Environmentalists implore Governor, Legislature to stand up to developers

TRENTON – Environmentalists today issued their own “state of …’’ in advance of the governor’s State of the State Address scheduled for this afternoon.

A coalition of groups addressed the state of New Jersey’s waters: “Nearly every drop is polluted.’’

The groups – including Delaware Riverkeeper, Environment New Jersey, the Pinelands Preservation Alliance and others – cited recent Gannett publications’ reports and said in a joint release that “the major pollutants of concern across the state – phosphorus and nitrogen – stem from overdevelopment of critical watershed lands, making development the number one threat to New Jersey’s waters.”

In a joint release, the environmental groups said the Gannett reports were based on Department of Environmental Protection reports prepared for the Environmental Protection Agency.

The group of environmentalists called on the Legislature and Gov. Chris Christie to stand up to developers, stop the rollbacks to clean water protections and move forward with an agenda that will save New Jersey’s failing waterways – instead of making them worse.

“Developers have given us a legacy of pollution. Instead of letting developers dictate our water quality policy, it’s time for the Legislature and Governor Christie to make decisions that are in the best interest of New Jersey,” Megan Fitzpatrick, clean water advocate with Environment New Jersey, said in a release.

“This means stopping all attacks on our clean water protections and forging an agenda that focuses on protecting, not polluting.”

The group of environmental leaders renewed a call for several priorities: fully implement the Highlands Act, set a pollution limit for Barnegat Bay, ban fracking in the Delaware River Watershed, expand development-free buffers, protect the state’s last remaining forests, and commit to upgrading inadequate stormwater infrastructure and sewer systems.

Environmentalists implore Governor, Legislature to stand up to developers