Right now, over 90 percent of New Jersey's waters do not meet one or more water quality standards. These standards are set by New Jersey under the law and the state is obligated to meet them.
So, one would think that our state government would be doing all they can to improve the quality of our water by ensuring the standards are enforced. Nope. They are, in fact, doing the complete opposite.
The Christie Administration's NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently adopted changes to roll back water quality protections in its Flood Hazard Area Control Act (FHACA), putting our drinking water sources and families at risk and increasing the risk of flooding. The DEP rules reduce protections by:
- Eliminating and reducing naturally-effective vegetative/riparian buffers around streams and rivers; and
- Streamlining the permitting process and creating greater waiver opportunities.
The NJ State General Assembly and Senate have taken the first step to block the rules by passing resolutions declaring the draft rules violate legislative intent. However, the Christie Administration has largely ignored this warning and adopted the weakening changes.
But there is something we can do! The NJ Legislature can invalidate these weakening changes by passing a second resolution with a simple majority before July 1, 2016 - the Governor can't veto this. So right now, we need every New Jersey resident to contact the Senate President, Assembly Speaker and their three local legislators and urge them to block these dirty water rules!
Haven't we learned our lesson from Hurricane Sandy? Oil refineries and sewage plants flooded, leaking diesel fuel and sewage discharge into our water and Oyster Creek Nuclear Power plant came within twelve inches of flooding water pumps that cool its reactor.
The NJ Legislature must act now to protect waterways from overdevelopment and pollution and reduce flooding by passing SCR66/ACR160 which will stop the DEP's dirty water rules from going into effect.
The Clean Water Act was passed to ensure all of our waters are protected - its time the DEP start obeying the law. Please raise your voice with us at the Clean Water Lobby Day at the Statehouse on June, 16th! We need to make sure our government knows we won't stand for inaction, especially when our drinking water and families' lives are at stake.