Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Robin Kampf of Rivergate Keepers LTTE on Monmouth Park

Robin has been fighting this battle for at least as long as I have, if not longer. I remember contacting her shortly after the "POLLUTED WATER" signs went up in Branchport Park in Long Branch back in 2006 and Robin has been working hard to see that the pollution stops and the signs can come down since then by organizing a local citizens action group and reaching out to the public and our elected officials for help. Below is a Letter To The Editor that Robin has sent off to several area newspapers. The public notice and details of the meetings have been posted here before. I hope to see many of my readers there, say "Hi".

May 1, 2009

Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir or Madam:

Concerned residents that live along Branchport Creek in the City of Long Branch, Oceanport, Monmouth Beach and Little Silver have one more adjective to add to their moniker…confused.

Here are the facts that we know…signs indicating that the water in the creek is contaminated and that humans should not come in contact with it are still up along the banks. We know that this summer will mark the 4th summer in a row that these signs have remained up. We know (at least some of us do) not to let our children or our dogs come in contact with this water. We know that the primary source of the contamination is a result of the lack of responsibility on the part of Monmouth Racetrack, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

We also know that shortly, 1,500 horses will have returned for the summer to Monmouth Racetrack where they reside in antiquated barns and stalls that sit right next to the banks of the Shrewsbury River. We know that fecal bacteria levels, as measured by the County Health Department last year, show counts thousands of times higher than a state limit. We know that the track was fined over $100,000 by the state DEP on two separate occasions. We know that the track and the NJSEA had appealed these fines. And finally, we know that in the last 2 years, the track and the NJSEA has talked a lot about “fixing” the problem…proposed several plans…held public hearings…yet the problem still exists.

What we don’t know is what are track officials, state DEP officials and the NJSEA doing about this problem. We also don’t know whether the track has ever paid the fines levied on them for polluting our waterways. We don’t know when or if those “contaminated waters” signs will ever come down. We also don’t know when, if ever, we will be able to use our once beautiful river in the way that nature intended.

And now, once again, on May 11th, 2009 at 7PM at the Oceanport Borough Hall, track and NJSEA officials, will be holding a public hearing on a “new set of plans” that the track is proposing to “fix” this problem. I urge everyone to come out to hear these plans and demand once and for all that this problem be fixed. This is a shell game that just keeps going around and around with no accountability, responsibility or respect shown by those who are in power at the local, county and state levels. This is an outrage.

Robin Kampf

Rivergate Keepers

Long Branch, NJ

1 comment:

James Hogan said...

On behalf of Oceanport Councilman Joseph Irace:

I agree with most of Ms. Kampf's comments. However, I take exception to the "lack of accountability, concern or respect by local officials."

Being on Council in Oceanport, I can tell you that we have spent countless hours assuring that Monmouth Park addresses the problems of our residents.

We have held meetings, spoke directly to our residents, facilitated meetings with NJSEA officials and have made this a priority since the new Administration was sworn in January 1,2008.

We have reached out to our Senator Jennifer Beck and our Assembly Members Declan O'Scanlon and Caroline Casagrande who were instrumental in securing assistance from the Two Rivers Water Reclamation Authority.

Recently, Oceanport has agreed to act as a conduit borrower for the NJSEA for a $20 million project that we hope will address the pollution of Branchport Creek once and for all.

Ms. Kampf is correct in stating that most other elected officials have done nothing more than pay lip-service to this important issue.

I can assure you that the Oceanport Mayor and Council will remain vigilant on this issue and any others that defend the health and rights of our residents.

Hope to see you all Monday May 11th at Oceanport Borough Hall.

Joseph Irace
Borough of Oceanport