Deciding the fate of environmental settlement funds

new jersey environment news, pollution, oil refinery

MICHELLE BRUNETTI POST / PRESS OF ATLANTIC CITY – In a state with severe budget problems, should money from environmental settlements have to be spent on natural resource protection?

That is a question voters will answer in November, when they decide on a proposed constitutional amendment to prevent the state from spending such settlement funds to help balance the budget, as governors of both parties have done in the past.

Instead, the funds would have to be spent “to repair, restore, replace, or preserve the State’s natural resources.”

Hundreds of millions of dollars per year are at stake.

In just the last month, the state reached draft settlements with Shell, BP America and Sunoco oil companies worth a total of $200 million, according to information on the Department of Environmental Protection’s web site …

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