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Lead in NJ water: Of 32 ideas to address it, one became law, one Murphy vetoed

Stacey Barchenger & Dustin Racioppi | September 30, 2019 | Bergen Record |


After hearing concerns that lead was tainting water in schools and residents’ homes, New Jersey lawmakers offered at least 32 possible ways to help track or remove the threat in water, soil and paint.

Only one became law: A 2018 measure allowing municipalities to levy assessments and issue bonds to fund lead service line replacement in some circumstances.

Another came close to becoming law, and Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed it.

The proposal last year would have implemented a 5-cent fee on paper and plastic bags and dedicated the revenue to schools and communities to remove lead pipes and paint. Lawmakers took steps to divert the money to the general fund, and ultimately Murphy vetoed the measure, saying it was “incomplete and insufficient” because it applied only to certain stores and he favored an outright ban on plastic bags.


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