A bill to protect the Caven Point section of Liberty State Park cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon, welcome news for environmental activists after the Liberty State Park Conservation, Recreation, and Community Inclusion Act was approved in June.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Bill S-2956, sponsored by state Senator Brian Stack (D-33) and co-sponsored by state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31), “would designate and preserve the 21.5 acre Caven Point Peninsula in Liberty State Park as natural habitat.”
The inclusion act, which established a task force to determine how to spend $50 million the park, was panned by activists in part since there was no provision to protect Caven Point from development.
In 2020, Liberty National Golf Course CEO Paul Fireman expressed an interest in expanding the course into Caven Point and while he publicly put the kibosh on those plans in July of the same year, many feared this was the intent of the bill.
As a result, Stack said he would put forward separate legislation to do just that.
Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), the prime sponsor of the Liberty State Park Protection Act and the frontrunner to be the state senator in the new 32nd Legislative District after redistricting, praised the fact that the bill moved forward today.
“I am deeply appreciative to Chairman Stack for sponsoring this measure and to the Senate Judiciary Committee for its consideration. Like usual, Brian is being a champion of the people,” he said in a statement.
“This protection, which was perhaps the most essential component of the Liberty State Park Protection Act, will ensure that an area comprised of sandy beach, essential saltwater marshland (the last remaining salt marsh in the harbor), tidal pools, mud flats, and upland maritime forest will not be replaced with commercial development. If enacted, we will be protecting critical habitat and nesting grounds for any number of endangered and beautiful in-water, brackish and upland flora and fauna species for future generations.”
Mukherji said he looked forward to working with Stack and introducing a companion bill in the Assembly after merging it with Assemblywoman Angela McKnight’s (D-31) legislation.