With the New Jersey Supreme Court's refusal last week to hear an appeal in an ongoing battle over waterfront access, the state Department of Environmental Protection is not permitted to enforce a set of rules that gave towns a role in deciding how the public accesses the state's waterways.
This latest development, hailed by the environmental groups that brought the suit, now puts the focus on state lawmakers' efforts to address the decade-old issue.
"The legislature has to come up with a law directing what kind of rules (the DEP) can and cannot write," said Bill Sheehan, executive director of the Hackensack Riverkeeper. "That's what we wanted all along."
The bill is in response to a Dec. 22 appellate court decision that sided with the Hackensack Riverkeeper and said the DEP doesn't have authority over public access to the state's waterfront areas because state law never gave the agency that power
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