TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton that would prohibit dumping dredge spoils on and around certain islands, including Burlington Island, without municipal approval was passed by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee today.
“This is an island that holds significant historical and environmental benefits and should not be used as a dumping ground for contaminated dredge spoils in New Jersey. The island is undeveloped for a reason – it is meant to educate people on wildlife as well as be used for recreational purposes,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “Burlington Island is owned and operated by the City of Burlington, and no plan to dump dredge spoils should be considered without the approval of the city government.”
S-71 would prohibit the Department of Environmental Protection from approving any dumping of dredge spoils on any portion of a Delaware River island owned or controlled by the State or a political subdivision of the State, including riparian land, located on a Delaware River island controlled in whole or in part by a Board of Island Managers established by the Legislature, unless (1) the DEP petitions each municipality owning land on that island to authorize the dumping of dredge spoils on or around the island, and (2) each municipality petitioned by the department pursuant to this section adopts an ordinance authorizing the dumping of dredge spoils on or around the island. This section would be applicable to all dumping of dredge spoils, including any proposed dumping on an existing dredge spoil bank.
The bill was prompted by the Army Corps of Engineers plan to dump dredge spoils from a dredging project on the Delaware River onto Burlington Island. Burlington Island is wholly within the border of New Jersey, and is controlled by the City of Burlington. The island has historical significance dating back to 1682 when the provincial governor of West Jersey gave the island to Burlington City on the condition that it uses the revenues to fund education.
The bill was approved today by the committee with a vote of 4-0, and next heads to the Senate for further consideration.