Ballot question closer to stop raiding of natural-resources damages

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new jersey environment news, pollution

TOM JOHNSON / NJ SPOTLIGHT – In recent years, the state has tapped polluters by having them pay to help restore natural resources — creating oyster habitat in Delaware Bay, building wetlands along Newark Bay, and demolishing dams on the Raritan River.

The money for those projects came from natural-resources damage claims filed by the state against those who have contaminated land and water, a tool used to restore areas harmed by industrial and other pollution.

In recent years, however, hundreds of millions of dollars from those lawsuits have been diverted to a more mundane use: balancing the state budget. If voters approve a constitutional question on this fall’s ballot, those diversions would come to an end …

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