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Senate Committees To Hold Hearing On Encap Failings

TRENTON – Senator Bob Smith announced today that he will chair a joint meeting of the Senate Environment Committee and Senate Legislative Oversight Committee on Monday, March 17, 2008 to receive testimony from Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper concerning her report on the failures involved in the EnCap golf and housing project.

“When it comes to EnCap, it seems like a case of promises being repeated made and then repeatedly broken,” said Senator Smith, D-Middlesex and Chair of the Environment committee. “Now we have an incomplete clean up project on our hands in the Meadowlands, with uncapped landfills and untreated pollution still endangering the region. There are serious questions that must be answered about how a company with questionable financial backing like EnCap was allowed to undertake the remediation of such environmentally sensitive lands without better oversight.”

Senator Smith said the hearing will begin at 10:00 a.m. in Committee Room 6 of the State House Annex.

“I am pleased to see that Senate President Richard J. Codey has decided to move forward with hearings in order to get at the root of problems that have plagued EnCap,” said Senator Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic and Chair of the Oversight panel. “Having the Environment Committee lead the hearing recognizes that this is not primarily a redevelopment project, but rather an environmental cleanup project, as has always been my objective. I firmly believe that rigorous questioning of Inspector General Cooper will help get to the bottom of what really happened to have allowed this breakdown to occur.”

The Inspector General released a 277-page report on February 28 which outlined many of the financial and managerial shortcomings of EnCap Golf Holdings and lapses in proper oversight by State and local agencies. The project has fallen far behind schedule and cost taxpayers millions of dollars more than originally planned.