P.M. BRIEFING : N.J. Governor Signs Nation’s Toughest Water Pollution Law
Gov. James J. Florio today signed what he called the nation’s toughest water pollution law, establishing fines as high as $1 million a day for violations.
“I hope we never have to use the tough provisions of this law,” Florio told environmentalists and other supporters of the bill on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, an Atlantic Ocean resort.
“To those who would pollute our water, let me make it very clear: no more excuses, no more ifs and no more buts,” said the Democratic governor, a former congressman who took office in January. “If (polluters) don’t take the hint, we’ll be ready.”
Asbury Park became a symbol of New Jersey’s water pollution problems two summers ago when discharges from an antiquated municipal sewage treatment plant forced repeated closure of nearby beaches. The plant has since been replaced.
The tourism-dependent Jersey Shore has also been hurt in recent years by highly publicized incidents involving trash, medical waste and other debris washing ashore.
The law increases the maximum criminal fine for individuals convicted of water pollution to $250,000 and sets $1 million a day as the maximum corporate fine for the worst pollution cases.