NJ’s beaches take a beating, but erosion group hasn’t met in 14 years
After Irene, Sandy and last weekend's storms, New Jersey knows something about powerful storms and massive beach erosion.
The state does have a Beach Erosion Commission, but the commission hasn't met since 2001. Recently, one state lawmaker called on the panel to be reactivated and to meet immediately.
"Considering the events that we’ve had, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene and now this last event I think it shows a glaring need to reconvene this commission,” said Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi (R-Vineland).
The assemblyman said that he wondered why there wasn’t some sort of government body looking into beach erosion. His staff researched it and found out about the dormant commission.
Currently, there are no scheduled meetings and that’s probably because the commission doesn’t have any members. The panel still exists technically, but without anybody on it there’s nobody who could schedule a hearing even if they wanted to.
“I would’ve thought the storms we’ve had would’ve created some interest in bringing this commission back together,” Fiocchi said.
If the commission reconvened it could count on at least member right away. Fiocchi volunteered because he said we can’t just sit back and wait for another storm to wipe out property and destroy our shore economy.
Spokespeople for Gov. Chris Christie did not comment. It should be noted that this issue predates the governor. The commission’s last meeting was held eight years before Christie was elected and nine years before he actually took office.
Under the Shore Protection Fund, the State gets $25 million per year from the collection of realty transfer fees. Fiocchi sponsored a bill that would increase the total to $50 million.
The storm earlier this month caused moderate to severe beach erosion In many locations, particularly in Atlantic and Cape May Counties. Waves carried away significant amounts of sand from the beach and dune systems that had been built up after Superstorm Sandy almost three years ago. Atlantic City saw serious erosion in its north end and erosion was especially bad at the southern end of Sea Isle City and the north end of North Wildwood. Mantoloking, Toms River, Brick and Long Beach Island had major erosion as well.
The Associated Press Contributed to this report.
Kevin McArdle has covered the State House for New Jersey 101.5 news since 2002. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter at @kevinmcardle1.