LACEY TOWNSHIP – Senator Bob Gordon, D-Bergen, and a member of the Senate Environment Committee, issued the following statement today regarding the joint hearing between the Environment Committee and the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on the environmental conditions facing the Barnegat Bay and Little Egg Harbor estuaries and other important issues facing the Jersey Shore:
“I applaud everyone who came out today and testified on the need to control runoff contamination in the Barnegat Bay and elsewhere in New Jersey. This is not a regional problem or a Shore problem, but a Statewide problem, and unless we begin to adopt better pollution control legislation and more sensible land use regulations in New Jersey, we’re going to lose one of our State’s biggest economic assets.
“Each summer, millions of tourists visit the Jersey Shore, pumping billions of dollars into the State economy. However, each summer, beach closings are becoming more common, as the water quality is becoming poorer and poorer as to be dangerous for bathers.
“The effects of runoff are even more apparent in the Barnegat Bay, as algae blooms suffocate other plant-life and marine-life in the waters. What was once a teeming ecosystem, contributing to our State’s commercial fishing and ecotourism economy is quickly becoming barren and lifeless.
“We need to do a better job enforcing existing environmental standards, and we need new pollution controls and land use rules to reverse the years of inaction and neglect that have led to the crisis conditions in the Barnegat Bay and elsewhere along the Shore. Hopefully today’s hearing serves as a wake-up call, and we finally take the steps needed to protect the integrity and viability of the Jersey shore for years to come.”