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New Jersey may see cleanup money as revenue source

4-27-14

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A change in New Jersey’s proposed budget for the 2015 fiscal year could result in a revenue windfall for the state at the expense of polluted communities.

The change appears to allow the state to divert money from settlements meant to compensate communities for assets wrecked by oil and chemical contamination.

Lawmakers are likely to seek clarification of imprecise budget language when the Department of Environmental Protection appears Monday before the Assembly Budget Committee.

The proposal says the first $50 million in natural resource recovery settlements would be used for cleanups, remediation and legal fees, while additional settlement money would go into the general fund.

Debbie Mans of NY/NJ Baykeeper says communities will continue to be burdened by the legacy of pollution if compensation funds are diverted.