Clean Ocean Action

Clean Ocean Advocate, February 2005


Nicole Simmons, 732-872-0111,


Fast Track Repeal Update

By press time, 43 Legislators signed on as sponsors of the bi-partisan bill (S2157/A3650) to repeal the Fast Track law.  If your NJ legislator has yet to sign on to the repeal bill, please write or call your legislator and ask him or her to co-sponsor S2157/A3650.


Also, the Save NJ Coalition is organizing several town meetings over the next few months to provide helpful information to citizens about Fast Track (see below).  Visit for meeting announcements, a list of legislators on the repeal bill, a sample letter to your legislator, a list of towns that have signed resolutions against Fast Track, and other important updates.  With your help, Save NJ can repeal the Fast Track law and work toward a real smart growth program.

Fast Track Citizen Meetings:

  • Ocean County:
    January 31, 7-9 PM, Dover Municipal Building, Hersch Blonde Room, 2nd Floor, Toms River
  • South Jersey:
    February 9, 7:30-9PM, Salem County RCE Ware Building (located off Rt. 45, just past Salem County Vo-Tech, Cheney Road), Woodstown
    February 23, 7-9PM, Wheaton Village Conference Center, 1501 Glasstown Road, Millville

Delaware Oil Spill Hearing & Update

On January 18, the US House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, chaired by US Representative Frank LoBiondo (R-2), held a hearing about the November 2004 oil spill that tainted 57 miles of the Delaware River.  US Representative Robert Andrews (D-1) attended the hearing.  Officials have revised the amount of crude oil that spilled from the Athos I to 265,000 gallons, making the spill the fourth-largest on the Delaware. Many concerns pertaining to the spill, cleanup, and the investigation were discussed at the hearing, including delays in the deployment of booms to protect sensitive areas, as well as the cause of the spill.  Recently, several objects were located in the River and may be the cause of gashes in the single hull tanker, including a huge chunk of metal (part of a pump housing), a gigantic anchor, and a slab of concrete.  The origin of these objects and why they were in the River were discussed.  One possible source is objects falling from ships.  Panel members were astounded to learn that no legal requirement exists for ship operators to report lost items in the River.  Ship operators are only required to report when a ship sinks.  Concerns also arose when it was reported that the underwater structures were not found by single, multi, and side-scanning sonar, but rather by a diver backing into the pump housing.  Interestingly, the side-scanning sonar showed “an area of interest” but no particular structure that could have caused the accident. In response, LoBiondo vowed to remedy the law to require reporting of lost objects, to seek funds for more advanced sonar scanning by the US Army Corps of Engineers, and to push for aggressive removal of debris in river channels. To prevent future oil spills, scientists and environmental officials recommended the Subcommittee consider: phasing-out single-hull tankers sooner, increasing port fees for single-hull tankers, increasing liability limits for all tankers, providing funds for training and response for other hazardous materials, requiring armed escorts for oil and hazardous material tankers against terrorist attacks, permanently setting maximum ship draft of 34 feet, restricting tanker movement two hours before low tide and to daylight travel, "pre-positioning" rolled-up booms along the River and establish anchoring sites, improving detection of underwater objects, increasing removal of underwater objects, and improving data management on environmentally sensitive areas.  For updates on the investigation, contact the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (


49 Avenel Blvd.
Long Branch, NJ 07740

Field Office:

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041

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