Victories and Challenges Greet 2018
The past few weeks have been incredibly busy, as we started a new year at midnight on January 1st, finished up the legislative year very late on January 8th, and swore in a new governor at noon on January 16th. As we look forward to 2018, here are updates on some important issues.
We won an historic victory for clean water on January 8, when the New Jersey Legislature invalidated a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) rule that would have allowed significantly more development on critically sensitive lands in the Highlands. RHA’s science-based advocacy played a key role in this campaign to protect clean water. Read about it here.
In late July 2017, Eastern Concrete Materials, Inc. discharged sludge from their quarry in Glen Gardner into the Spruce Run, destroying critical habitat and threatening the drinking water supply for 1.5 million people. The sludge impacted about 1.7 miles of the creek and traveled as far as the Spruce Run Reservoir. After several months, the clean-up effort (paid for by Eastern Concrete) wrapped-up in December. DEP is reportedly close to finalizing a settlement with Eastern Concrete which will include a fine for polluting Spruce Run, a supplemental environmental project to improve conditions in the creek, and a natural resources damages assessment. Read about it here.
Large ice floes on the South Branch of the Raritan River breached part of the Cole’s Mill Dam in Califon two weeks ago. RHA has reached out to the dam owner and is coordinating with DEP to address the possibility of removing the dam as part of a larger effort to restore the South Branch. Read about it here.