Dear Gov. Murphy, you need to appoint new people to the Highland Council, members say

Crystal Springs Preserve, Highlands

ELLIOTT RUGA / STAR-LEDGER – The 2004 Highlands Act established the Highlands Council as a 15-member body, with members serving five-year terms. Currently, only 13 members serve on the council, and all on expired terms. Three members, appointed by Gov. Chris Christie, continue to actively represent Christie’s anti-Highlands Act agenda. If Gov. Phil Murphy ever wishes to follow through on his environmental platform, he must make appropriate appointments to the Highlands Council, as he recently did for the Pinelands Commission. An urgent case for the governor to act was made perfectly clear at the May 16 Highlands Council meeting.

Unmanaged, or poorly managed stormwater runoff, and the flooding and water quality impairments caused by it, pose huge problems throughout New Jersey. The staff of the Highlands Council proposed to contract with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resource Program to draft a regional stormwater management plan for 24 municipalities in the Raritan River watershed portion of the Highlands, to assess their stormwater problems and to propose green infrastructure responses …

Elliott Ruga is policy and communications director of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition.

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