Sunday, March 29, 2015

Assembly bill gives DEP final say on Meadowlands projects

Liberty State Park - Credit Tripadvisor
The New Jersey State Assembly approved a bill on Thursday (3/26) updating the disputed law overhauling the Meadowlands district by adding language to give final authority of development decisions to the head of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Dustin Racioppi reports for the The Record that:

"The new language is viewed by open-space and environmental advocates as crucial to maintaining control of Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The sprawling park along the Hudson River has long been eyed for development projects, and Governor Christie hired consultants last year to develop plans and attract private interests there.
"The original bill – called the Hackensack Meadowlands Agency Consolidation Act – was fast-tracked in the Legislature late last year and signed by Christie last month. It gave development power to the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, an organization with no experience running a park, sparking outcry by groups and park advocates who saw the measure as an opening to private development there.

"Language in the new bill says that any plans for Liberty State Park approved by the newly created Meadowlands Regional Commission are subject to one public hearing and the “approval or disapproval by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection.”
The bill passed the Assembly by a vote of 55 - 15 and was sent to the Senate where an identical bill is pending.
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