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Senate Majority Leader Buono Relieved That DEP Commissioner Does An “About Face” On Regulation Of Toxic Chemical In State’s Water Supply

TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) today issued the following statement after the NJ Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin indicated that he would implement restrictions on perchlorate, a toxic chemical found in some drinking water wells in New Jersey.

The Commissioner’s announcement came weeks after his refusal to sign a proposed rule regulating perchlorate levels in drinking water, and just days after taking questions from Buono during a Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing on the subject:

“I am relieved that Commissioner Martin has finally decided to do the right thing and implement restrictions on perchlorate. Permitting a chemical that is found in fertilizer and rocket fuel to remain unregulated in our drinking water is simply unconscionable and puts all New Jerseyans at a serious risk for developing thyroid disease. Beyond that, it has devastating health consequences in pregnant women and children, harming the fetus and causing learning and developmental difficulties.”

During Wednesday’s hearing, the Commissioner asserted that no one had been able to document that the public’s health is in fact at risk. However, Buono cited evidence from the New Jersey Drinking Water Quality Institute, an entity that is part of the DEP’s Division of Water Supply. She also noted that California and Massachusetts have already enacted regulations on the toxin.

“It is good news that the Commissioner relented and agreed to act now to protect New Jerseyans, rather than wait while perchlorate continued to do serious damage to our health.”