Home > Uncategorized > Ocean County Freeholders Side with Developers Over Restoring Barnegat Bay

Ocean County Freeholders Side with Developers Over Restoring Barnegat Bay

State and Local Intransigence Warrants EPA Mandates


 [Update below]

In the continuing saga on Barnegat Bay (see: Barnegat Bay TMDL Update), the Ocean County Freeholders – just as they did on August 12, 2010 –  have weighed in again, clearly on the side of developers.

The Asbury Park Press reports that the Freeholders passed a Resolution urging Governor Christie to veto a stormwater management bill (S1856 2R).

The legislation is well intended, but, because it is purely voluntary, is a meaningless symbolic gesture.

According to the non-partisan professionals at the Office of Legislative Services(OLS) fiscal estimate on the bill:

The bill authorizes the Ocean County Planning Board and each municipal planning board within the Barnegat Bay watershed to develop a stormwater and nonpoint source pollution management plan for the watershed. This is a voluntary measure not mandated by the State.

The bill directs these plans, if developed, to include a formula for the possible assessment by the subject planning boards of a fee for any new development within the Barnegat Bay watershed.  Fee revenues could be used for improvements and maintenance of stormwater control facilities and to provide incentives to property owners to reduce stormwater runoff from their property.

The bill also allows the subject planning boards to assess the same formula-based fee, as previously cited, upon any developer who receives a municipal approval of an application for development under the Municipal Land Use Law.

The Office Of Legislative Services estimates that there would be no fiscal impact on public funds under the bill because the management plan authorized therein is voluntary

We have repeatedly argued that voluntary local management measures have not worked and will not work.

In fact, lack of enforceable water quality management tools and land use controls are what are allowing the Bay to approach ecological collapse.

Given these failures, we have urged US EPA to enforce the Clean Water Act in NJ and for the Legislature to impose real State mandates, backed by adequate funding, not more symbolic gestures.

The repeated irresponsible intrasigence and opposition to real measures by the Freeholders and local governments to restore and protect barnegat Bay – including regulatory and land use controls and adequate funding – is the strongest argument for Legislative and regulatory mandates, including enforcement of the CLean Water Act and implementation of a TMDL to restore and protect Barnegat Bay.

So EPA, please do your job – state and local officials have not only failed to do so, they are now flouting that failure and making a mockery of the Clean Water Act.

(end note: politically, I must strenuously disagree with my friend Jeff Tittel in this quote:

“This is going to be a big test for Christie,” Tittel said.

Because the voluntary bill is a symbolic gesture and will be blocked by Ocean County Freeholders, it is not a “big test” for Christie. That is setting the bar so low, it approaches Dave Pringle’s grovelling. The Freeholders are grandstanding – they too know it is all meaningless.

The last thing I want to see is Pringle and Cindy Zipf at a press conference with Christie praising his leadership for signing a meaningless bill.

That would not only be politically damaging, but it would undermine land use controls, set back regional stromwater management efforts, and undercut real solutions by giving DEP and EPA cover to continue to sit on the sidelines.

[[Update 4/10/11: the headline is misleading, but the story is good – Asbury Park Press  Barnegat Bay needs help, Christie says  Freeholders are flat out lying about the alleged State mandate and costs.]

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  1. April 27th, 2011 at 19:27 | #1

    What are the alleged costs and the “more realistic” costs? Im curious to see the estimated difference.

  2. April 27th, 2011 at 20:17 | #2

    Hi Jack – not sure what “alleged costs” and “more realistic costs” you are referring to. Can you expand on that?

    AS far as I kinow, there are NO cost estimates for restoring the Bay or developing and/or implementing a TMDL.

    The cost arguments are all rhetoric – and they ignore all the benefits of a healthy Bay.

  1. May 1st, 2011 at 11:27 | #1
  2. May 12th, 2011 at 10:24 | #2
  3. June 28th, 2011 at 11:41 | #3
  4. July 20th, 2011 at 13:08 | #4
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