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MEDIA ADVISORY – Senate And Assembly Environment Panels To Hold Joint Hearing On Environmental Condition Of Barnegat Bay

LACEY TOWNSHIP – The Senate Environment Committee and the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee will conduct a joint hearing Thursday, July 30 at the Lacey Township Municipal Building to discuss environmental concerns regarding pollution in the Barnegat Bay.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in Community Hall, inside the Municipal Building at 101 North Main Street, Forked River, NJ.

“For the last three years, we’ve devoted our joint summer hearing to issues affecting the New Jersey shore,” said Senator Bob Smith, D-Middlesex and Somerset, and Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, who will be presiding over the joint hearing with Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Chairman, Assemblyman John F. McKeon, D-Essex. “This year, in addition to getting a report card on the various efforts to protect the shore and enhance our State’s shore tourism economy, we have a major crisis on our hands in the Barnegat Bay and the Little Egg Harbor estuary, where higher pollution run-off levels are literally choking the life from these vibrant ecosystems. We need to act fast on this crisis, before the damage caused by run-off creates an environmental hazard that will take generations to fix.”

Senator Smith noted that the Barnegat Bay is one of the State’s top eco-tourism attractions, drawing in thousands of visitors each year and millions in revenue for the local economy. As one of the most extensive saltwater marsh ecosystems on the East Coast, the bay and estuary are also home to a diverse population of marine and plant life.

The joint panel will hear testimony from public and invited guests about the overall health of the ecosystem and what can be done to reduce nonpoint source pollution that is contributing to the environmental problems in the bay and estuary.

WHO: The Senate Environment Committee and Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.

WHAT: Hearing on the Health of the Barnegat Bay and Little Egg Harbor Estuary

WHERE: Lacey Township Municipal Building, 101 North Main Street, Forked River, NJ

WHEN: 10:00 AM, Thursday, July 30, 2009

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