Feeling the intense pressure of grassroots environmental groups, the state Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon passed a bill that designates and preserves Caven Point Peninsula in Liberty State Park as natural habitat.
“This legislation, we believe, is an important step forward for this one area to be protected – you didn’t cave on Caven Point,” said Jeff Tittel, former executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, referring to the site that provides a home to 120 bird species.
“Please pass this bill [protecting Caven Point from a golf course expansion],” Sam Pesin, president of the Friends of Liberty State Park. “This bill is unique in that there is no logical reason to oppose it.”
There is a major grassroots battle on the horizon, Pesin added, against plans for the interior of the park. In the meantime, “You are doing something tremendous with your action. …This bill costs no money and should not cost any money. I hope there will be bipartisan support today. Caven Point is God’s country in the city.”
“I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t get this bill done,” said bill sponsor state Senator Brian P. Stack (D-33),
co-sponsor of the bill with state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31).
Stack personally thanked Pesin for his advocacy, citing the work of the president of the Friends of Liberty State Park as the spark for the bill.
“New Jersey Sierra Club absolutely supports this bill,” said Anjuli Ramos-Busot, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club.
“I’m going to support the bill,” said state Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36). “I know today we’re not considering any amendments. The only thing I’m going to ask everyone. We have now earmarked $50 million. This 21 acres of Caven Point, it has some environmental issues. I would encourage everyone to look at this in totality now. Get the right balance of clean up, recreation, active recreation, preservation and economic development. The legislature’s done their job with the allocation of $50 million.”
Pesin reflected thus:
“Friends of LSP gives tremendous thanks to Senator Stack for guiding the LSP Caven Point Protection bill through the judiciary committee. This is a major step forward toward the monumental milestone of protecting the priceless Caven Point Natural Area against privatization. Also great thanks to the dedicated persevering park advocates who have advocated for years to protect Caven Point and the whole park and their involvement is still needed until this bill is signed by the governor and also to protect the interior against Paul Fireman’s commercial venues plans.”
From the bill:
“This bill would designate and preserve the 21.5 acre Caven Point Peninsula in Liberty State Park as natural habitat. Caven Point Peninsula is the estuarine ecosystem for plants and animals, critical bird breeding habitat, and urban environmental education resource. The peninsula stretches into the Upper New York Bay, and is identified on the tax maps of Jersey City, in Hudson County, as Block Number 27601, Lot Number 1, Block Number 24307, Lot Number 10, Block Number 27701, Lot Number 1, Block Number 27601, Lot Number 2, and Block Number 24306, Lot Number 7.”