Jersey Shore, Governor Chris Christie today signed into law three bills designed to remove some of the environmental stress that has compromised the health of  Barnegat Bay.

The environmental legislation was the focus of a concerted lobbying campaign in 2009
by a coalition of Bay supporters that gained significant media attention.

Here's how a news release from Clean Ocean Action described each of the bills (to read the
entire text of a bill, left-click on the bill number
"The “Fertilizer Bill” (A2290) codifies best management processes for fertilizer for use on lawns throughout the State of NJ by regulating the content and application of fertilizer.  This bill was initially conceptualized as a model local ordinance by Save Barnegat Bay before it gained momentum at the State level. 

The “Soil Health”(A2501) addresses the need for comprehensive soil care practices at a Statewide level.  This new law will uses a common sense approach to soil management and sets best management processes for soil care throughout the State. [Editor's Note: The legislation requires the development of standards for restoration of soil affected during construction projects, aiming to eliminate unnecessary soil compaction or removal]

The “NJDOT Stormwater Basin Bill” (A3606) speaks to a hidden need in our communities—that of our stormwater basins.  This last piece of legislation will provide dedicated funding for the restoration and repair of DOT managed stormwater basins and mandates that the Department of Transportation annually review their stormwater basins and address any problems that are found."  

Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action, commended “Governor Christie
(and bill sponsors) Senator Smith, and Assemblyman McKeon for their leadership in
passing these bills." 

Dena Mottola Jaborska, executive director of Environment New Jersey
, said: “Gov. Christie
and the Legislature deserve kudos for taking the first steps to deliver for the Shore. But the Governor’s work is not done – even today, a bill to start a strong clean-up for Barnegat Bay awaits his signature.”   [Editor's Note: That bill, A-3415, requires the DEP to adopt a pollution limit for nitrogen--the largest source of nutrient pollution in the Barnegat Bay]

The Sierra Club, which has been waging a public relations war against the Christie Administration, issued a news release thanking Smith and McKeon for sponsoring the legislation. The organization did not thank the governor for signing the bills.
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