SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 86

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 7, 2016

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  LINDA R. GREENSTEIN

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Senator  BOB SMITH

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes “Joint Legislative Task Force on Drinking Water Infrastructure.”

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


A Concurrent Resolution establishing the “Joint Legislative Task Force on Drinking Water Infrastructure.”

 

Whereas, The water resources of the State are public assets held in trust by the State for its citizens and are essential to the health, safety, economic welfare, recreational and aesthetic enjoyment, and general welfare of the people of New Jersey; and

Whereas, Aging infrastructure and the deterioration of the physical assets of water supply systems present serious risks to the integrity of drinking water and to the environment; and

Whereas, Repairing and modernizing aging infrastructure is not an issue unique to New Jersey; and

Whereas, The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimated in 2013 that $384 billion in improvements are needed for the nation’s drinking water infrastructure through 2030 for systems to continue providing safe drinking water to 297 million Americans; and

Whereas, New Jersey’s and the nation’s water systems have entered a rehabilitation and replacement era in which much of the existing infrastructure has reached, or is approaching, the end of its useful life, and this is a major issue that must be addressed so that New Jersey’s residents, businesses, and visitors can continue to have access to clean and healthy water sources; and

Whereas, The State has a history of being proactive in this area and has enacted numerous statutes aimed at protecting the State’s water supply, including the “Water Supply Management Act,” P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-1 et seq.), the “Water Pollution Control Act,” P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.), the “Safe Drinking Water Act,” P.L.1977, c.224 (C.58:12A-1 et seq.), and the “Private Well Testing Act,” P.L.2001, c.40 (C.58:12A-26 et seq.), and establishing entities such as the Drinking Water Quality Institute and the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust to work with the Department of Environmental Protection in order to protect and enhance the quality of the State’s drinking water and protect the public health of the residents of the State; and

Whereas, Recent news reports concerning the health crisis in Flint, Michigan related to lead-contaminated water points to the immediate need to focus on the issue of aging drinking water infrastructure  in order to prevent a similar crisis in New Jersey and protect the public health and the environment; now, therefore,

 

     Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey (the General Assembly concurring):

 

     1.    There is established the “Joint Legislative Task Force on Drinking Water Infrastructure.”  The purpose of the task force shall be to study and make recommendations concerning issues related to drinking water infrastructure in New Jersey.  The task force shall seek to identify both short-term and long-term solutions and recommendations to address the quality and condition of drinking water infrastructure in the State. 

     In conducting its business, the task force shall call upon the Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, and the Division of Water in the Board of Public Utilities to offer their respective expertise and experience concerning the condition of the State’s drinking water infrastructure, and what improvements are necessary to ensure a safe drinking water supply.  The task force shall also call upon individuals in the academic community and representatives of the environmental community with expertise, knowledge, or experience in issues facing the State’s drinking water supply and infrastructure.  In addition, the task force shall investigate the steps other states are taking to address drinking water infrastructure issues and any funding mechanisms used to finance needed improvements, repairs, and updates.

 

     2.  a.  The task force shall comprise six members, three of whom shall be members of the Senate appointed by the President of the Senate, and three of whom shall be members of the General Assembly appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly.  No more than two members of the task force appointed by the President or the Speaker shall be members of the same political party.  The President and the Speaker shall each designate one appointee to the task force to serve as co-chairperson of the task force.  

     b.    The task force shall hold its first meeting within 30 days after the effective date of this resolution, and shall meet thereafter at the call of its co-chairpersons. 

     c.     A majority of the membership of the task force shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of task force business, and action may be taken at any meeting by the affirmative vote of a majority of the membership of the task force.  All public meetings of the task force shall be recorded and transcribed.  All meetings at which official task force action is taken shall be open to the public.  The task force may meet and hold hearings at the places it designates during the sessions or recesses of the Legislature.  The co-chairpersons of the task force shall notify jointly the Office of Legislative Services, for posting and distribution to the public, of the time, place, and agenda of each meeting of the task force. 

     d.    The Office of Legislative Services shall provide professional and clerical staff to the task force.

     e.     The task force shall be entitled to call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of any State, county, or municipal department, board, bureau, commission, or agency, or any public institution of higher education in the State, as it may require and as may be available to it for its purposes, and to employ stenographic and clerical assistance and incur traveling and other miscellaneous expenses necessary to perform its duties, within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to it for its purposes. 

 

     3.    Within six months after the date the task force organizes, it shall prepare and submit to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly, the Minority Leader of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the General Assembly, and the chairpersons of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee and the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee, or their successors, a report containing its findings and recommendations, including any proposals for legislation and other appropriate legislative or regulatory action.  Any member of the task force who does not concur with the report of the task force may issue a minority statement, which shall be included in the transmitted report of the task force.

 

     4.    This concurrent resolution shall take effect immediately, and shall expire 30 days after transmittal of the report required pursuant to section 3 of this resolution.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This concurrent resolution establishes the “Joint Legislative Task Force on Drinking Water Infrastructure” to study and make recommendations concerning issues related to drinking water infrastructure in New Jersey.  The task force is charged with identifying both short-term and long-term solutions and making recommendations to address the quality and condition of drinking water infrastructure in the State.  In conducting its business, the task force is directed to call upon the Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, and the Division of Water in the Board of Public Utilities to offer their respective expertise and experience concerning the condition of the State’s drinking water infrastructure, and what improvements are necessary to ensure a safe drinking water supply. 

     The task force is to be composed of six members:  three members of the Senate appointed by the Senate President, and three members of the General Assembly appointed by the Speaker. 

     Within six months after the date the task force organizes, it is directed to prepare and submit a report containing its findings and recommendations, including any proposals for legislation and other appropriate legislative or regulatory action.