Christie signs bill restoring NJ beach access requirements

Gov. Chris Christie has signed a law restoring New Jersey’s public beach access rules that were struck down by a court decision last month.

The Republican presidential candidate on Tuesday signed a bill explicitly giving the state Environmental Protection Department the authority to require public access to the state’s ocean, bay and riverfront areas.

An appeals court had ruled in December that the state Legislature never gave the DEP the authority to require public beach access. The court then struck down rules issued by the DEP that ensured the public’s right to access waterfront areas, leaving no requirements in place.

The bill signed by Christie restores the status quo that had existed before the court ruling. But environmentalists and beach access advocates want the state to strengthen the access requirements.

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