NJ Sierra press release February 27, 2017
: Puts Us at Risk
Today the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee held a bill to update our state’s drink water standards. The bill, S2468 (Lesniak) directs DEP to adopt standards for 16 hazardous drinking water contaminants as recommended by Drink Water Quality Institute. Some of those contaminates include perchlorate, radon, and formaldehyde.
The Institute is responsible for setting the standards of acceptable limits for toxins and carcinogens in our drinking water. They have barely met in the last half decade and even the standards they have worked on have not been adopted by the DEP. New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel released the following statement:
“The Committee held up protecting people from cancer by refusing to release this bill. The Chemical Council and corporate polluters have hijacked drinking water in New Jersey and the Senate Budget Committee went along with it by not working to get this bill out. They took the side of these polluters over protecting drinking water for our children. Governor Christie has held up these standards for years as part of his national ambition. Now the Senators in Budget Committee have slowed the process even more by refusing to do what’s right. We need this bill to be released and then passed so that the DEP will actually start monitoring our drinking water. Each delay puts more people’s health at risk.
“We need this legislation because the Institute has failed to do their job. They failed to release a report on PFOA. We also know that if they do release it, the DEP may not set the We are still waiting for the Christie Administration to act on PFNA, but they have failed to do so. The issue is with the Governor and if the DEP will continue to side with polluters or move forward to protect our drinking water from these hazardous chemicals. By failing to meet over the past few years, the Institute has actually given the Christie Administration cover for not updating standards for drinking water. This is an embarrassment not only to the State of New Jersey but the people who care about protecting our drinking water.
“This Administration has had a war on science. They have removed scientists from key positions. The award-winning Division of Science has been downgraded to an Office and a political appointee now heads the Office rather than a scientist. The Science Advisory Board has been stacked with polluters, including DuPont. When the Institute does not meet or make recommendations, the polluters off the hook for paying for cleanup of sites or additional treatment of water supply. The DEP’s stormwater management, water quality management planning (WQMP), category one, stream buffers, flood hazard areas, and Highlands regulations have been targeted with the DEP’s proposed rules. The Governor continues to attack the Highlands region, which provides drinking water to 5.4 million people, over half of New Jersey’s residents, and our major economic industries.
“This legislation is important because it will force the Christie Administration to do their job and set standards for New Jersey’s drinking water. When agencies do not meet or boards like the Science Advisory Board Agency are stacked with polluters, it has impacted all of us. The Governor appoints 60% of DWQI members and the other 40% are DEP staff. Not one chemical standard has been adopted under this Administration. We’ve been waiting on some of them since 2005. Today’s committee meeting was shameful and it prevented an important bill from moving forward. The Christie Administration is sabotaging science. This is because the only science they care about is political science.”
“We need this bill because of the Christie Administration’s failure to protect us. Every day people throughout the state are drinking all kinds of toxic compounds. Before the Christie Administration, the Institute received awards in the past for the work they have done not only saving thousands of lives but millions of dollars. In the latest years, they have failed to take action. So has the DEP, who has not adopted a single standard in six years. We need this legislation to force the DEP to adopt the DWQI’s recommendations. In six years they haven’t adopted one standard and it’s time for the Legislature to stand up for the people and drinking water of New Jersey and move this bill forward.”