Says DEP Fining Itself Shows How Bureaucratic the Department Can Be
Senator Michael Testa urged the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to continue working with Maurice River Township and the Maurice River Historical Society on a plan to protect the East Point Lighthouse.
Sen. Michael Testa urged the DEP to continue working with Maurice River Township and the Maurice River Historical Society on a plan to protect the East Point Lighthouse. (East Point Lighthouse/Facebook)
“I’m concerned that the DEP hasn’t shown much urgency in developing a long-term plan to protect the historic East Point Lighthouse from future beach erosion,” said Testa (R-1). “We met with DEP officials several times last year to discuss the lighthouse, but we have not received a plan for shoreline stabilization as promised. With the current protective Geotube nearing its end of life, there isn’t much time to waste.”
The shoreline in the area has eroded by 400 feet over the years due to storms, leaving the 174-year-old lighthouse less than 100 feet from the water.
A temporary sand-filled Geotube was installed to protect the lighthouse from flooding in 2019. Geotubes have an expected lifespan of five to seven years.
Testa urged the DEP to release a shoreline preservation plan for East Point Lighthouse quickly and to work closely with the Maurice River Historical Society, which completed a major renovation of the lighthouse in 2017, to allow the building to remain open to the public.
“The DEP is lucky to have strong local partners who have made major investments of time, financial resources, and manpower to renovate, maintain, and operate this important New Jersey landmark,” said Testa. “It’s really frustrating that the historical society hasn’t gotten anywhere with the DEP on a plan for shoreline preservation around the lighthouse or future operations.”
Given recent news, the senator said the situation is unfortunate, but not surprising.
“Communication isn’t exactly the DEP’s strength as evidenced by recent violations and fines issued by the DEP against itself,” Testa said. “If two offices in the DEP can’t get on the same page, what hope does anyone else have for navigating this massive State bureaucracy? Working with the DEP shouldn’t have to be so difficult.”
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