By David Madden
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The feds are pulling out of a three decade long program to share aerial patrols of New Jersey’s coastline with state environmental officials, looking for signs of pollution. The reason? Money.
The ‘Coastal Crusader’ program provided what Larry Ragonese, spokesman for New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, calls a ‘critical backup’ to their efforts to keep the shoreline free of trash, not to mention the ocean water. New Jersey would check things 6 days a week, the EPA 7, with greater emphasis to the north, particularly in and around New York City.
Ragonese says New Jersey will continue its inspections from the air, “We want to see what’s going on out there in the water. We want to see if there is any illegal dumping, if there’s some floatables in the water, maybe there’s a fish kill of some sort.”
The political pressure is mounting on the feds to reconsider, mostly because the program costs just $250,000 a year to run between May and early September.