NJ Sierra Club calls on DEP to move Liberty State Park clean up plan forward, fight privatization


New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel is calling on the state Department of Environmental Protection to move their current remediation plan forward, while continuing to fight privatization.

Liberty State Park. Screenshot via YouTube.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“This plan for cleaning up and restoring the center of Liberty State Park is long overdue. We have been at DEP meetings in 1998, 2004, and 2008 that have proposed many of the same things. We hope that this time the resources will be brought to bear to make it happen,” Tittel said in a statement.

“This plan will not only clean up the park for passive recreation but will restore wetlands and remove contaminated materials. This is important environmentally. Restoring wetlands in Liberty State Park will also help filter water and deal with flooding and storm surges. This is an important step forward for DEP to help get it done.”

The DEP is hosting a Zoom call on their remediation plans this evening at 6 p.m., though attendees had to reserve their place in advance.

This situation has drawn the ire of at least three Black leaders, who have urged the DEP to hold more meetings on the topic.

Nevertheless, Tittel feels that the time to begin restoring 234 acres of land at the park is now.

“DEP has never called for a full cleanup; this is the first time they are doing it. We would like to see a full cleanup at the park however it is more important now for the DEP to move forward with this plan. We have been waiting long enough,” he continued.

“Even though we don’t trust caps, we believe that people who are pushing for a full cleanup are doing so because they want to privatize the park. They will attack the clean up plan because they are more concerned about a millionaire’s golf course than the park itself. They don’t care about a full cleanup; they want to privatize it and build a golf course. We would rather see the plan go forward rather than use it for privatization.”

Liberty National Golf Course owner Paul Fireman said in July that he was halting plans to expand into the Caven Point area of LSP, though he remains linked to groups asking for a comprehensive clean up, in particular the Liberty State Park for All coalition.

“The governor not only needs to make that commitment but we need to pass legislation to permanently protect Liberty State Park from all of these different plants that want to use the park for commercial purposes,” Tittel also said.

“Restoring the interior won’t serve the public well if it ends up being part of a golf course, water park, or something else.”

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