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Public Access Is a Right, Not a Privilege!

Public Access Is a Right, Not a Privilege!

 

NY/NJ Baykeeper and Hackensack Riverkeeper successfully sued NJDEP in 2016 to enforce better statewide protections of the public’s right to access their waterways.

Much needed legislation, which will codify and strengthen state obligations to the Public Trust doctrine, was agreed upon by the League of Municipalities, the business community and environmentalists.  It sailed through the Senate Environment and Energy Committee unanimously and was referred to the Assembly after a nearly unanimous floor vote. The Public Access Bill ensures through state law that the public has meaningful and practical access to, and use of, the shoreline and tidal waters that are protected under the Public Trust Doctrine.

The Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee scheduled A4221, its version of the Pubic Access Bill, for a vote when it met last week. However, eleventh hour amendments proposed by NJDEP to weaken this legislation, especially access to urban shorelines, prompted the Chair to table the vote.

 Vigilant action in the courtrooms, in Trenton and in our communities is what has and continues to protect everyone’s right to public access to our waterways!

 We applaud the American Littoral Society, Hackensack Riverkeeper, Surfrider Foundation, Sierra Club, NJ League of Conservation Voters and others who, along  with NY/NJ Baykeeper opposed the negative amendments proposed that would impede meaningful public access in NJ.