LETTER: ‘The Liberty State Park Protection Act does not address contamination’


In a letter to the editor, Liberty State Park for All Coalition Executive Director Arnold Stovell expresses his dissatisfaction with the fact that the LSP Protection Act does not address cleaning up contamination.

Screenshot via YouTube.

Dear Editor,

Last weekend’s rally at Liberty State Park highlights the truth.

If Park advocates at this function were truly concerned about Liberty State Park and the community that surrounds it, they would demand the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection conduct a full clean-up, not a cover-up, of the contamination in the Park. These conservatives are not conservators.

They buried any acknowledgement of the promise of the park made forty years ago. Now the DEP and Friends of Liberty State Park (FLSP) are working to give a choice of no change or bare minimum change. Neither is lesser and both options are evil.

The DEP should be held accountable for a genuine remediation of contaminated lands. Your ‘Friendship’ should not demand your loyalty before your family or supporting land be “protected’ so no clean-up will be done.

The FLSP are having a rally to turn away from agreements vetted, negotiated and agreed upon by diverse representatives. They will convince you to agree with them rather than work to listen to you.

They want a place to watch birds and ride bikes. They want to do the least they can to keep the park as they like it – without communities of color actively using their park and upsetting the assortment of white people that pass through the park – from Barbecue Becky’s to Cop-calling Amy’s.

Where is their equal concern for Wards A & F residents comfort?

Jersey City and the state of New Jersey deserve better than that. We deserve real arbiters and advocates working to meet the needs of the community and not the politics of the DEP.

Miraculously, neither the DEP nor the FLSP knew anything about a Master Plan documented in 1979. If their sound bites of including Black and brown residents in decision-making were sincere, they would have told the truth that plans were already made.

For years they didn’t say a word about any of this. The DEP tried to wait out their accountability. Now the conservative hosts will rally support around the shiny new proposed DEP plan, a watered-down minimal standard plan.

Revamped from the Chris Christie administration it still leaves the park contaminated. Is that the response of someone supposedly caring about nature or your community?

The Liberty State Park Protection Act does not address contamination, but double-talks into it being ignored. No naturalist would accept partial contamination clean-ups.

Were this park in a predominantly white neighborhood, capping public spaces would not even be a consideration.

Why do our ‘Friends’ believe Wards A & F residents don’t warrant equal protection for their
children? It is Liberty State Park, not Liberty State Preserve.

The DEP’s plan does not provide for a full clean-up and has been created without input from Jersey City’s communities of color.

Watch, listen, and recognize the same institutional racism we have dealt with for more than 400 years.

Arnold Stovell
Executive Director, Liberty State Park For All Coalition

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