Sen. Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano are asking how the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is going to issue a fine to the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Bureau of Land Management.
Sen. Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano are asking how the New Jersey DEP is going to issue a fine to the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Bureau of Land Management. (Pixabay)
“Setting aside the glaring communication issues between different divisions within the DEP, I would really like to know how the DEP plans on paying a penalty to itself,” Senator Holzapfel said. “Where will this payment even go—the state’s general fund? How is taking away more than a quarter of a million dollars, which should be used for environmental purposes, and handing it over to the Treasury an acceptable solution? Only in New Jersey could this make any sense.”
According to the DEP, its own bureau—the Fish and Wildlife’s Bureau of Land Management—violated state law by illegally clearing protected forest wetlands during a wildlife management project in Glassboro. The Bureau of Land Management was fined $266,000 for “unauthorized” forest clearing.
During the project, which took place in February, 2.79 acres of freshwater wetlands were illegally destroyed, including thousands of trees. The project also cleared an additional 12 acres of protected wetlands transition area.
“Does anyone in the administration see the irony here?” Assemblyman McGuckin asked. “Perhaps the DEP should put that money toward improving communication between its divisions so it doesn’t accidentally bulldoze 15 acres of protected land again.”
“This is a perfect example of something that would only happen in New Jersey,” Assemblyman Catalano added. “Instead of spending weeks trying to figure out how to pay a fine to itself, maybe the DEP should just fix the mess that was made by the Bureau of Land Management.”
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