ROXBURY – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono went to Roxbury today to join her voice to those local activists battling the ill effects of toxic hydrogen sulfide gas from the Fenimore Landfill.
“Chris Christie has not come here despite our invitation but Barbara Buono did,” said lead activist Bob Schultz, head of REACT (Roxbury Environmental Action Coalition), which is protesting what they say is the complicity of the state DEP in the hazardous landfill.
Schultz said the DEP took over the landfill on an emergency basis on June 26 of this year and only worsened the situation.
“A thousand kids are being hurt every day in Roxbury,” he said. “Governor Christie has not made an appearance in Roxbury, nor has the NJDEP or NJDOH. Why?”
The governor said at his Parsippany bus stop that while he is working to fix the issue, Buono is trying to use it to her political benefit.
Buono’s appearance here in the closing days of her bid to unseat Republican Governor Christie came in the incumbent’s home county of Morris, a show of offense by the challenger, who’s down by as many as 30 points behind Christie.
Christie has spent much of the fall campaign season trooping around Democratic counties like Essex and Hudson.
Schultz – joined by a cadre of 75 activists – said he thought it was great that Buono took the time to come here.
So did Jeff Tittel, head of the NJ Sierra Club.
“Senator Barbara Buono is doing something the Governor and DEP Commissioner have not,” said Tittel, who backs Buono’s candidacy. “She is going up there to meet with the community. This might force the administration to take some action. The DEP did not have this landfill properly closed in the first place then allowed this housing to be built to close and then allowed it to be opened to close it. They allowed debris to be dumped including the wall board. They dragged their feet on violations, could have taken control of the site under the Spill Act and did not. They had to be compelled by the Legislature to take over the site and then they chose the cheapest and least effective way to close the site. Capping will not work. But that is what happens when you don’t meet with a community.”