TRENTON – Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora, Peter Barnes III and Ruben Ramos, Jr. on Thursday called on the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to install an environmental monitor to oversee the post-Sandy debris removal process in order to protect the public’s health and the sanctity of the state’s aquifers and waterways.
In doing so, the lawmakers sent a letter to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin urging the state to heed the lessons learned in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in order to avoid “costly mistakes from both a financial and environmental perspective.”
“In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, there were many reports of a ‘toxic soup’ of environmental waste existing in New Orleans. We need to make sure New Jersey avoids this scenario at all costs,” the lawmakers noted in their letter.
The lawmakers stressed their concerns over the environmental hazards posed by both normal household chemicals and debris, as well as what impact, if any, Sandy had on the number of Superfund sites within the storm surge’s radius.
“While we are concerned about the lack of transparency in regards to clean up costs, we are equally concerned that the clean-up process be conducted in an environmentally-conscious manner. The future of our state demands such diligence, therefore we hope you will heed our request,” the lawmakers concluded.