Van Drew: Time to revisit beach task force initiative

TRENTON – With all the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, Sen. Jeff Van Drew, (D-1), of Dennis, said it’s more important now to call attention to his bill that would create a beach task force.

In February 2010, Van Drew along with Sen. Sean Kean, (R-11), Wall, introduced bill S1120, which would have created a 17-member task force that would have studied ways to best protect the Jersey Shore from damages caused by major weather events and climate change.

It would also have looked at various funding mechanisms and use of various technologies to ensure beach maintenance.

The task force would have consisted of such professionals as climatologists, engineers and environmentalists.

Van Drew said the bill basically fell on the wayside due to more pressing issues related to the state budget.

“I think it’s particularly timely now,” Van Drew said Thursday. “Most climatologists are prognosticating we’ll have more storms like this.”

“Frankly I don’t think it’s is going to change,” he said.

Van Drew said some mechanisms the state put in place helped protect the beaches, such as sand dunes that were put in many coastal communities. But more needs to continue to be done to prevent such problems as beach erosion, he said.

“Let’s see what other countries are doing,” he said.

The hurricane underscores how important it is to keep the state’s beach replenishment fund intact, according to Van Drew. The $25 million fund is made possible through the state’s realty transfer taxes.

Van Drew: Time to revisit beach task force initiative