Bill Would Require Shore Project Priority List
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. April 25, 2013
A New Jersey Senate committee has advanced legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Commissioner to develop a priority system for shore protection projects.
Republican Senator Jen Beck voted against the bill because she’s concerned a priority list could stand in the way of some beach protection projects.
“What if we have a project in Long Branch ready to go, and we go to the Shore Protection Fund, and they say oh you don’t really meet the priority list, sorry, and now we can’t do that project.”
Senate Environment Committee chairman Bob Smith says the measure provides for public input and good planning.
“It’s really not like let’s find a way to avoid number two on the list and go to number five. It’s about trying to spend your money in a strategic way.”
Environmental groups are urging lawmakers to require more public access to the beach when state funds are used for replenishment projects.
Tim Dillingham, the executive director of the American Littoral Society, a coastal advocacy group. Says beach projects that involve federal funds are required to provide beach access, but that doesn’t always happen.
“If you include public access as required element of this funding, we’ll be able to provide the funding to the municipalities. So that cost issue of providing or acquisition of land to support parking or other additional elements of robust access projects can be dealt with.”