Thursday, September 8, 2016

Committee releases bill prodding NJDEP on contaminants

Senator Ray Lesniak calls his bill S-2468 a way "to hold DEP's feet to the fire" in setting
safety limits for contaminants in drinking water.

The Christie Administration put the brakes on setting new limits for a number of chemicals found in public water sources as soon as the governor took office in 2010.

For several years following the issuance of an executive order freezing new rules and regulations, the governor's office failed to appoint members to the Drinking Water Quality Institute, a science-based panel that makes recommendations to the DEP on limits that it believes should be set for those unregulated chemicals.

Lesniak's bill, as introduced, would have forced the department to adopt recommendations made by the council. The legislation was amended in the Senate Environment and Energy Committee today to continue the present practice of allowing the DEP to review the recommendation and have a final say in setting the limit, but the bill now sets a deadline for the department to decide.

If the department fails to establish a pubic review process within two months and fails to adopt a standard six months later, the Institute's recommended limit would automatically go into effect.

The bill was released on a unanimous, bipartisan vote.

Related news story:
Democrats, Republicans chide Christie's DEP over inaction on drinking water

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