Opinion

One More Trenton Raid?

83d9bf0bc51259674f7a_audubonmooij.jpg
Kelly Mooij is vice president of government affairs for New Jersey Audubon.
83d9bf0bc51259674f7a_audubonmooij.jpg

June is budget month in Trenton. Gov. Chris Christie and state Legislature are seeking to balance the budget in a challenging fiscal situation. Unfortunately, environmental funds top the list of places to find “extra” money to balance the budget.

Just a few months ago, with strong bipartisan support, the state Legislature acted to give voters the opportunity to protect natural resource damages from future diversions by placing a measure on the upcoming November ballot.

New Jersey’s Natural Resource Damages program requires polluters to go beyond the mandated cleanup costs to pay damages for restoration and compensation for the public loss of use of habitat, species, water and land. If passed, the public question would ensure that funds paid by polluters go to restore impacted communities — not to plug holes in the state budget.

Sign Up for E-News

But before the voters get the chance to protect the funds, the governor is planning one more really big raid of $175 million in these funds.

The governor’s proposal takes the funds from the rotten Exxon Bayway settlement reached last year. This settlement accepted damages for just pennies on the dollar, compared to the actual damages resulting from decades of pollution to wetlands in Linden. To have this drastically reduced sum dumped into the gaping budget hole would add insult to decades of environmental injury.

The state Legislature has the chance to once again protect these funds by striking this proposed diversion from the budget.  Now is the time to act.

Editor’s Note: Kelly Mooij is vice president of government affairs for New Jersey Audubon, a not-for profit, statewide membership organization, based in Bernardsville. Its mission is to foster environmental awareness and a conservation ethic among New Jersey’s citizens; to protect New Jersey’s birds, mammals, other animals and plants, especially endangered and threatened species; and to promote preservation of New Jersey’s valuable natural habitats.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Belmar/Lake Como

Congressman Smith Lauds BPU Action Rejecting Power Line Plan

June 23, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Chris Smith, who represents much of Monmouth County, applauded New Jersey Board of Public Utilities's decision rejecting the proposal of Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) to construct a high-voltage power line between Red Bank and Aberdeen.

“(The June 22) decision is a vindication for local residents who fought long and hard to oppose ...

Keep 12th Avenue with ‘Normal Height’ Homes

June 21, 2018

To the Editor:

Attend the (Belmar Zoning Board of Adjustment) hearing on (Thursday, June 28) to voice your opposition to having two five-story condos of 24 units each on the first block of 12th Avenue. Join your neighbors in protesting this density of buildings and 62-foot height of housing units that will have a negative impact on the residential quality of the neighborhood.

The Belmar Inn ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...

Princeton Students Achieve Success: Bog Turtle Designated State Reptile

June 19, 2018

TRENTON, NJ — Legislation inspired by students from Princeton designating the endangered bog turtle as the New Jersey state reptile has been signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy.

“I am so proud of the successful effort of students at Riverside Elementary and their teacher, Mark Eastburn, to name the bog turtle as New Jersey’s official reptile,”  said Sen.

Belmar and Lake Como

June 2, 2018

Belmar Police Department reported the following arrests occurred in Belmar and Lake Como from April 1, 2018 to April 28, 2018.

BELMAR

Ryan Miles, 33, of Belmar was charged with contempt on an outstanding warrant after his arrest on April 1 on Route 35 by Police Officer Patrick McGill.

Lisa Perrault, 49, of Long Branch was arrested on 16th Avenue on April 6 by Police Officer Patrick ...