Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin of the 10th Legislative District have introduced multiple pieces of legislation in an effort to restore the Barnegat Bay.
“Throughout the year the Barnegat Bay is enjoyed by local residents and tourists especially during the summer months when the bay sees an increase of boaters and bathers. The pollution in the bay is detrimental to our state’s economic, aesthetic and recreational value. We must preserve the bay to keep it clean for future generations to enjoy,” said Senator Holzapfel.
In recent years, the waters of the Barnegat Bay have been severely impacted from pollution causing the ecosystems of the bay to diminish. Restoring the Barnegat Bay is a major concern for the legislators and these bills are to help protect, preserve and remediate the Barnegat Bay estuary and its watershed.
The first bill, S-1250/A-407, sponsored by the legislators is known as the “The Barnegat Bay Protection Act.” This bill would establish the “Barnegat Bay Protection Fund” which would be supported though three key components. First, a portion of the sales tax on lawn fertilizer would be donated to the fund. Second, all New Jersey residents could have an opportunity to purchase special Protect Barnegat Bay licenses plates. Lastly, donations would be accepted for the renewal application of a license for a personal water craft or power vessel. Also, residents will have the option to donate to the fund at the time a beach badge or tag fee is collected anywhere in the State.
“The Barnegat Bay Protection Act is a great way for residents all over the State to feel like they are helping to restore the bay through owning a specialty license plate or donating while they purchase their annual beach badge. All the monies collected will go towards educating the public on how we can work together to restore the bay,” said Assemblyman Wolfe.
The legislators have also sponsored S-221/A-393 which prohibits the use of urea for melting and removing ice. Urea is a commonly used nitrogen-producing substance found in fertilizers and other products for the removal of ice on sidewalks, driveways and roadways. The bill targets the problems caused by excess nitrogen from urea which can cause a chemical imbalance and endanger the ecosystem through water runoff and storm drain systems.
The final bill introduced by the legislators is S-218/A-406, which gives tax credits to residents who live within 1,000 feet of Barnegat Bay and its tributaries who replace grass lawns with stone, crushed shells or other similar materials. Property owners who either replace their lawns or already have lawns with existing stone or crushed shell lawns would be eligible for a recurring annual tax credit of $250 against the State income tax.
“The purpose of this bill is to provide incentives to property owners to reduce the amount of lawn fertilizer and other chemical agents used in landscaping that flow into the Barnegat Bay. It is believed that excess nitrogen from fertilizers is the main cause of the degradation of the bay’s waters and ecosystems,” said Assemblyman McGuckin.