TRENTON – Senator Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May and Cumberland, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, issued the following statement regarding today’s joint hearing of the Legislative environmental panels regarding the DEP’s plan to reform New Jersey’s site remediation program:
“We heard today how the current system of site remediation and property cleanup in New Jersey is broken. Environmental regulators cannot keep up with the pace of remediation projects in the State, and we’re seeing a growing backlog of cases which not only endanger the health of State residents, but block the growth and redevelopment of our communities and local economies.
“From the perspective of builders seeking to reclaim polluted property for legitimate local use, we need greater transparency, predictability and finality in the site remediation program. Right now, many businesses do not want to get involved in cleaning up and redeveloping polluted property, because the hidden costs of cleanup and the lingering problems in polluted sites make redevelopment cost-prohibitive. If we’re serious about bringing economic opportunities to our older neighborhoods, we need a site remediation program that works.
“I think that as a result of today’s hearing and our committees’ collective commitment to fixing the broken site remediation guidelines in New Jersey, we will have a legislative formula which addresses the concerns of all stakeholders by the end of the year. I look forward to working with my fellow lawmakers to develop guidelines which incentivize business to invest in our communities and preserve the safety of our environment. Environmental preservation and economic revitalization are not mutually exclusive ideals, and a new site remediation program which prioritizes both goals is necessary to keep our communities competitive and our local residents safe and healthy.”