Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) tonight announced a state budget resolution to fund up to $20 million in lead abatement for the water supply Newark and other statewide locations that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection deems necessary.
In a press release issued on the same day that the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced findings of high levels of lead in the Newark schools’ drinking water supply, Bateman noted that he voted last legislative session to pass Senate Democrat Ronald L Rice’s (D-28) lead-hazard-control bill — this session’s S-996, which advanced Monday to the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee.
“I know New Jersey Republicans have had past concerns with lead abatement legislation that would spend the people’s money outside of the state budget — a maneuver that has forced past governor’s to raise taxes,” Bateman said. “But the need to solve this public health and safety issue should not be in question. State government must execute its primary responsibility to keep people safe by finding solutions to reduce lead poisonings. I’ve supported Senator Rice’s legislation and now have found a solution to fund greater lead abatement within the state budget, using existing resources and no new taxes.”
In May or June, when the state budget process warrants, Bateman will introduce a FY17 state budget resolution that would allow the state DEP to use up to $20 million from the underutilized Clean Energy Fund for purposes of lead abatement in Newark and where else they deem necessary. Senator Bateman respectfully urged his Senate colleagues on the Budget Committee to amend S-996 to do the same.
“I look forward to working with Senator Ron Rice and my Democrat colleagues to keep people in Newark and beyond safe,” Bateman said. “We now have a workable funding solution to get done together.”