Protecting Profits, Not Public

To The Editor:

Count Dracula lives, thanks to pro-development legislators in Trenton who are protecting the profits of developers – and their own political careers — instead of the health and safety of all of us.
New Jersey, with the dirtiest air, water and land — including about 225 polluted sites identified by the EPA — is the unhealthiest and most polluted state in the nation. Yet many legislators continually scheme to line the pockets of their political contributors – developers and associated businesses – while piously claiming they are trying to create jobs for the unemployed.
The latest assault on our environmental is a favorite of developers, Assembly Bill A-1338, which will extend – again — current state building permits, while exempting them from any tougher regulations that were enacted after the permits were first granted. Even permits that have expired would be resurrected – the “Dracula clause” in the bill. Whether resuscitated or resurrected, these permits will be exempt from current environmental laws and regulations, no matter how much damage they will do to our health and well-being.
This bill will degrade every area of the state, especially the environmentally important but fragile northwestern Highlands, Raritan and Barnegat Bays, and the Pine Barrens, whose environmental protections have been assaulted by developers for years.
Some legislators are playing on our fears about the economy and job security by falsely claiming our environmental controls caused the recent recession and current unemployment problems.
“We’re really trying to create jobs,” they intone. Hardly. This bill is just one of many such attacks – the Governor’s conditional veto of pollution limits in Barnegat Bay, and the Legislature’s votes to weaken stormwater protections, delay water quality planning rules, and allow sewers to be built in environmentally sensitive areas.
To benefit their political supporters and, yes, to politically stay alive themselves, these legislators need Count Dracula. We don’t.
Joellen Lundy
President
NJ Friends of Clearwater
Red Bank

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