Governor Chris Christie today visited Sea Isle City in Cape May County, greeting beachgoers along the boardwalk and reaffirming his strong commitment and record of action to protect New Jersey's shore and the state's robust tourism economy.
"On top of providing beaches for visitors with varying interests, Sea Isle City creates timeless traditions for New Jersey families," said Governor Christie. "Year after year, residents and visitors demonstrate their passion for shore activities, which is why we are so committed to safeguarding the health and sustainability of our beaches, waterways and shore communities. We have an obligation to protect our state treasures and hand them down to our children and future generations to enjoy."
Sea Isle City beaches provide access to swimmers, surfers, volleyball players, kayakers and fishermen alike. The barrier island city plays a significant role in the state's overall tourism economy. Across Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth and Ocean counties, tourism represented approximately 173,000 private sector jobs and generated approximately $19 billion in visitor revenues or half of New Jersey's overall visitor spending which totaled $38 billion for 2011. The shore economy's success -- including the jobs, wages and economic growth it supports -- is contingent on the continued health and protection of the natural resources and offerings at its beaches and waterways.
The Christie Administration is steadfast in its commitment to protect the Jersey Shore, its beaches, water quality, and businesses.
Since taking office, Governor Christie has taken action to keep all parks, historic sites and wildlife operations running; restored beach replenishment funding to its full level; opposed off-shore drilling in New Jersey, as well as drilling off the coast of other states that could negatively impact New Jersey's water and beaches, and made significant investments in the maintenance and modernization of the shore's environmental infrastructure. Only two weeks ago, Governor Christie signed into law legislation that will provide $534 million for 117 projects statewide to help ensure safe drinking water and protect ground and surface water.
In 2011, Governor Christie signed legislation that secures safe and clean water infrastructure for the Garden State, providing $650 million in no-cost and low-cost loans for projects to enhance water quality across New Jersey. New Jersey's Environmental Infrastructure Trust (EIT) provides no-cost and low-cost financing for environmental infrastructure-related projects, which also helps create jobs. The Governor has been a champion of open space preservation efforts, having previously signed Green Acres legislation to make nearly $157 million available for open-space acquisition and recreational development projects across the Garden State. Most recently, the State closed on a $4.6 million deal to preserve 835 acres in North Jersey's environmentally sensitive Highlands region that previously had been slated for residential development.
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE HAS ACTED ON HIS STRONG COMMITMENT TO PROTECT NEW JERSEY'S BEACHES AND WATERWAYS
Since Taking Office, Governor Christie Has Made The Preservation of New Jersey's Shore A Top Priority:
Restored beach replenishment funding to its full level;
Enacted Fiscal Year 2011 and 2012 Budgets that keep all parks, historic sites and wildlife operations running;
Signed legislation appropriating nearly $1.5 billion in zero- and low-cost loans for crucial water and sewer infrastructure projects across the state over two years;
Signed legislation appropriating $157 million for open space across New Jersey, including preservation projects in the Barnegat Bay watershed, on the Cape May peninsula and along urban waterfronts;
Maintained unwavering opposition to drilling offshore New Jersey;
Maintained unwavering opposition to liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities off of New Jersey's coastline, including the veto of a proposed deepwater operation 16 miles off the coast of Asbury Park, preventing construction and operation of 44 miles of submerged pipeline and an offshore port to receive foreign vessels transporting LNG to the U.S. for regasification.
In April 2012, the company looking to build the facility officially withdrew its application. Environmentalists are claiming victory for the withdrawal, which follows Gov. Chris Christie's veto of the proposed facility more than a year ago. 'The people and the governor have been saying "no,' and finally, it sunk in,' said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, based in Sandy Hook. 'This was a real grassroots victory of the power of the people.'"(Kathleen Hopkins, "Proposal for offshore liquefied natural gas port withdrawn, Asbury Park Press, April 25, 2012)
Proposed a comprehensive 10-point initiative to restore and protect Barnegat Bay, which the Administration continues to implement aggressively, including negotiating the December 2010 agreement with Exelon to close Oyster Creek 10 years ahead of license expiration;
Enacted the most restrictive standards in the nation for nitrogen content in fertilizer and application rates for use, which will reduce nutrient pollution in Barnegat Bay and statewide;
Enacted law that will reduce post-construction soil compaction to reduce stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution in Barnegat Bay and all of New Jersey's waterways;
Adopted a narrative nutrient criteria rule to establish rigorous water quality standards;
Clearly stated a policy of no new coal-fired power plants in New Jersey, which will reduce pollutants deposited to waterways as well as improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and memorialized that commitment in the State's 2011 Energy Master Plan;
Created a Barnegat Bay Water Quality Monitoring Network to obtain scientific data on pollutants entering the Bay as part of 10-point plan to restore Barnegat Bay in addition to maintaining New Jersey's Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program nationally recognized by the EPA as one of the best in the nation.
Continued to advocate--both publicly and in the courts--a strong position against the dredging project to deepen the Delaware River;
Signed legislation creating a free State saltwater fishing registry in New Jersey, allowing New Jersey anglers to avoid a $15 federal saltwater registration fee.
Governor Chris Christie: "Whether it's standing against offshore drilling or liquefied natural gas facilities that would industrialize the coastline, or aggressively pursuing a comprehensive plan to restore the ecological health of Barnegat Bay, protecting New Jersey's shore is a top priority of my Administration."