Amendments to Liberty State Park bill good next step, additional protections needed to benefit residents

New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Ed Potosnak released the following statement in response to a bill concerning Liberty State Park that was passed out of committees yesterday:

The amendments adopted by the legislative committees yesterday took another step in ensuring that investments in Liberty State Park benefit the people of New Jersey — and not powerful corporate interests driven by profit. Our state parks are not revenue-generating theme parks, and they should not follow that same business model.

While we agree that Liberty State Park needs investments, any state spending must benefit residents and must bring community leaders to the table.

The language adopted yesterday would increase community representation on the Liberty State Park Design Task Force while further enhancing protections against the privatization of the park.

However, more work needs to be done to ensure the long-term protection of Liberty State Park. Caven Point, an ecological treasure, is particularly vulnerable to commercial development and must receive permanent protection.

At the same time, the amendments dramatically reduced promised state investments by 80%, making it more difficult to deliver on the promises of much-needed recreational opportunities demanded by local residents and raising the specter of a bait and switch in which large-scale privatization is substituted for taxpayer support.

We look forward to working with the sponsor, legislative leaders and Governor Murphy on a bill that we can all be proud of — one that puts the needs of New Jerseyans first.

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