DEP COMMISSIONER JACKSON
PLEDGES EFFICIENT POLLUTION CLEANUPS DURING SENATE COMMITTEE HEARING
(06/60) TRENTON - In testimony before the
Senate Environment Committee today, Department of Environmental
Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson outlined aggressive plans
to ensure protection of public health by spurring timely and thorough
cleanups of contaminated properties.
Commissioner Jackson discussed the creation of a system within
DEP's Site Remediation Program to prioritize cleanups of properties
that pose the greatest environmental threats and requested the Legislature
to set a more stringent health standard for cleanups of sites that
could be used for residences, schools or child-care facilities.
"The state has in excess of 16,000 contaminated sites. These
range from minor leaks of residential heating oil tanks to federal
Superfund sites,'' Commissioner Jackson said. "It is crucial
that we effectively track progress of remediation efforts at these
sites. And it is equally important that the public, our partners
in local government, the development community and lending institutions
have real-time computerized access to this information - not simply
a list that is published every few years.''
Commissioner Jackson testified during a hearing on S-2261, a bill
sponsored by Sen. Fred H. Madden Jr., that stems from mercury contamination
at Kiddie Kollege, a child-care center that operated at a former
thermometer plant in Franklin, Gloucester County.
Among its provisions, the bill prohibits issuance of construction
permits for any building that has been used for industrial or other
high-hazard purposes until the builder receives a "No Further
Action" letter from the DEP.
The new site-tracking system will integrate Geographic Information
System technology and DEP databases to rank sites based on factors
such as extent of contamination and proximity to water supplies.
It will be used to prioritize cleanup orders to responsible parties
and to evaluate when public funds are needed to get cleanups under
In addition, the Commissioner proposed creation of a program to
issue licenses to professionals to evaluate and oversee cleanups
at sites that pose less serious environmental health threats, freeing
DEP staff to focus on sites with more pressing issues.
the full transcript of NJDEP Commissioner Jackson's Testimony (PDF).