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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2004

Contact: Elaine Makatura
(609) 292-2994

State Environmental Agency Holds Public Meetings on Protecting the Coast

(04/35) TRENTON- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell will host two meetings to get public comment on how to better protect New Jersey's coastal areas and ocean waters. U.S. Senator Jon Corzine, Congressman Frank LoBiondo and Congressman Frank Pallone will join Campbell in hosting the discussions this month.

"We want to present the public with a series of options for coastal protection and a healthy marine environment," said Campbell. "Scientific research points toward accumulating evidence that our oceans are at risk from pollution, climate change and over-development. We need business, environmental, and fisheries communities to help develop recommendations to protect the integrity of our coastal waters."

The first meeting co-hosted by Senator Jon Corzine and Congressman Frank LoBiondo, will be held 10:30 a.m. April 19, at the Performing Arts Center, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Pomona.

The second meeting co-hosted by Congressman Frank Pallone, will be held at 7 p.m. April 26, at Wilson Auditorium, Monmouth University in West Long Branch.

The DEP recently issued a white paper proposing a number of coastal protection initiatives. Among the proposals are regulatory and policy changes on ways to manage coastal and ocean resources; implementation of improved coastal water quality measures; additional funding sources for existing programs; expansion of public access; and potential state and federal legislative initiatives including barring offshore drilling and protecting ecosystems.

Concern about the nation's coastal areas led to the creation of the Pew Oceans Commission in 2000 to address the need to treat the ocean as a public trust. In response to the Pew Commission's report released in 2003, Governor James E. McGreevey directed DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell to consult with representatives of various organizations and constituencies to develop recommendations.

The federal Oceans Act of 2000 mandated the creation of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, authorized by Congress, and comprised of members appointed by the President. The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy is charged with making findings and developing recommendations to the President and Congress for a coordinated and comprehensive national ocean policy.

The new federal policy will address a broad range of issues, including the stewardship of marine resources, pollution prevention, and enhancing and supporting marine science, commerce and transportation. Upon release of the draft report, state governors will have until May 21 to review and comment on the report. The comments will be included in the final report to the President and Congress.

The white paper outlining proposed initiatives presently under consideration by DEP can be accessed at http://www.nj.gov/dep/cmp/czm_news.html.

 

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