Corzine Allows Coastal and Ocean Protection Council to Lose Funding

An Editorial in the Asbury Park Press asks some good questions:

New Jersey recently lost $75,000 earmarked to help manage the Shore’s troubled ecosystem because Gov. Jon S. Corzine failed to nominate anyone to serve on a proposed coastal protection council. The topper? It was the governor’s idea to form and fund the panel. Corzine personally pushed the bill creating it through the Legislature and signed it into law Jan. 13, 2008.A year later, the council and its funding are like last month’s milk: expired.

The purpose of the nine-member New Jersey Coastal and Ocean Protection Council was to coordinate protection efforts rather than approaching them on a piecemeal basis. The council was to have made recommendations to the DEP, the governor and Legislature. Corzine offered no reason for his failure to name anyone to the council. But a spokesman for the Treasury Department said no one was “overly concerned” about losing the money through inaction because “we have every intention of using our Coastal Management Program to staff the council and do the work that’s needed by the council.”

If it’s so easy to staff the council, why didn’t Corzine nominate members long ago? And if an existing entity can do the work, why didn’t the governor assign it the task instead of wasting lawmakers’ time and taxpayers’ money to create the council in the first place?

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