Rules governing public access to New Jersey's beaches undergo discussion by state lawmakers, Thursday morning at Toms River Town Hall.

A steamy sunrise over the Jersey Shore (Photo: Bud McCormick)

The joint session of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee and Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee will focus, but not act, on a measure to assure access under the Public Trust Doctrine.

Talks begin a 10 AM in the Herschblond meeting room.

The measure, S2490, sponsored by Senators Bob Smith (D-17) and Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-16) addresses access concerns that arose after the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) relegated most waterfront access decisions to municipalities in 2012. It was invalidated by an appellate panel in late 2015.

The Smith-Bateman measure would stipulate that DEP beach access policies adhere to principles of the Public Trust Doctrine, and that would prevent access from factoring into DEP permit approvals.

The bill has the endorsement of the New Jersey Sierra Club and the Recreational Fishing Alliance.

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